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NHL Power Rankings: Each Team’s NFL Doppelgänger

The Lightning as the Patriots? The Sabres as the Jets? In honor of an all-time great NFL playoff weekend, finding each NHL team’s football persona.

An all-time great NFL playoff weekend pulled our collective attention from the NHL. Four walk-off wins in four divisional round games were almost as heart-pounding as a sudden-death overtime finish in the Stanley Cup playoffs (though I’ll take the NHL’s overtime rules, regular season or postseason, over the NFL’s rules any day).

Naturally, two full days of NFL viewership led my mind straight back to hockey. Find out each team’s NFL doppelgänger in this week’s power rankings.

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32. Montreal Canadiens

Last week: 32Record: 8-26-7

Atlanta Falcons. The Canadiens and the Falcons gave their fan bases tantalizing tastes of success, the former with a trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 2021, the latter with an ignominious trip to the Super Bowl in '17. Since then, they have fallen from those heights, the Canadiens much more precipitously.

31. Arizona Coyotes

Last Week: 31
Record: 10-27-4

Jacksonville Jaguars. Wasted draft picks, failures in free agency and threats of relocation have dogged these teams for years.

30. Philadelphia Flyers

Last week: 27
Record: 13-22-8

Chicago Bears. Lengthy losing streaks—five games for the Bears, 12 and counting for the Flyers—derailed their seasons.

29. Buffalo Sabres

Last week: 30
Record: 13-22-7

New York Jets. A team from the Empire State traded away its potential franchise player (insert Jack Eichel or Sam Darnold, as appropriate) for yet another reset.

28. Seattle Kraken

Last week: 29
Record: 13-25-4

Detroit Lions. Don’t let their records fool you—the Lions and the Kraken will enter their upcoming season with plenty of positives to build upon.

27. Columbus Blue Jackets

Last week: 26
Record: 18-20-1

Houston Texans. It might not be fun, but both franchises should lean into their rebuilds.

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26. Ottawa Senators

Last week: 28
Record: 13-20-3

Washington Football Team. These teams compete in the shadow of their nations’ respective capitals, but ownership has soured their relationships with their local fans.

25. Detroit Red Wings

Last week: 24
Record: 18-18-6

Miami Dolphins. With Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond and Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, these young teams are full of promise. They also are much better on their home turf: Miami went 6–3 at home and 3–5 on the road in 2021, and Detroit is 13-6-3 at home and just 5-12-31 on the road so far this season.

24. New Jersey Devils

Last week: 25
Record: 15-21-5

Cleveland Browns. A season that was supposed to represent a step forward for the Browns was derailed by injuries, and the same is holding true for the Devils.

23. Chicago Blackhawks

Last week: 23
Record: 15-20-7

New York Giants. Both franchises seem far removed from the successes they have had in the last decade.

22. Vancouver Canucks

Last week: 22
Record: 18-19-5

Indianapolis Colts. While the Canucks and the Colts have rising stars on their rosters, they need more depth to compete with the best in their leagues.

21. San Jose Sharks

Last week: 18
Record: 21-19-2

New Orleans Saints. The Sharks and the Saints are opting to retool rather than rebuild as they attempt to capitalize on their existing talent (see: San Jose winger Timo Meier and New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara).

20. New York Islanders

Last week: 21
Record: 15-14-6

Seattle Seahawks. Like the Seahawks, the Islanders are having a surprisingly down season. But unlike the Seahawks, they could turn their fortunes around—and indeed seem to be doing just that, with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games.

19. Edmonton Oilers

Last week: 20
Record: 20-16-2

Baltimore Ravens. The Oilers have Connor McDavid. The Ravens have Lamar Jackson. Neither team can afford to waste these generational talents.

18. Winnipeg Jets

Last week: 16
Record: 17-15-7

Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders and the Jets had to deal with midseason coaching changes (albeit for different reasons). Oakland stumbled at first after Jon Gruden’s resignation but rebounded to make the playoffs; Winnipeg will look to follow the Raiders’ lead.

17. Los Angeles Kings

Last week: 15
Record: 21-16-6

Minnesota Vikings. The Kings, like the Vikings, compete in arguably the weakest division in the league, and they have the talent to make the playoffs. But both teams need more than just gaudy stats from the likes of quarterback Kirk Cousins or forward Anze Kopitar.

16. Dallas Stars

Last week: 19
Record: 22-16-2

Carolina Panthers. Stars forward Tyler Seguin started this season looking to recapture his old magic after a lengthy injury, while former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton returned to Carolina searching for a bit of his own former glory. Newton and the Panthers never quite managed, but after a slow start, Seguin is heating up for the Stars.

15. Anaheim Ducks

Last week: 17
Record: 21-16-7

Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals won seven games in a row to start the NFL season, and the Ducks put together an eight-game winning streak in November, but both teams returned to earth.

14. Calgary Flames

Last week: 14
Record: 19-12-6

Los Angeles Chargers. The Flames, like the Chargers, got off to a strong start in 2021, but also like the Chargers, they have faltered since then. Calgary, though, has half of the season still ahead to recover.

13. Washington Capitals

Last week: 11
Record: 23-11-9

Green Bay Packers. An elite player repeatedly leads his team to regular-season success but has just one championship to show for his efforts. Are we talking about Alex Ovechkin or Aaron Rodgers? Yes.

12. Nashville Predators

Last week: 13
Record: 27-14-3

Denver Broncos. The Predators, like the Broncos, have a bend-don’t-break model on defense this season. The Broncos’ red zone defense, which ranked third-best in the NFL, kept opponents off the board. For the Predators, it’s Juuse Saros’s goaltending that lifts the team.

11. St. Louis Blues

Last week: 9
Record: 25-12-5

Philadelphia Eagles. St. Louis and Philadelphia won recent championships but are now missing key pieces from those teams. Former Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo has looked better with the Golden Knights than former Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has looked with the Colts, and the Blues have looked better than the Eagles without their former leader.

10. Vegas Golden Knights

Last week: 7
Record: 25-15-3

Los Angeles Rams. In 2018, the Rams made the Super Bowl and the Golden Knights made the Stanley Cup finals, but both teams fell short. Is this the year they make it back—and secure their prizes?

9. Minnesota Wild

Last week: 12
Record: 25-10-3

Tennessee Titans. The Titans and the Wild have been in their respective homes for just over two decades without a Lombardi Trophy or a Stanley Cup to show. Minnesota, like Tennessee, looks strong this season; however, after watching the Titans drop their opening playoff game last Saturday, the Wild will aim to avoid the same fate.

8. Boston Bruins

Last week: 8
Record: 24-13-2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Taylor Hall is no Tom Brady, but last season the former MVP joined a team with an impressive veteran presence, sky-high aspirations and a coach named Bruce.

7. New York Rangers

Last week: 10
Record: 28-11-4

Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals and the Rangers were regular playoff contenders in the early 2010s but entered rebuild mode by the end of the decade. However, behind quarterback Joe Burrow and defenseman Adam Fox, respectively, the teams are back in the championship mix.

6. Toronto Maple Leafs

Last week: 5
Record: 25-10-3

Buffalo Bills. Two California-born superstars in Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Leafs center Auston Matthews are looking to lead their teams to their first titles since the 1960s, but both of their latest playoff appearances ended in heartbreak.

5. Pittsburgh Penguins

Last week: 6
Record: 27-10-5

Pittsburgh Steelers. The two franchises share a city and a history of championships, and both seem to find their way into the postseason almost every year—the Penguins have missed one postseason since 2006.

4. Carolina Hurricanes

Last week: 2
Record: 28-9-2

Kansas City Chiefs. While the Hurricanes do not have a one-to-one comp for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the trio of Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen combine to make magic for the Hurricanes.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning

Last week: 4
Record: 28-10-5

New England Patriots. Aren’t we all sick of these guys?

2. Florida Panthers

Last week: 3
Record: 29-9-5

San Francisco 49ers. While Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau and 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are far from the biggest names in their sports, they put their teams in a position to win. Huberdeau ranks second in the NHL in points, while Garoppolo ranked first in the NFL in yards per catch and second only to Joe Burrow in yards per attempt.

1. Colorado Avalanche

Last week: 1
Record: 29-8-3

Dallas Cowboys. The Avalanche may not carry the cachet of America’s Team (and indeed only came to the U.S. from Quebec around the same time the Cowboys won their last Super Bowl), but both teams have failed to translate strong regular seasons into playoff success.

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