With two months practically in the books the NHL season is beginning to take shape. While some of the preseason favorites, like Washington, are stumbling other early surprises, like Minnesota, are sticking around. Here are this week's SB Nation New York NHL Power Rankings.
- Boston Bruins- The 2010-2011 Stanley Cup winners have completely shaken off the championship hangover. The Bruins are 9-0-1 in their last 10 and lead the NHL in goal differential (+28).
- Pittsburgh Penguins- The Penguins have been playing well for a good portion of the season and having Crosby back will only add to the danger the Penguins bring. Crosby has shined since his return and already has people talking whether or not he can climb his way into the NHL points race.
- Detroit Red Wings- After a short hiccup the Red Wings are back to their winning ways. Eight wins in their last 10 have them atop the Western conference in points per game.
- New York Rangers- The Rangers have four games in hand over the Penguins. Winning three of those games puts them ahead of the Pens in the standings and that is nothing short of very possible. The Rangers are allowing the fewest goals per game without Marc Staal and there are no signs that will change.
- Chicago Blackhawks- The Hawks may not be winning their games in decisive fashion, but that is often what makes a great team. Their goaltending has lacked but they have 16 of a possible 20 points at home. They know how to win and have the talent to keep it going.
- San Jose Sharks- To me San Jose is the Rangers of the West. Playing great defense and the Sharks have games in hand on a bunch of teams.
- Minnesota Wild- Believe in Minnesota or not they are continuing to play well and still lead the Canucks in a competitive NW division.
- Philadelphia Flyers- With the Flyers injuries piling up this may be the last time we see the Flyers this high in the rankings for a few weeks.
- Vancouver Canucks- Cory Schneider has the Canucks on a roll, and no one wants to play a Canucks team on a roll. If the Canucks can keep it clicking they have the ability to put together multiple strings of eight wins our of ten games.
- St. Louis Blues- I don't know how he does it but Ken Hitchcock just knows how to win. The Blues are 7-1-2 since Hitch has taken over, and as long as they can get their guys healthy they may be able to turn themselves into a true force in the West.
- Florida Panthers- Florida continues to be fun to watch and they are more than just competitive. After 23 games the Panthers find themselves atop the South East division. With Washington's inconsistencies the Panthers will be looking to gain ground.
- Phoenix Coyotes- The Yotes have had an impressive run over their last 14 games and are 6-4-2 at home this season despite having their home games attended by crowds smaller than the Kim Kardashian wedding crowd.
- Toronto Maple Leafs- Maybe I'm being hypocritical since I put the Minnesota Wild considerably higherbut watching the Maple Leafs more flaws can be seen. Yet they have won four of their last five and are keeping themselves in discussions.
- Buffalo Sabres- Buffalo has been sliding of late but their talent has me believing they will pick it up and go on a stretch that puts them right near the top.
- New Jersey Devils- The Devils have been doing things right and have looked considerably better, but when your top two players are playing well under their norm you cannot go far.
- Washington Capitals- The Capitals have the best player in hockey not named Sidney Crosby, there is no excuse for their current play. Let's see what happens with Dale Hunter behind the bench. Will he be the lightning in a bottle the Capitals need?
- Dallas Stars- The Stars have lost the spark that had them start the season as one of the top teams in the league but do not give up on them yet. A revenge performance against the Avalanche, who had shut them out the previous matchup, may fire this team up.
- Edmonton Oilers- The young Oilers are sticking around and with a 6 game home stand on tap the Oilers look to get themselves back into the spotlight.
- Los Angeles Kings- An interesting case as the King just cant seem to put together a long consistent stretch. Still expect them to be in the playoff picture the entire season.
- Tampa Bay Lightning- The Lightning defeated the Panthers in two straight but inconsistent goal keeping is preventing them from being a threat.
- Montreal Canadiens- The worst team with a positive goal differential, which is quite possibly the only reason I have them this high. A change needs to be made somewhere or this team will sink quickly.
- Nashville Predators- If the Predators had gone 2-2 instead of 0-3-1 over their last 4 I'd probably have them right around the top 10 but that was not the case and here they site in the bottom half of the rankings.
- Ottawa Senators- The Sens have looked better of late but with goaltending as bad as theirs and a -10 goal differential you are not going to get much love.
- Winnipeg Jets- The Jets have been playing some decent hockey of late and only find themselves three points out of the last East playoff spot. If they can play a bit better hockey on the road they may be able to steal a playoff spot.
- Colorado Avalanche- Just as the Jets need to start winning games on the road the Avalanche need to start winning games at home. An impressive victory over Edmonton was wiped out by a bad loss against Dallas. The Avalanche have 3 games remaining on their eight game home stand, which may wind up being Joe Sacco's last games as coach.
- Calgary Flames- The Flames have not looked good on a consistent basis at home or on the road. They much like Colorado may be nearing a coaching change.
- Carolina Hurricanes- Carolina has allowed the most goals in the NHL this season but have made a very promising coaching change. Although they are no threat this season next may bring a different Canes team.
- New York Islanders- When the Islanders lose they lose ugly. The worst goal differential in hockey has the Islanders at 28th in the NHL.
- Columbus Blue Jackets- At one point we thought the Blue Jackets may not win 10 games all year, and now they have actually strung together a couple of victories. This does not change the fact the Blue Jackets are a bad team and Rick Nash must cry himself to sleep every night.
- Anaheim Ducks- One victory in their past fourteen tilts have the Ducks' fans asking a lot of questions. Where are they to go from here? Look for the Ducks to deal Bobby Ryan maybe sooner than later.