Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Caps still rule, are Blackhawks back?


It’s tough to get a read on the movers and shakers this early in the NHL season. Obviously, the Capitals are again for real after dropping 13 goals in their first two games, including an absolute curb-stomping of the Bruins on opening night.

And perhaps the Chicago Blackhawks are perched for a big rebound season after showing plenty of offensive punch in the first three games. But are Jack Eichel and his Sabres going to keep things up after a strong showing in their first week?

Will the Anaheim Ducks continue to win games with both Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf banged up? How on earth are the San Jose Sharks off to a 1-2-0 start given the firepower and talent they now have on their roster with Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson part of their back end?

It will take a lot more than a handful of games to answer these questions, but we’ll do our best with a new batch of NHL Power Rankings:

1. Washington Capitals (1-0-1, rank last week: 1) – Only one team has scored more goals than the Caps, and the Blackhawks have played three games to the two high-powered games played by Washington.

2. Chicago Blackhawks (2-0-1, LW: 19) – The Blackhawks lead the NHL with 15 goals, but they’re also allowing 4.7 goals per game in the three games they’ve played. Sounds like entertaining hockey.   

3. Nashville Predators (2-0-0, LW: 9) – Pekka Rinne and PK Subban are off to great starts, which unsurprisingly has led to an undefeated start for the Predators. 

4. Tampa Bay Lightning (1-0-0, LW: 4) – 41 saves for Andrei Vasilevskiy in Tampa Bay’s opener equals a pretty impressive way to start the season for the stacked Lighting.

5. Anaheim Ducks (3-0-0, LW: 13) – No Ryan Getzlaf, no Corey Perry. No problem for the Ducks, who are off to a great start.

6. Colorado Avalanche (2-0-0, LW: 14) – Nathan MacKinnon averaging over a point-per-game and more than 23 minutes of ice time for the undefeated Avs. Yeah, he’s pretty good.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs (2-1-0, LW: 7) – So far, so good with John Tavares whooping it up with the Maple Leafs. It’s been almost all Auston Matthews, though, with five goals and eight points in the first three games.

8. Dallas Stars (2-0-0, LW: 23) – Eight goals scored and one goal scored against for the Stars. That’s pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty good.

9. Boston Bruins (2-1-0, LW: 8) – The Bruins made a nice recovery from dropping the stink bomb on the ice opening night against Washington, and Patrice Bergeron is again dominant with four goals in the past two games after missing all of the preseason.

10. Carolina Hurricanes (2-0-1, LW: 21) – Michael Ferland off to a fast start in his new home in Carolina with two goals and four points in three games for the Canes. It’s nothing like a change of scenery to bring out the best in somebody.

11. New Jersey Devils (1-0-0, previous ranking: 17) – One win on the season with two goals from Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac has the Devils on the right foot.

12. Los Angeles Kings (1-0-1, LW: 18) – Jonathan Quick is hurt again for the Kings as they continue to try to compete with a proven, winning group that’s getting a little old and creaky in the bones.

13. San Jose Sharks (1-2-0. Rank last week: 3) – Well, so much for the Sharks winning 82 out of 82 with Erik Karlsson.

14. New York Islanders (2-1-0, LW: 31) – Give the Isles credit. So far, they’re surviving without Tavares in the middle of their lineup. Is it sustainable for the long haul? I highly doubt it.

15. Buffalo Sabres (2-1-0, LW: 20) – Eichel picking up the leadership baton on the ice for the Sabres with three goals in three games as it looks like Buffalo is going to be pretty competitive.

16. Florida Panthers (0-0-1, LW: 15) – One game in and Roberto Luongo is banged up with an injury. That is not the way the Panthers drew it up to start the season.

17.  Pittsburgh Penguins (1-1-0, LW: 5) – No goals for Sid the Kid or Phil the Thrill in the first two games means a couple of players are not living up to their nicknames.

18.  Columbus Blue Jackets (1-1-0, LW: 11) – Only four goals in the first two games means the Blue Jackets are still scrounging and scrapping for offense per usual.

19. Philadelphia Flyers (1-1-0, LW: 12) – Brian Elliott with a 3.03 goals-against average and .898 save percentage thus far for the Flyers. That is not going to be good enough.   

20. Winnipeg Jets (1-1-0, LW: 6) – Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine and Blake Wheeler all off to strong starts for a Winnipeg team that’s got some high hopes this season.

21. Vegas Golden Knights (1-2-0, LW: 2) – Were the Golden Knights a one season Cinderella story? It will take a few things to sort that all out, but not a good start for the defending Western Conference champs.   

22. Edmonton Oilers (0-1-0, LW: 16) – The Oil didn’t look good in their one-game jaunt to Sweden and now they have to turn things over quickly and start on a road trip on the East Coast. Tough way to start the year.

23. Calgary Flames (1-1-0, LW: 22) – An .810 save percentage for Mike Smith through the first two games for Calgary? Yikes!  

24. Minnesota Wild (0-1-1, LW: 10) – Two goals scored in two games for the Wild isn’t going to cut it. Somebody besides Zach Parise needs to step up and be counted offensively.   

25. Montreal Canadiens (1-0-1, LW: 28) – The Habs are off to a decent start with opportunistic offense and strong goaltending from Carey Price. That will be the formula if Montreal is going to do anything this season.

26. Ottawa Senators (1-1-1, LW: 30) – Young D-man Thomas Chabot has two goals and five points in the early going for the Sens and young players like him are going to be needed to lead the way for Ottawa out of the darkness.

27. Vancouver Canucks (1-1-0, LW: 27) – Rookie Elias Pettersson brings another young player with star power to Vancouver as it sure looks like the Canucks are beginning to build something out west from the studs on up.

28. St. Louis Blues (0-1-1, LW: 24) – Another slow start for Jake Allen in what’s beginning to turn into a recurring pattern for the Blues goaltender.

29. Arizona Coyotes (0-2-0, LW: 29) – Zero goals scored and four goals allowed in two games for the Desert Dogs. Catch the fever!

30. Detroit Red Wings (1-2-0, LW: 26) – A minus-4 goal differential after three games shows that the Red Wings definitely have some things to tighten up. The question is whether they’re capable of doing the tightening.  

31. New York Rangers (0-3-0, LW: 25) – Nobody has allowed more than the 14 goals that the Rangers defense and goalies have in their first three games. It sure looks like the rebuilding is going to continue this season, doesn’t it?   


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