NHL Power Rankings: Hamburglar leads surging Senators into the top 10 and playoff position.
Welcome to the newest installment of our 2014–15 NHL Power Rankings. While the Rangers continue to roost comfortably at No. 1 with goalie Henrik Lundqvist on the verge of returning from his vascular injury, the sensational Hamburglar and the red hot Senators have stolen into the Top 10 for the first time this season. Ottawa’s success is making life tough for the Bruins, who fell from No. 12 to No. 19 this week and will have to claw their way back into the East’s last wild-card playoff spot.
A word or three about these rankings: Our sage scribes—Allan Muir, Sarah Kwak and Sam Page—submitted their detailed choices for the top 10 and dutifully ranked all 30 teams. The final results were hand crafted using only the finest barley, selected hops and Artesian water filtered through the prism of on-ice performance, strength of schedule, dents and dings, general outlook and how high each club came in on our writers’ ballots. In some cases another purely capricious and utterly loathsome method was used to break ties, rank teams that were chosen by only one or two writers and inspire you, gentle reader, to sue for emotional distress.
We’ve presented the 30 teams in groups, with the top 10 receiving the most trenchant commentary. Overview paragraphs precede both the middle 10 and bottom 10. Weekly movement up or down has been duly noted by colorful little arrows. So without further ado, commence to boo!
Back-to-Back road wins over the Kings and Arizona were important not only because they solidified Vancouver’s playoff standing, but it also kept potentially dangerous L.A. out of their first-round picture.
What’s not to love about the Jets? While other clubs are folding under pressure, Winnipeg has won five straight to tighten its grip on a postseason berth. And how about Ondrej Pavelec? He’s rebounded brilliantly from the heartbreaking center-ice floater that cost the Jets a point in St. Louis, allowing just five goals in his last five appearances.
You had to hate that the Flames gave away a crucial OT point at home to the Blue Jackets, but this ragged band of upstarts is still 7-2-2 in March and staying in the hunt despite the loss of captain Mark Giordano. Now if only Calgary could squeeze some offense from someone other than Sean Monahan, Jiri Hudler or Johnny Gaudreau it would really be cooking with gas.
Without a regulation win since February 2, the Coyotes are in it to lose it. Could they challenge the Sabres’ grasp on the NHL’s basement? Well, the two face each other twice this week, which will play out like the anti-Stanley Cup finals. Maybe call it the McDavid-Eichel Cup.