Another week in the NHL brought some exciting wins, and surprising losses.
Which teams are for real? Which ones are overrated? We attempt to answer those questions as we break down each of our top 10 picks in this week’s NHL power rankings.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, who have won four out of their first five and are currently the highest scoring team jumped ahead to our number one spot. Another notable move is the rise of the Ottawa Senators who have started the season with eight out of a possible 10 points. Oh, and that’s without Erik Karlsson.
Here are the teams worth keeping an eye on:
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto’s offense is prolific.
Auston Matthews continues to show his worth and is a big reason why this Maple Leafs offense is dominant. Matthews has notched five goals and eight points in his first five games to start the season and a 58.6 percent Corsi mark. The 20-year-old has demonstrated clutch scoring with two overtime goals. No sophomore slump there.
The Maple Leafs have assembled an impressive roster that has depth. 13 players have scored at least one goal and 19 players have at least one point. They’re scoring better than five goals per game, and leading the NHL in faceoff percentage.
2. Chicago Blackhawks
Just when many thought the Blackhawks would take a step back, instead the Blackhawks are outscoring the league. They’re fourth in goals per game and third in goals against.
Corey Crawford is off to a hot start. He allowed a single goal on 38 shots in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Predators on Saturday. Crawford is now 4-1 with a .960 save percentage and 1.39 GAA through this first five starts this season.
3. Ottawa Senators
If you haven’t been paying much attention to the Senators, now may be a good time.
For the first time in franchise history, Ottawa completed the challenging Western Canadian road swing with a sweep after thrashing the Edmonton Oilers in a 6-1 victory.
The Senators are off to a strong start, even without two-time Norris winner Erik Karlsson who is set to return on Tuesday. With a 3-0-1 record, they’re one of only two teams not to lose a game in regulation through the first two weeks of the season.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning are back to full-health this season and showing that they’re still a Stanley Cup contender.
Tampa Bay won all three games in its most recent home stand following a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. This past week we also saw the Bolts defeat two-time defending Stanley Cup champs the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
The Lightning have been efficient on the power play– netting at least one power-play goal in all five games so far this season with six total.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has been solid in net. Entering Monday night, he’s 4-1-0 with a 3.20 GAA and .911 save percentage while facing 35.8 shots per game— the second-highest mark in the league. The 23-year-old goalie has an impressive showing on Saturday night, stopping 28-of-29 shots.
5. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets are riding a three-game winning streak. They have one loss to a strong Blackhawks team and four wins, including three in the Metropolitan Division.
Artemi Panarin has been a key player for Columbus. After winning his second Vezina Trophy last season, Sergei Bobrovsky picked up where he left off. In his four starts, he has a 1.48 GAA and .953 save percentage.
6. Los Angeles Kings
Under new coach John Stevens, the L.A. Kings are getting back into championship form, who improved to 4-0-1 on Sunday. The have earned at least one point in each of their first four games for the first time since the 1995-96 season.
Dustin Brown is on fire— notching four goals in the first four games. Jonathan Quick has returned after an injury-riddled 2016-17 season and has been consistent in net. He hasn’t lost in regulation yet, posting a .943 save percentage in four starts.
7. St. Louis Blues
The Blues have had an impressive start, especially given the injuries this team has faced.
Vladimir Tarasenko continues to be a bright spot. He scored his fourth goal of the season in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Lightning.
Tarasenko has six points in six games, and is looking to be on pace for another 75-point season. He has averaged more than 38 goals in each of his last three seasons.
8. New Jersey Devils
The Devils are 4-1 coming off a victory against the New York Rangers. Their plus-10 goal differential is the third best in the league.
Their team is well-balanced and shows promise for the future. No. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier is finding his way in the NHL and creating scoring scoring chances for the Devils.
Will Butcher became the first rookie defenseman in NHL history to record at least eight assists in his first five career games.
9. Detroit Red Wings
Detroit is off to a much better start than expected. The Red Wings were picked to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, so a 4-1-0 record entering Monday night has been a surprise to many.
They face a tough test this week with Tampa Bay, Toronto and Washington as their next opponents.
10. Pittsburgh Penguins
After dropping their first two games, the Penguins seem to have rebounded a bit— winning three out of their next four.
Sidney Crosby is finding his rhythm, and scored twice in the third period on Saturday to lift Pittsburgh to a 4-3 win against the Panthers.
They have a high 4.17 goals-against average, which will certainly need to improve down the stretch.