We’re going to go ahead and pretend that the Eastern Conference week ends on Mondays, and the Western Conference weeks ends on Tuesdays. Mostly for sake of time, but this way I can go ahead and split up my time on power rankings between two days. So with that said, week on is in the books for the West! So that means it’s time for our new power rankings! Or the first power rankings for the West if you’re being picky.
The West has seen some interesting games so far, and some teams stumbling out of the gates that we didn’t necisarilly expect. The West is going to be a battle this season, only fourteen teams will battle in the West for eight seeds to get into the playoffs.
1. The St. Louis Blues have started the season on a tear. Outscoring their opponents 11-2 so far this season, they have the highest goal differential in the NHL. The Blues beat the Predators 4-2 on Thursday, and then put a full on beating on the Florida Panthers Saturday, beating them 7-0. The Blues defense is ridiculously stacked, and they’re getting a ton of offense out of their forwards. Five different Blues have three points through two games, including free agent signing Derek Roy. The powerplay has been good, 3 for 8, and the penalty kill has been perfect 11 for 11.
2. The San Jose Sharks have dominated the Phoenix Coyotes and once again proved that they can have their way with the Vancouver Canucks beating them 4-1. The Sharks offense has been spot on so far, and the defense has been solid. Antti Niemi has been nearly perfect stopping 43 of 45 shots. Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau have both put the puck on net 10 times. The powerplay has converted twice on twelve opportunities, and the penalty kill has killed six of seven. The Sharks have nearly doubled their opponents shots on net, outshooting them 86-45.
3. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Capitals on opening night 6-4 after surviving a come back scare made by the Caps. The Hawks weren’t able to get away with letting the Lightning get back in the game however. The Hawks blew a two goal lead in the third and fell in a shootout to the Bolts. The Hawks penalty kill has been awful, killing only three of seven. The powerplay has been alright though scoring on two of nine chances. Chicago dominated the Lightning, unlike the Caps, who were even with the Hawks in almost every category. Corey Crawford has been less than spectacular so far. Could Stan Bowman be regretting than big contract he gave Crawford already? Maybe. I would be.
4. The Anaheim Ducks were routed by the Avalanche on opening night, and it brought about a good amount of dramatics. The Ducks were able to bounce back and win their next two games against the Wild, and then the Jets. However, Anaheim like Chicago, is struggling while their shorthanded. They’ve given up five goals on eleven chances. Anaheim needs to get their special teams together or their not going to win games. Jakob Silfverberg has come out hot scoring two goals and adding an assist. The Ducks need to lock down the defense a bit more if they plan on winning games this season.
5. The Vancouver Canucks were able to bounce back after getting beat by the Sharks once again. They came out and stomped the Oilers in Vancouver’s home opener 6-2, and then went into Calgary the following night and pulled out a come back victory to beat the Flames in overtime 5-4. The penalty kill has been perfect for the Canucks, killing off all eleven penalties. The powerplay has converted twice on thirteen chances. The Canucks need to step up their game, their in a difficult division this season and may have a hard time keeping up if they continue to play average hockey.
6. The Colorado Avalanche needed fire, and they got it out of coach Patrick Roy. The Aves look really good early on this season, and first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon looks like he’s been in the league longer than just a week. The Aves are outscoring opponents 9-2 this season, and Semyon Varlamov has been great to start the season. The Aves have done a good job staying out of the box taking only five penalties so far this season, and they’ve done a good job of killing them all off, and they’ve scored twice on nine powerplays. The Aves have some tough matchups this week, in Toronto, in Boston, and then in Washington.
7. The Los Angeles Kings have stumbled a bit out of the gate. They won the first game of the season, but dropped the next two. The Kings were able to beat the Wild in a shootout, but then fell victim to the Jets, and then dropped their home opener to the New York Rangers last night. Jonathan Quick has shown flashes of greatness, but he’s let in some weak goals this season. Turnovers have killed the Kings, and they’ve seemed completely out of sync. The Kings need to go back to the drawing board, and hope Darryl Sutter can figure something out to get them out of this funk. We all know what they’re capable of. They could really benefit from staying out of the box as well. They’ve given their opponents an average of 4.66 powerplays a game.
8. The Phoenix Coyotes played well in the season opener at home, they were able to beat the Rangers 4-1. The next game wasn’t quite as great of a story as they were beaten by the Sharks 4-1. They were shut down by the storming Sharks, and Antti Niemi. Phoenix outplayed the Rangers, but were completely dominated by the Sharks. The Sharks outshot the Coyotes 51-23. That leaves a lot of questions about how good these Coyotes are. Phoenix hasn’t had many opportunities on the powerplay, they’ve had four powerplays on the season, but were able to convert on one. They’re penalty kill is going to have to get better killing only five of eight.
9. The Winnipeg Jets came out and opened the season in Edmonton and pulled out a come back victory after trailing 4-2. They came back and won in regulation, and then moved on to their home opener where they brought down the Kings 5-3. The defense still needs work though, Ondrej Pavelec is a work horse, but he isn’t the most skilled goaltender in the league. Winnipeg has been atrocious in the faceoff circle, they hold the third worst faceoff percentage in the league at 41.1%. Puck possession is a big thing, and faceoffs give you clean puck possession. The special teams have been good, and Winnipeg has won a couple big games, but can they keep it up for an entire season in the tough Western Conference?
10. The Dallas Stars have an entire new look this season. New management, new players, new coach, new jerseys, and maybe, just maybe, a new playoff appearance. The Stars were beaten by the Florida Panthers in the first game of the season 4-2. The Stars were able to beat the Capitals 2-1 Saturday night. They were able to stay out of the box and kept the hot powerplay of the Capitals from beating them. The Stars powerplay has yet to convert this season though, and that could pose to be a problem down the stretch if they can’t get it going, but they have only had five powerplays on the season. The penalty kill has been solid, killing off six of seven, and only surrendering the one goal to the Capitals.
11. The Minnesota Wild have stumbled a bit this season. They haven’t been able to close out games, and have been beaten in overtime twice. The Wild outplayed the Kings in their opener, but weren’t able to get the goals they needed to get the win, and lost in a shootout. The second game was no different, they came back from a two goal deficit against the Ducks, but lost in overtime. The Wild have outplayed opponents, but haven’t been able to find the offense they need to close out games. They’ve given up two powerplay goals on six penalty kills. The powerplay has started the season well, three for nine, but they need to start scoring more in five on five chances.
12. The Edmonton Oilers have given up 15 goals in three games. The goaltending and the defense needs to get better, or it’s going to be a long season in Edmonton. This was the season everyone thought Edmonton would finally come out winning, but so far they haven’t shown much promise. They surrendered a two goal lead to Winnipeg in the opener, and then were dominated by the Canucks. They looked to be headed towards another bad loss against the Devils Monday night, but were able to come up with a come back of their own, scoring four goals in the third, before surrendering the tying goal 54 seconds left. The Oilers were able to get their first win in a shootout against the Devils.
13. The Calgary Flames have surprisingly found quite a bit of offense this season, but the defense has struggled late in the game. The gave up a three goal lead in the opener to the Capitals and lost in overtime. They found a way to hold of the Blue Jackets in their second game and get their first win of the season, beating Columbus 4-3. Calgary again, gave up their lead to the Canucks this time, and again fell in overtime 5-4. The special teams have been dismal, and the faceoff percentage has been awful as well. Calgary has a lot of things to deal with if they want to win games this season, but the offense has been good in five on five chances.
14. The Nashville Predators have only scored three goals this season. This is the problem Nashville faced last year, the offense just doesn’t show. The bigger problem for the Predators, is the defense hasn’t been there either. If you aren’t going to build a team with offensive weapons, you had better be able to keep the puck out of your own net, and the Predators haven’t done that. They fell to the Blues 4-2, and then to the Aves 3-1 the following night. Nashville will come back home for the next few games this week and hopefully they can figure out a way to start putting the puck in the net and get some wins on the board.
Tags: Anaheim Ducks Antti Niemi Brent Burns Calgary Flames Chicago Blackhawks Colorado Avalanche Corey Crawford Dallas Stars Darryl Sutter Derek Roy Edmonton Oilers Jakob Silfverberg Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators Nathan MacKinnon Ondrej Pavelec Patrick Marleau Patrick Roy Phoenix Coyotes San Jose Sharks Semyon Varlamov St.Louis Blues Vancouver Canucks Winnipeg Jets