We’re almost at a very important point in the NHL calendar: American/real Thanksgiving. It’s the time of year when teams usually hit the 20-game mark and the “it’s still early” excuse stops mattering so much. There’s still time, but at that point, we have a much clearer picture of the landscape.
We’re not quite there yet, and there are still a lot of records to be skeptical about, but we’re close to seeing what these teams are really made of.
This week, there’s a new team at the top of the Power Rankings, and it’s time to start considering them to be the real deal. An 11-win streak is huge, no matter when it happens.
Last Week: 4
Dom rank: 1
Sean rank: 1
Before the season I threw out some personal picks for the year that were based purely off vibes. Please ignore the vibes for the 31 other teams and bask in the glory of suggesting the Devils would somehow hit 103 points. I got yelled at a lot that day, but apparently that call wasn’t optimistic enough. This team is the real deal. They are fast, relentless on pucks, and don’t back down with a lead. They’re fun as hell and there’s still plenty of room on the wagon as they likely march toward the playoffs. They were at 97 percent before Thursday night’s win.
Sean: The wild thing here is that we’re looking at a legitimately good defensive team, process through results. Heading into Thursday night, they were 32nd in expected goals against/60 and 30th in actual goals against. That’s important for a few reasons; it’s a change from last season when a revolving door of hot-mess goaltenders ruined things for everyone; it’s a positive sign for Vitek Vanecek, who’s been better than average; and it shows that Lindy Ruff has the guys necessary to make his risk-tolerant, run-and-gun style actually, y’know, work. Look out.
Dom: Also: #JBITBPITNHL
Last Week: 1
Dom rank: 2
Sean rank: 2
Sean: Tough break for the Bruins, huh? They went out, had themselves a 3-for-3 week and got themselves a (unanimous) boot out of the top spot. Gotta beat some good teams, I suppose. Something to watch: David Krejci had a two-goal night against the Flyers on Thursday, but before that, he’d had an expected goals percentage above 50 in one of his last eight games. It’s nothing to be overly concerned about — Krejci’s point production has been fine, and Boston is lucky to have him around — but they also need him to be better than what we’ve seen.
Dom: Boston might be the actual best team in the NHL, but the Power Rankings aren’t always about that. The Devils’ vibes are reaching peak levels right now, enough to slightly nudge Boston down for the time being. It’s nothing personal.
Last Week: 2
Dom rank: 3
Sean rank: 3
Dom: Nice guy. Tries hard. Loves the game so much he played 1,000 straight games. What an incredible accomplishment for Power Rankings HQ favorite Phil Kessel. Now please, get us a photo of Phil…
Read More: NHL Power Rankings: We have a new No. 1 and a surprise top-10 entry 2022-11-18 15:14:25