It was a week full of teams falling off, continuing to fall or climbing higher this week. The good teams stay at the top while there is some movement in the middle of the pack. This is how I saw the past week of the NHL when it comes to Canadian teams.
1) Toronto Maple Leafs: 20-11-1 2nd in Atlantic Division. (3-1 in the last week) + 1
The Leafs find themselves at the top for the first time in my rankings. They are led by great goaltending play this week. Curtis McElhinney got his first shutout of the season against the Oilers in a game the Oilers probably deserved to win and Frederik Andersen has been having one of the best years of his career. It must be nice for Leaf fans to finally have a number one goalie after so many hard years.
2) Winnipeg Jets: 18-8-5 3rd in Central Division. (1-2 in the last week) – 1
The Jets snapped a three game losing streak with a 5-1 drubbing of the falling Vancouver Canucks. The Jets have a tough schedule in the upcoming week. They play Chicago, St. Louis twice and Nashville. This week could decide the Jets place in the Western Conference is should be an interesting week for Winnipeg.
3) Calgary Flames: 16-12-3. Tied for Last Wild Card Spot (2-2 in the last week) + 2
After falling two spots in the rankings last week the Flames are back up to the three spot. It isn’t so much because they played their way back up but because Vancouver and Montreal played their way down. I can’t put my finger on this Flames team. I don’t know if they are contender or pretender but they’ve stuck around in a playoff battle so they still have some time to figure it out.
4) Montreal Canadiens: 13-14-4. 4th in the Atlantic (2-2 in the last week) – 1
The Habs fell back to reality after a good run in the last week. They lost a sloppy game to the Flames and just didn’t look like the team from a week prior. The Habs play the Devils on Thursday and should be well rested to make a push to get back into a playoff spot before Christmas.
5) Edmonton Oilers: 13-16-2. 2nd last in West (2-2 in the last week) + 1
The Oilers move up from sixth for the first time in my rankings. They have played respectably since Talbot got hurt and have found their scoring touch recently. In their two wins in the last week they scored 13 goals. If it wasn’t for great play from McElhinney against the Leafs the Oilers would have won that game. I just don’t know If they can keep up their recent winning ways without a solidified starting goalie.
6) Vancouver Canucks: 14-14-4. 3 points out of Wild Card (0-4 in the last week) – 3
The Canucks are the biggest fallers of the year so far. They are missing two important scorers in Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat and they could be gone for another month. I just don’t know If the Canucks can keep their heads above water for a month without those two. It could spell the beginning of the end for the Canucks season that started surprising well.
7) Ottawa Senators: 9-13-7. 2nd last in East (0-4 in the last week) EVEN
The Sens are the only team who didn’t move this week. They have been at the bottom of the rankings the entire time. This Sens team just doesn’t have it this year and I think it is time to blow it up. The Duchene trade has been a massive flop and the team needs to build around their young players. I just don’t see the Senators being a competitor with the team they have put together.
There was a lot of movement this week amongst the Canadian NHL teams and with the middle of the pack being so close it could be the same next week. The Habs and Flames need to find some consistency if they want to stay in the playoff hunt and the Oilers are going to need to go on a streak and fast. I don’t think they will do anything without picking up a goalie. We will see what happens before Christmas. Keep an eye out for the rankings again next Wednesday, thanks for reading.