TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings
Updated: Sunday, April 28, 2013 11:38 PM
The Rangers and Red Wings rise while the Stars slide in this season's final edition of the NHL Power Rankings.
Follow Scott Cullen on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen and e-mail him at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca.
Scott Cullen's Power Ranking Methodology is explained here. (Note: While all injuries are accounted for, those listed as Key Injuries for each team consist of top six forwards, top four defencemen and starting goaltenders.)
This Week1Last Week1Chicago Blackhawks36-7-5
The league's best goal differential (+53) and just seven regulation losses in 48 games. A remarkable season that leaves the Blackhawks as the team to beat in the Western Conference for sure.
Key Injuries: C David Bolland (groin).
This Week2Last Week3Pittsburgh Penguins36-12-0
As the Penguins get healthier and keep winning, going 23-4 in the last 27 games, they are the class of the Eastern Conference. Adding Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla didn't hurt either and their second-place ranking is predicated on the uncertainty of Sidney Crosby's status. If Crosby's healthy, the Penguins are the top-ranked team.
Key Injuries: C Sidney Crosby (jaw), D Brooks Orpik (lower body).
This Week3Last Week2Boston Bruins28-14-6
Since a blistering 19-4-3 start, the Bruins have stumbled to the finish line, but that doesn't necessarily preclude a playoff run. L.A. won 15 of their last 31 games last season, Boston won eight of their last 18 in 2011 and Chicago won nine of their last 18 in 2010, so the last three Cup winners haven't been dominant late in the regular season.
Key Injuries: RW Nathan Horton (upper body).
This Week4Last Week5Ottawa Senators25-17-6
Major offensive concerns, as no Senator had more than Kyle Turris' 12 goals and 29 points, but Erik Karlsson's return does give the Sens their most dangerous offensive player and they still have a goaltending duo that has stopped 93.9% of the shots they've faced this season.
Key Injuries: C Jason Spezza (back).
This Week5Last Week9New York Rangers26-18-4
Won five of their last six (with the loss an inexplicable 3-2 defeat in Florida while outshooting the Panthers 38-16) to secure their berth in the postseason, but the Rangers are better than their record indicates. Strong possession numbers combined with an elite goaltender gives them a chance to redeem what was a mostly disappointing regular season.
Key Injuries: D Marc Staal (eye), LW Ryane Clower (leg).
This Week6Last Week7Anaheim Ducks30-12-6
8-9-2 in their last 19 games, the Ducks were winning big on the percentages early in the season, but it's not as easy to keep relying on above average goaltending and finishing while getting outshot. The Ducks aren't the only team doing it, but it's a situation that bears watching.
Key Injuries: D Luca Sbisa (lower body).
This Week7Last Week4Toronto Maple Leafs26-17-5
Hey, here's another team that gets outshot, but relies on winning the percentages. James Reimer established that he's a bona fide number one goaltender, stopping 92.6% of the shots he faced and the Leafs lead the league with an 11.5% shooting percentage, with Joffrey Lupul (26.2%), Tyler Bozak (19.7%) and Nazem Kadri (16.8) among those carrying lofty marks.
Key Injuries: C Tyler Bozak (upper body).
This Week8Last Week11Washington Capitals27-18-3
They may not be all the way back to the high-flying Capitals, but they're not far off now that RW Alex Ovechkin is the league's top goal-scorer and D Mike Green leads all blueliners in goals. What could make the difference, however, is G Braden Holtby, who finished with a .920 save percentage after posting a .931 save percentage in 23 games in March and April.
Key Injuries: LW Brooks Laich (lower body).
This Week9Last Week6Los Angeles Kings27-16-5
Lots to like about the defending champs, from great possession numbers to their roster continuity in a short season, but the biggest question remains G Jonathan Quick, who was better in his 10 April starts (.917 SV%), but needed that to finish the year with a .902 save percentage, which ranked 23rd out of 25 goalies with at least 25 appearances this season.
Key Injuries: D Willie Mitchell (knee).
This Week10Last Week8Montreal Canadiens29-14-5
Won their last two games, on the road, to take the Northeast Division title, even though G Carey Price finished the year with a career-worst .905 save percentage. The emergence of young players -- D P.K. Subban, C Lars Eller, C/LW Alex Galchenyuk and RW Brendan Gallagher -- played a big part in the Habs' bounceback season and now they might need to lean on 6-foot-6 21-year-old D Jarred Tinordi to fill the void created by Alexei Emelin's season-ending injury.
Key Injuries: D Alexei Emelin (knee).
This Week11Last Week16Detroit Red Wings24-16-8
Facing the possibility of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1990, the Wings won their last four games, by a margin of 15-3, to make the postseason, earning the seventh seed in the West. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg remain great, but need more from the supporting cast if the Wings are going to make noise in the playoffs.
Key Injuries: RW Todd Bertuzzi (back), RW Mikael Samuelsson (pectoral).
This Week12Last Week10San Jose Sharks25-16-7
The Sharks have run hot and cold at various times throughout the season and the overall result has been decidedly less than powerful, but they do have some factors working in their favour: G Antti Niemi was superb, stopping 92.4% of shots faced, Brent Burns turned into an interesting power forward (scoring 19 points in the last 24 games) and just enough depth to be dangerous.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week13Last Week14St. Louis Blues29-17-2
The Blues finished strong, 12-3 in April, thanks in part to G Brian Elliott posting a 1.28 goals against average and .948 save percentage in the final month of the season. If Elliott is capable of playing at a high level, as he did last season and in the last month, then the Blues will be very tough. If he plays like he did prior to April this season, Jaroslav Halak will have to be ready.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week14Last Week12Vancouver Canucks26-15-7
If G Cory Schneider isn't ready for Game One, then the Canucks would definitely have a key injury, but he's currently listed as probable, so the Canucks get the benefit of the doubt, but they didn't finish on a high, registering one regulation win in the last six. If they're going to make a run in the postseason, Ryan Kesler and Derek Roy will have to play huge supporting roles to the Sedins.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week15Last Week13New York Islanders24-17-7
Two regulation losses in the last 17 games landed the Islanders in the playoffs for the first time since 2007. It should be valuable experience for a young team, but if the Isles are going to do more than gain experience in a handful of first-round games, they'll have to find a way to slow down the Penguins.
Key Injuries: None.
This Week16Last Week15Columbus Blue Jackets24-17-7
Made a spirited late run at a playoff spot, losing out on a tiebreaker to Minnesota, and while it's no guarantee of future success, the Blue Jackets ought to be encouraged. They appear to have found an answer in goal, have a number of good young players and own three first-round picks in this summer's draft, so the Jackets are in position to build on this season.
This Week17Last Week17Minnesota Wild26-19-3
Did enough to get into the playoffs, landing them a matchup against Chicago, which isn't ideal for any team, let alone a Wild bunch that had the worst goal differential (-5) of any playoff team.
Key Injuries: RW Dany Heatley (shoulder), RW Jason Pominville (concussion).
This Week18Last Week22Philadelphia Flyers23-22-3
Won five of six to finish the season, due in part to the play of G Steve Mason, who posted a 1.90 goals against average and .944 save percentage in seven games after arriving from Columbus. The positive to take out of this disappointing season is another ex-Blue Jacket, as RW Jakub Voracek put up 22 goals and 46 points in 48 games.
This Week19Last Week21Tampa Bay Lightning18-26-4
37-year-old Martin St. Louis becomes the oldest Art Ross Trophy winner, scoring 60 points in 48 games (102.5-point pace in 82-game season) to edge linemate Steven Stamkos (57), Alex Ovechkin (56) and an injured Sidney Crosby (56).
This Week20Last Week23Edmonton Oilers19-22-7
Beat Vancouver and Minnesota by a combined 13-3 in the last two games of the season, reducing the stink created when they lost nine of 10 to ensure that they would be out of the playoff picture once again.
This Week21Last Week19Phoenix Coyotes21-18-9
Boston native Keith Yandle tallied six points in the last three games of the season, giving him the Coyotes scoring title with 30 points in 48 games. He also honoured eight-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing.
This Week22Last Week20Winnipeg Jets24-21-3
The Jets made a valiant push for the playoffs, but came up just short. Considering their injuries on defence, the play of Ondrej Pavelec (.905 SV%) in goal and the fact that Olli Jokinen (14 points, minus-19 in 45 games) was their second line centre, it was quite an accomplishment to stay as close as they did.
This Week23Last Week18Dallas Stars22-22-4
The Stars have already fired GM Joe Nieuwendyk, reportedly replacing him with Jim Nill, even though they remained in the playoff picture until their season-ending five-game losing streak.
This Week24Last Week24Carolina Hurricanes19-25-4
It's hard to imagine a team falling so flat when they had such a productive first line -- Eric Staal, Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty combined for 30 goals, one behind Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz. But goaltending was an issue all year long and the supporting cast, led by Jeff Skinner, wasn't as productive as they needed to be.
This Week25Last Week26Buffalo Sabres21-21-6
A respectable 11-6-2 in their last 19 games, the Sabres are looking at some serious alterations in the offseason, potentially including a move involving G Ryan Miller. After a season like this, change happens.
This Week26Last Week25New Jersey Devils19-19-10
A mess of a season for the Devils, who couldn't score (110 goals) and were the only team in the league with fewer than 1000 saves.
This Week27Last Week28Colorado Avalanche16-25-7
The second-worst record in the league was enough to cost Joe Sacco his position as head coach, not an unreasonable move given the young talent accumulated on this roster.
This Week28Last Week27Calgary Flames19-25-4
On a team chock full of minuses (due in part to goaltenders stopping 88.9% of the shots they faced), veteran RW Lee Stempniak (plus-2) and C Matt Stajan (plus-7) were the only Flames to finish on the plus side of the ledger.
This Week29Last Week29Nashville Predators16-23-9
Too many injuries to overcome and not enough scoring for the Predators, particularly in a season in which G Pekka Rinne (.910 SV%) was mortal.
This Week30Last Week30Florida Panthers15-27-6
A terrible run of injuries left the Panthers woefully overmatched most nights and their goal differential (minus-59) was worst in the league by nearly half a goal per game, 23 worse than Colorado's minus-36.