Power Rankings: Sizzling offence puts Predators on the rise

Ryan Lambert
The Predators have been filling the net recently. (Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Predators have been filling the net recently. (Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Hey everyone, we here at Yahoo! Sports are doing real power rankings for teams Nos. 1-31. Here they are, based on only how I am feeling about these teams and their chances to win the Cup, meaning you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. Please enjoy the Power Feelings.

31. Ottawa Senators (Last week: 31)

Before Senators fans get mad and say, “Ah we’re actually ahead of the Red Wings in the standings, so…” please keep in mind that who cares it’s the Senators.

30. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 29)

I feel bad for Dylan Larkin, who has to say, “Actually I’m the one who is playing badly here” and not just kind of vaguely gesture around the room like, “You see what I have to deal with, right?” He’s been on the ice for 13 goals at 5-on-5. The rest of the team has just six combined when he’s off. It’s 19 on, eight off in all situations.

That’s worse than the Oilers with McDavid. And that’s incredible.

29. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 28)

I feel like we gotta last-helicopter-out-of-Saigon Tyler Toffoli to a good team ASAP. This is turning into a major bummer.

28. New York Rangers (LW: 23)

Speaking of which, Kaapo Kakko is already giving the “I’ve lost my smile” talk to Finnish media. Something’s gotta give on Broadway, gang.

27. Chicago (LW: 25)

26. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 22)

25. Minnesota Wild (LW: 30)

Nice to pick up some Ws, for sure, but let’s contain our excitement: No road wins in this last little stretch, wins only over Edmonton, LA, and Montreal — hardly a murderer’s row — and they got it absolutely handed to them by Nashville. Maybe that all feels right, but the they-won-3-in-4-so… arguments don’t hold a lot of water here.

24. New Jersey Devils (LW: 26)

23. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 27)

Saw where John Tortorella, whose team is fifth in the division and has two regulation wins from 11 games said something to the effect of, “I thought we were supposed to suck!”

Wow, yeah, opponents only have 15 of the available 22 points from your boys so far. That’s a pace for just … 112 points? Oh I guess that’s bad. But I also guess getting to OT to get a loser point and play for the coin flip (five times in 11 games) is a skill, so that’s something.

22. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 24)

21. Dallas Stars (LW: 21)

20. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 19)

The good news is they ended last week effectively tied with Tampa. The bad news is everyone thinks Tampa is off to a horrible start and the Habs only have wins against three of eight opponents (Toronto and St. Louis twice each, then Minnesota) all year.

There are some things going right for them but too often they get derailed by a lack of both depth and no true star talent. Plus the goaltending isn’t very good. This doesn’t look much like a playoff team to me.

19. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 16)

You’d have to say they’re doing admirably in the face of “adding Luca Sbisa was an actual upgrade on defense.” But even being .500 with this group doesn’t seem particularly likely in the long run. Especially because much of their success has been predicated on Connor Hellebuyck going .930-plus behind that defense.

18. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 20)

17. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 13)

One hates to keep banging the drum on this (but not really):

16. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 10)

I did a podcast last week and was asked whether Jacob Markstrom’s strong start (.920) was a big story outside of Vancouver and: It’s not. Why not?

Because, a) Thatcher Demko is .940-plus and probably deserves more than three appearances to date, and b) they’re still outside the playoff picture because their offense is awful (One expected goal per hour at 5-on-5). And it’s not like Markstrom is Tuukka Rask where you’re like, “Where did THIS come from?” In today’s NHL, .920 is officially “great” territory, but it’s not otherworldly.

Get at us when he’s still doing it in December.

15. San Jose Sharks (LW: 12)

14. Florida Panthers (LW: 18)

Very quietly, the Panthers are third in the Atlantic. Not sure I expect it to last or anything, but the offense looks scary and if they can tighten things up defensively maybe Bobrovsky will sprout a save percentage in the .880s (or better).

Dare to dream but so far it’s fair to say he’s cost them a much better start. He’s gotta straighten it out ASAP for these guys to keep up with the rest of the East.

13. New York Islanders (LW: 17)

Okay what’s up with Thomas Greiss? How is this happening? It doesn’t make sense

12. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 9)

Malkin is apparently close to coming back. Having gone a game or two above .500 in his absence should be encouraging, but what it all actually means for this team is still a bit difficult to parse.

11. Calgary Flames (LW: 11)

They went 1-1-1 in the last week, but the win was in a shootout, which isn’t really all that encouraging. The offense and team defense just aren’t there this season and it’s derailing a perfectly competent campaign from Rittich and Talbot so far. How do only eight forwards have more than one goal 13 games in? Only three are on pace for more than 18 for the season. It’s a yikes!

10. Nashville Predators (LW: 15)

These guys have the third-most goals in the league as of the end of last week, but don’t let it fool you; it’s looking like they are going back to the ur-Predators days. They’re 23rd in expected goals at 5-on-5, third in expected-goals against.

Pucks are just going in for them at an ungodly rate (12.8 percent shooting!) to make the offense look explosive. The good news is even if things chill out on that front, the own-zone composure will keep them going.

9. St. Louis Blues (LW: 14)

That Vladimir Tarasenko news — he’s out for five months even before he needs to be re-evaluated — is horrible. Time to trade for Toffoli.

8. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 6)

7. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 7)

I love that after going through all the BS the Leafs have gone through locally to start the season, they’re still (drumroll please) tied for third in the Atlantic.

For the record, they’re 5-2-1 when they’re not playing the second game of a back-to-back, but 0-3-1 in the back half of them). They only have five more second-game-of-a-back-to-backs out of their 28 games before the start of 2020. I bet they put together a pretty good record. That’s just me.

6. Washington Capitals (LW: 8)

I guess when you’re on a six-game point streak you’re gonna feel pretty good, but the extent to which John Carlson’s incredible start is painting over some more serious problems (depth, goaltending) is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they’re banking wins at a crazy rate and are giving themselves time to figure things out. On the other, oof.

5. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 4)

The mask is starting to slip a little bit, but they’re still not playing badly or anything. You gotta wonder where they’ll end up after this hot start, but the answer probably isn’t “the toilet.” So that’s a nice change of pace after last year.

4. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 5)

3. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 2)

2. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 1)

Tampa and Vegas are the two best on-paper teams in the league and it’ll take a lot more than a mediocre month for me to say they’re anything other than the two most likely Cup winners in the league…

1. Boston Bruins (LW: 3)

That said, the reason the Bruins are different from the Capitals in that they have absolutely no depth at all is that I can see the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line scoring at a rate at least something like this forever. You can also see their own-zone quality (currently seventh in the league in xGA per hour across all situations) holding up.

Maybe not so much with John Carlson and the Caps’ D, y’know?

Ryan Lambert is a Yahoo! Sports columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

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