No, he is not King Henrik, but he might be in the eyes of Vancouver. Henrik Sedin scored twice this week, including his 1,000th point on former teammate Roberto Luongo, to become the first player in franchise history to reach quadruple digits in points. It is worth mentioning that the Canucks have also kept pace in the wild card race, which really helped them in the NHL Power Rankings.
Trying to pick the order for 11-28 has become one of the most difficult decisions to make in a long time. With the exception of Colorado and Arizona, the wild card race is beyond crowded in both conferences.
1. Washington Capitals (70 points)
Previously 1 (64 points)
We have seen this story before. The Capitals are on top of the NHL and are on pace to breeze past 100 points, but they have nothing left to prove until April/May. Their 14-game point streak ended on Tuesday after getting shut out in Ottawa, but that was after two more offensive explosions against the Blues and Hurricanes. Andre Burakovsky has been hot over the last 10 days. He had a six-game point streak and scored the first goal on Thursday and Saturday to miraculously score the first Washington goal in four straight games. He ended his run with three second assists in the blowout win over Carolina on Monday.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets (68 points)
Previously 2 (64 points)
After going 2-2-0, the Jackets have surrendered first place in the Metropolitan Division to Washington. Keeping up with the defending Presidents Trophy winners will be a challenge after the break, but that is a good issue to have in January. Cam Atkinson has three goals in his last two games, including the breakaway goal in overtime to defeat Ottawa in a 13-goal battle on Sunday. He is officially an All-Star with Evgeni Malkin injured.
3. Minnesota Wild (67 points)
Previously 3 (61 points)
Minnesota previously had a 12-game winning streak, but they still have a franchise record 13-game point streak on the road. They last had an away regulation loss was on Nov. 27, and they hope to continue that run in Western Canada after the break. Hockey Day in Minnesota ended with a bang, as the Wild scored three unanswered goals in the third period to take out Anaheim on Saturday. Ryan Suter had two assists and the go-ahead goal in the third period, and he is currently tied with Jason Zucker for the best +/- in the NHL (+27). In fact, five of the top seven players in that category play for Minnesota, with Jared Spurgeon, Mikko Koivu, and Mikael Granlund having a +/- of at least +24.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (65 points)
Previously 3 (61 points)
Pittsburgh has been one of the most unstoppable teams in the league this season, so it came as a surprise that they were shut out at home by a team that has had way too many issues at goaltender in January. Matt Murray had a rough night in the win over Washington last week, but he countered with three straight wins while allowing just one goal in each, including a 44-save performance in Sunday’s matinee against Boston. Conor Sheary added his third two-goal game in five contests in that win.
5. Chicago Blackhawks (65 points)
Previously 5 (61 points)
Lots of positives to take out of this week. Scott Darling shut out Boston on 30 shots to beef up his value for the remainder of the season, and Marian Hossa scored both the only goal on Friday and the empty netter on Sunday. Jonathan Toews, however, had the best week for the Blackhawks. He contributed on all six of Chicago’s last six goals, including the go-ahead goal against Vancouver with just 1:18 remaining in the third period.
6. Montreal Canadiens (65 points)
Previously 6 (60 points)
Sometimes Montreal makes things look so easy, like in their 5-1 cruiser over Calgary on Tuesday. Then there was that one game where Robin Lehner literally Rob-bed the Canadiens on Saturday. Fortunately for the Habs, the overtime loss to Buffalo is probably not going to result in an epic comeback from the Sabres in the Atlantic Division, but anything can happen. Alexander Radulov assisted on all three Montreal goals in the win over New Jersey on Thursday, and he followed that up with two power play goals on Tuesday. It is safe to say that Radulov has succeeded in his NHL return and loves having Alex Galchenyuk back from a knee injury, but Galchenyuk will not play against the Islanders on Thursday because of the same injury.
7. New York Rangers (63 points)
Previously 7 (57 points)
Defense, specifically from the renewed Henrik Lundqvist, was the theme of the week. The Rangers had two games that were scoreless in the second intermission. It took overtime for them to put the Red Wings away with a 1-0 score, and the Flyers blanked them 2-0 on Wednesday after breaking through early in the third period. It has been the Mats Zuccarello show in New York in recent games. He had a six-game point streak that included seven assists, including one to J.T. Miller to ice Sunday’s overtime game in Detroit. Miller returned the favor on Zuccarello’s first goal of 2017 in the home win against LA on Monday.
8. San Jose Sharks (64 points)
Previously 9 (56 points)
Anyone struggling to find the player of the week needs to find some glasses. Patrick Marleau became the first player in 20 years to score four goals in a period. The last player to do it was Mario Lemieux. Marleau then scored the game-winner in Winnipeg on Tuesday for career goal number 498. Milestones galore!
9. Anaheim Ducks (63 points)
Previously 8 (59 points)
Jakob Silfverberg has missed the last three games with an upper body injury, and he could have been used in Anaheim’s shutout loss to Edmonton. Fortunately for the Ducks, they face Colorado and the two struggling Florida teams following the All-Star break. Rickard Rakell was the first Duck to score 20 goals this season in the win over Winnipeg on Monday.
10. Edmonton Oilers (62 points)
Previously 10 (57 points)
The Oilers are looking more like a realistic playoff contender by the week. They have a seven-game point streak and their last two wins were not close, including their first sweep of the Flames in franchise history. Zack Kassian has strung together a five-game point streak, and he shocked everyone in the Honda Center with a crossover backhand on Wednesday. Cam Talbot notched his fourth shutout of the season in that game.
11. Ottawa Senators (57 points)
Previously 13 (50 points)
Ottawa has had the luxury of playing five fewer games than Boston, and they now have more points, too. They have points in five straight games, including three points against the Blue Jackets. Zach Smith signed a four-year contract extension on Monday, the day after having two goals and one assist in their 7-6 overtime loss to Columbus, and answered with a deflection goal on Tuesday. Mike Condon salted away the win with a surprising shutout over the offense-happy Capitals.
12. Toronto Maple Leafs (55 points)
Previously 12 (50 points)
After beginning the week poorly, the Leafs are back in the top three of the Atlantic Division after consecutive 4-0 wins. After a save percentage just short of .950 in December, Frederik Andersen had scuffled in January. Now he has two shutouts in three days to finish the first half of his season. If he can replicate his production from December for the rest of the season, then the Leafs are almost guaranteed a playoff spot one year after having to draft first.
13. Philadelphia Flyers (54 points)
Previously 15 (50 points)
The defense has been a disaster on so many levels, but there is reason to believe heading into the break. After falling behind in Brooklyn on Sunday, the Flyers rallied and won in overtime. They took their talents to NBC on Wednesday, and the offense broke through in the third period as Steve Mason shut out the formidable Rangers. Mason saved 70 of 72 shots over the last two games (a .972 save percentage), and Wayne Simmonds scored in both games to reach the 20-goal mark for the season.
14. St. Louis Blues (53 points)
Previously 11 (51 points)
If you think you had a bad week, at least you were not Jake Allen. He was all out of sorts on Thursday and was pulled twice in the 7-3 loss to Washington. To make matters worse for Allen, Carter Hutton shut out the Penguins on Tuesday and might take the start away from him in Thursday’s tilt in Minnesota. Hutton would need another astronomical night to be relied on as the starting goaltender, but it is clear that choosing between Brian Elliott and Allen during the offseason was a lose-lose situation at this moment.
15. Nashville Predators (54 points)
Previously 21 (47 points)
Better late than never. The Predators looked like a huge disappointment in the first half of the season, but have now taken over third place in the Central Division with the help of St. Louis’s skid. It will be difficult to continue their run (points in seven of their last eight games), with Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Edmonton next on the schedule. P.K. Subban returned to action this week, but Ryan Ellis was the top defenseman this week. He had two goals in Calgary and added another in Edmonton. He also had a shootout goal against the Oilers and two assists to help Nashville beat Minnesota in St. Paul.
16. Vancouver Canucks (52 points)
Previously 23 (47 points)
As previously mentioned, Henrik Sedin became the first Canuck to reach 1,000 career points, but he also has a six-game point streak that he extended after assisting Sven Baertschi on the game-winning goal in Colorado on Wednesday. As expected, Daniel Sedin is also on the verge of reaching that milestone with 969 points. He will likely fall short of 1,000 this season, but should join his twin early next season.
17. Boston Bruins (54 points)
Previously 16 (52 points)
It was not all bad. Brad Marchand had two goals on Tuesday, and David Pastrnak scored his first goal in 18 games to give Boston the win in overtime against Detroit. Before that, however, they were shut out against Chicago and crushed in Pittsburgh. The trend continues to go in the wrong direction for the Bruins.
18. Los Angeles Kings (50 points)
Previously 17 (48 points)
Rough stretch for the Kings. With nine road games in a 10-game stretch, LA could not wait to get out of the Empire State. Despite firing 74 combined shots on the Islanders and Rangers, they only got points on a first period breakout in New Jersey. LA is still looking get ahead of Calgary and Vancouver in the wild card race, but Jonathan Quick‘s return will not automatically change things. Peter Budaj has allowed more than three goals just once since December 13. He has started 39 of LA’s 48 games, and he is a huge reason why the Kings are fifth in GAA.
19. Carolina Hurricanes (49 points)
Previously 18 (49 points)
They can feel good knowing a playoff spot is within reach, but so is last place in the Eastern Conference. Carolina, which has done a solid job at avoiding blowout losses, have now lost four straight, and three of them were not close. After a home match against the Kings, Carolina will have to right the ship after the break. After a miserable night against Pittsburgh on Friday, Teuvo Teravainen has been a healthy scratch over the past two contests. It is hard to believe that trend will continue for very long considering he is fourth on the team in points. He was third last week, but surprising rookie Sebastian Aho passed him after contributing on two of Carolina’s four goals (one goal and one assist).
20. Calgary Flames (51 points)
Previously 14 (51 points)
The Flames were by far the worst team this week. They lost all four games by a combined score of 20-7, and they have not scored the first goal in their last nine games. During the losing streak, they allowed all four of their opponents to score the first four goals of the game. That is not how you win games. Sean Monahan had a five-game goal streak before the Flames were shut out in Toronto on Monday.
21. Florida Panthers (50 points)
Previously 19 (48 points)
The first of two Florida teams which have been horribly disappointing. With all three Canadian teams in the Atlantic Division threatening to pull away, the Panthers really need to defeat the equally struggling Lightning on Thursday to give themselves the best chance at surging back to the playoffs after the All-Star break. An extensive lull could make them lottery bound without a McDavid-like player in the draft. Vincent Trocheck now has seven goals in eight games after another one in Arizona on Monday.
22. New York Islanders (49 points)
Previously 28 (42 points)
New York’s first four games under new coach Doug Weight have been nothing short of spectacular. They have points in their last four games and got a huge home win against Columbus on Tuesday. The playoffs could be a serious possibility if they can shut down Montreal and Washington. Thomas Greiss stopped all of Dallas’s 23 shots on goal on Thursday for his second straight shut out after having none before his visit to Boston last week.
23. Buffalo Sabres (49 points)
Previously 27 (43 points)
No matter what teams tried to do, Buffalo was not going to be denied in overtime. Detroit, Montreal, and Nashville all fell in the extra period against the Sabres, but no team had their heart ripped out as much as the Canadiens. Robin Lehner made his case for save of the year when when he went too far to his right and dove back left to steal an overtime goal from Alex Galchenyuk. Jack Eichel was also clutch this week, with an assist and a goal in the three overtimes. His winner in Nashville was his second goal of the game.
24. Detroit Red Wings (49 points)
Previously 24 (46 points)
After getting in one of their biggest wins of the season against Boston last Wednesday, they have not been able to follow up on the momentum. They went 0-3 in their three games in overtime, including 1-0 slugfest against the Rangers on Sunday, and were shutout at home against Toronto on Wednesday. After going 1-18 on power play in their last six games, the fading Wings are now last in the NHL in power play percentage (11.3%). Dylan Larkin is currently on the 7-day injured reserve with an upper body injury.
25. Winnipeg Jets (48 points)
Previously 26 (46 points)
After two close, and somewhat controversial, losses to Anaheim and San Jose, the Jets join the Stars in the back of Western Conference teams that still have a realistic shot at the playoffs. They were fortunate to face St. Louis on a day when Pheonix Copley was making his NHL debut. Bryan Little scored twice on Copley on Saturday, and he scored two more in the loss to the Sharks on Tuesday. Patrik Laine also returned to the ice, and he figures to be a critical factor after the break.
26. New Jersey Devils (49 points)
Previously 22 (47 points)
Miles Wood snapped a six-game goalless streak with two goals in their victory in Philadelphia on Saturday. The main story, however, was New Jersey’s inability to keep teams off the scoreboard in the first period. On Tuesday, Cory Schneider was yanked after allowing three LA goals in the first period.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning (49 points)
Previously 20 (47 points)
Had it not been for Tyler Johnson‘s heroics on Tuesday, Tampa Bay would be alone in last in the Eastern Conference. They are 3-7-1 in January, but perhaps their recent win will turn things around. Johnson scored twice in the third period against the Blackhawks to help the Lightning pull away with the much-needed victory.
28. Dallas Stars (48 points)
Previously 25 (46 points)
The Stars have lost five of six, and their only celebration featured six goals from the Rangers. They at least got a point against Washington and Minnesota, but they will need to take advantage of a weaker schedule in February if they want to remain in the playoff picture. Patrick Eaves has three goals in his last four games and now leads the disappointing Dallas offense with 18 goals.
29. Arizona Coyotes (36 points)
Previously 29 (32 points)
They have won consecutive games for the second time in January and just the fifth time all season. While Anthony Duclair was sent down to the NHL, another newcomer has emerged. Brendan Perlini has been special in his first action in the NHL, and Christian Fischer now has a goal in each of his first two games.
Alexander Burmistrov has also heated up, with five assists in his first five games in Arizona after being claimed from Winnipeg earlier this month.
30. Colorado Avalanche (28 points)
Previously 30 (27 points)
Thanks to the first team in the power rankings (back in 1975), the Avalanche do not have to worry about records. Of course, there are better times to be desired for a team that has now lost seven straight for the first time this season and 13 of their last 14 at home. Nikita Zadorov has three assists in his last two games.
Jakub Voracek scores twice on the Islanders on Sunday. He had just one assist in the overtime win.
Vancouver and Chicago go into extra rounds in a shootout on Sunday. It was encouraging until Jonathan Toews crashed the party.
Casey Cizikas gets the overtime winner against Columbus on Tuesday. He wasn’t needed in the Islanders’ victory.
The Oilers are shut out in San Jose on Thursday.
Jeff Carter gets a hat trick in his home arena during the All-Star Game.
Brendan Perlini scores twice on the Kings on Tuesday.