Surging Montreal Canadiens knock Chicago Blackhawks off top spot in SI.com's NHL Power Rankings.
Welcome to the latest installment of our 2014–15 NHL Power Rankings. After four weeks at the top, the Blackhawks have been nudged off their perch by the red hot Le Club de hockey Canadien, which is now number one by a mere whisker. Our three scribes—Allan Muir, Brian Cazeneuve and Sarah Kwak—submitted their choices for the league's Top 10. The rankings for the all 30 teams have been weighted according to ancient Babylonian accounting principles, Vedic astrology, and how high each club came in on our writers' ballots. In some cases a purely intuitive, wholly unscientific and no doubt deplorable method was used to break ties, rank teams that were chosen by only one or two writers, and antagonize the general public.
We've presented the 30 teams in groups, with the Top 10 receiving the most trenchant commentary. Overview paragraphs precede the Middle 10 and Bottom 10. Weekly movement up or down has been noted. So without further ado, commence to stew!
Now that Randy Carlyle's been sent packing, the next coach to go could be Minnesota's Mike Yeo. The Wild's struggles aren't all on him—there's nothing he can do about inconsistent goaltending and a down year for Ryan Suter) but after the Wild no-showed in a 7-1 loss in Dallas last week, they need to prove that they're willing to compete for him.
The Canucks gave up a two-goal lead to Los Angeles, their only regulation loss when leading after two periods, on New Years Day, but they seem to have awakened from their December doldrums. And so has goalie Ryan Miller. Since Dec. 20, he has a .950 save percentage and 1.66 GAA, second only to Montreal’s Carey Price.
Now these are the Stars we all expected to see from the beginning of the season! With an 8-1-1 mark in their past 10, Dallas has worked its way back into the Western Conference playoff mix. The hole the Stars dug for themselves looks deep, but if they can cash in on their games in hand, they're right back in it. Kari Lehtonen's been great over this stretch, but Lindy Ruff has to carefully monitor his use. An exhausted keeper won't be any good to them down the stretch.
Could the Bruins really miss out on the playoffs? Are the Flames in or out? C’mon, Calgary, decide!
In the middle of last month, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett made a deft move, putting 5’-11” Sam Gagner, a natural center, on the wing of 6’-6” center Martin Hanzal. With Hanzal better equipped to handle the physical rigors of playing center under Tippett’s grind-it-out system, it’s been a boon to all parties involved, most notably Gagner. Since the move, the former sixth overall pick has four goals and 10 points in eight games, including a four-point performance in a 5-1 win over Edmonton, the team that traded him in June.
Question to ponder: What will the next few months be like for the Devils, whose every hiccup is likely to be scripted ... by, you know, the team’s specialist in charge of hiccups?