Francois Lecasse/NHLI via Getty Images

Even without injured Carey Price, the Montreal Canadiens have been strong enough to hold off the surging Dallas Stars atop’s NHL Power Rankings.

By Allan Muir
November 10, 2015

I'll be honest: I thought long and hard about bumping the Dallas Stars into the top spot this week. It wasn’t hard to make a convincing argument, either. They’re the most exciting team in the league. They’re deep up front, on the back end and, shockingly, in goal. And after watching them finish off the Red Wings on Sunday, it’s clear that this group is just different. Last season, a lack of confidence meant a late 2–1 lead was likely to turn into a 3–2 OT loss. This time around though, the Stars potted two empty-netters to bury a team that has toyed with them for years. Most impressive.

So yeah, Dallas probably deserved that bump ... but what Montreal is doing with the 2014-15 MVP on IR is impossible to overlook. A team that keeps on finding a way continues a run atop the Power Rankings that’s now at five weeks and counting.

Biggest jump: Anaheim Ducks (30 to 16)

Biggest drop: Florida Panthers (15 to 27)

1Montreal Canadiens
last week: 1
record: 13-2-1

Guess we can stop calling the Habs Carey Price’s backup singers, eh? The Canadiens have gone 4-0-1 while their all-world goalie has been sidelined by a mysterious lower-body injury, allowing just seven regulation goals in the process. They’re getting good mileage out of their power play, too—up to third in the league (27.3%) after ranking 25th last season. Nice job, JJ Daigneault! Last week: 2-0-1

2Dallas Stars
last week: 4
record: 12-3-0

The Stars are off to the best 15-game start in franchise history, powered largely by an offense that has scored four or more goals in 10 games so far, including six of the past seven. John Klingberg (15 points, 23-plus minutes per game) has forced his way into Norris Trophy consideration after a slow start. Last week: 3-0-0

3New York Rangers
last week: 8
record: 10-2-2

Guess I need to rethink my preseason position on this team. The Rangers haven’t always dazzled, but their five straight wins (during which they’ve outscored their opposition 20-6) speak for themselves. They now boast the NHL’s stingiest defense, allowing just 1.71 goals per game. Last week: 3-0-0

4St. Louis Blues
last week: 6
record: 10-3-1

Always seemed like a matter of time before Jake Allen seized the No. 1 job in St. Louis. That time may be now. After an astonishing 45-save shutout of the Predators on Saturday, the 25-year-old is 5-1-0 in his last six starts with a 1.03 GAA and a .968 save percentage. Last week: 2-1-0

5Washington Capitals
last week: 2
record: 10-3-0

Good things happen when you shoot the puck. Alex Ovechkin landed 21 on net over the Caps’ past three contests and picked up three goals for his efforts. That guy might have a future in this game. Last week: 2-1-0

6Los Angeles Kings
last week: 3
record: 9-5-0

The Kings are basically a one-line team, but it’s a pretty good line. Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Milan Lucic have accounted for 19 of the 35 goals that Los Angeles has scored this season. If they ever get some help (looking at you, Marian Gaborik), this will be a very dangerous team. Last week: 2-1-0

7Pittsburgh Penguins
last week: 12
record: 9-5-0

There’s no getting past the fact that the Pens are banking points, winning nine of their past 11, but this still feels like a team that’s relying way too heavily on the heroics of goaltender Marc-André Fleury. When Ian Cole is getting 22 minutes a night, you know this defense needs some work. Last week: 2-1-0

8New Jersey Devils
last week: 14
record: 8-5-1

Much respect to the Devils, who are full value for the 8-2 tear they’re on right now. It’ll be tough to maintain with the Blues, Blackhawks and Penguins on this week’s schedule, but they look like a team that can give anyone a battle. They’ve won five in a row now in OT/SO—not bad for a team that lost a conference-high 32 games in extra time over the past two years. Last week: 2-1-0

9Nashville Predators
last week: 5
record: 8-3-2

Couldn’t fault their effort in their shutout loss to the Blues, but their 45-shots of futility illustrate (again) how desperately this team needs help up front. James Neal is a nice support piece—he shouldn’t be a team’s leading scorer. Last week: 1-1-0

10Minnesota Wild
last week: 7
record: 8-3-2

Losing Zach Parise to a knee injury is going to test Minnesota’s ability to light the lamp. No surprise then that the Wild struggled in their first game without him, scoring just once. They’ll really miss his presence on the power play. Last week: 1-1-0

11Chicago Blackhawks
last week: 11
record: 8-6-1

That 4–2 win over the Oilers on Sunday was just their second in regulation over their past eight starts, which sounds ugly until you realize the Hawks are exactly where they were at this point last season. In other words: relax, Chicago fans. This team knows what it’s doing. Last week: 1-1-1

12Winnipeg Jets
last week: 13
record: 8-5-2

There’s a tough stretch ahead for the Jets, with four in a row on the road against Central Division rivals and seven of their next 10 away from the friendly confines of the MTS Centre. They’ll need more from an offense that has generated just seven goals in their past four games, with four of those coming against the hapless Maple Leafs. Last week: 1-1-1

13Ottawa Senators
last week: 19
record: 7-4-3

If the Sens are going to make the cut, they’ll need the sort of goaltending they got down the stretch last season. Craig Anderson delivered last week, stopping 74 of 77 shots (a .961 save percentage) in wins over Montreal and Winnipeg. Andrew Hammond was just as sharp in a 43-save OT loss to the Canes. That’s their ticket. Last week: 2-0-1

14Boston Bruins
last week: 9
record: 7-6-1

That three-game losing streak likely would have been extended to four if not for a vintage performance from embattled netminder Tuukka Rask against the Islanders on Sunday. The B’s look out of sorts defensively, especially on the penalty kill. The unit allowed seven goals in four games last week. Last week: 1-3-0

15New York Islanders
last week: 10
record: 7-5-3

The offense has dried up for the Isles, who have dropped five of their past six and scored just nine goals in the process. Things won’t get any easier as they head to California for a three-game swing through the Golden State. Last week: 1-2-0

16Anaheim Ducks
last week: 30
record: 5-7-3

Outside of that galling OT loss to Arizona on Sunday, the Ducks finally look like the Ducks. Anaheim is now 4-0-1 after a 1-7-2 start. The Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry unit is going at last; now Ryan Kesler is off the schneid as well, scoring his first goal in 17 games. Don’t sleep on this team. Last week: 3-0-1

17Detroit Red Wings
last week: 17
record: 7-6-1

The Wings have drifted uncomfortably into that zone of mediocrity where a win feels more like a pleasant surprise than something that’s to be expected. Fortunately, help is on the way: Pavel Datsyuk could make his season debut on Friday. Last week: 2-1-0

18Vancouver Canucks
last week: 20
record: 6-4-5

The Canucks dropped the first two dates on their seven-game road trip, which is bad. They also lost another game at three-on-three, leaving them at 0-5 on the season in the extra frame. Those are the points that will come back to haunt them in April. Last week: 0-2-1

19Buffalo Sabres
last week: 21
record: 6-8-0

His stats aren’t eye-popping—just 3-2 with a 2.56 GAA and .918 save percentage—but where would the Sabres be without Linus Ullmark? The rookie ’tender has been a poised presence between the pipes, a sign that he might be capable of carrying the mail the rest of the way. Last week: 1-1-0

20Tampa Bay Lightning
last week: 16
record: 7-7-2

The defending Eastern Conference champs are in a deep funk, having dropped six of their past eight. They’ve been shut out three times over that stretch and held to a single goal in three more losses. Losing Triplet Ondrej Palat for 3-to-5 weeks (ankle) is one more problem for their struggling offense to overcome. Last week: 1-2-0

21San Jose Sharks
last week: 18
record: 7-7-0

The Sharks are in a deep slump, with seven losses in 10 games after a 4-0-0 start, and that’s got the rumor mill humming. Could Patrick Marleau be on his way out of town? The six-game road trip that kicks off Friday in Detroit could force the issue. Last week: 1-2-0

arizona Coyotes
last week: 23
record: 7-6-1

Max Domi had another big night on Monday, scoring twice to lead the 'Yotes to a 4–3 OT win over the Ducks. That gives him seven goals on the season, tops among rookies, and 13 points, second behind Artemi Panarin. With Connor McDavid out, Domi looks like a Calder Trophy favorite. Last week: 2-1-0

23Carolina Hurricanes
last week: 22
record: 6-8-0

It might benefit Carolina’s 27th ranked power play if, you know, maybe someone other than Justin Faulk could score with the extra man. The Canes have lit the lamp six times with the man advantage this season and Faulk has accounted for five of those goals, including one in Saturday’s 3–2 OT win over the Sens. Last week: 1-1-0

24Philadelphia Flyers
last week: 25
record: 5-6-3

A win over the Jets on Saturday put an end to their six-game losing skid. It also saw both of their special teams show signs of life—two power play goals to end an 0-for-16 skid, and a 5-for-5 performance on the penalty kill. Nice string of play from Michal Neuvirth, too. He now leads all goaltenders with three shutouts. Last week: 1-1-1

25Calgary Flames
last week: 28
record: 5-9-1

The Flames won two in a row for the first time this season, but the bigger news might be that they held Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to two goals or fewer. For a team that’s allowed 43 goals against at five-on-five, a league-high, that’s a huge step in the right direction. Last week: 2-1-0

26Columbus Blue Jackets
last week: 29
record: 4-11-0

The Jackets managed to take two-of-three on the road in SoCal, a testament to their slowly improving game. If they ever get Ryan Johansen or Nick Foligno on track (a combined two goals on 69 shots this season), they might start living up to their preseason hype. Last week: 2-1-0

27Florida Panthers
last week: 15
record: 5-6-3

With a dismal California trip behind them, the Panthers have to make the most of a stretch that sees them playing seven of eight at the BB&T Center. The pressure is on their offense to produce after being held to two goals or fewer in eight of their past 10 games. Jonathan Huberdeau is still looking for his first goal of the season. Last week: 0-0-3

28Edmonton Oilers
last week: 24
record: 5-10-0

It’s not just the number of goals the Oilers have allowed this season—47, third-most in the league—it’s when they give them up. Edmonton has coughed up 17 in the first period, more than any other team, and the early holes they’re digging are killing them. Last week: 1-2-0

29Colorado Avalanche
last week: 27
record: 4-9-1

They haven’t done much winning at home—just two victories in eight games at the Pepsi Center—so let’s see what they can do on the road. The Avs packed their bags for a seven-game barnstorming tour of the East that kicks off Tuesday in Philly. Safe to say it could seal their fate for this season. Last week: 1-2-0

30Toronto Maple Leafs
last week: 26
record: 2-8-4

The Leafs may have dropped all three games last week, but at least in two of those losses they put two goals on the board. For a team that’s been held to one or fewer in seven of its 13 games, that’s worth noting. Toronto remains 28th in total offense, averaging just 2.07 goals per game. Last week: 0-1-2

You May Like