NHL Power Rankings With a BCS Style Twist
By Guest Blogger Alan ZLot:
Welcome to the first edition of a new way to rank the top teams in the NHL. These power rankings are a little different from many you may skim through each week. These rankings are not based on my opinion but merely on a point system, a BCS style point system.
The top 16 teams in the NHL will be ranked regardless of conference and teams that are not in the top 16 in the NHL but are still playoff eligible (an eight seed or higher).
With that in mind, this week’s poll includes two additional teams not ranked in the top 16 but is playoff eligible, the Rangers and Hurricanes, bringing the number of teams ranked this week to 18
The teams ranked will be the top 16 teams in the league according to the standings and stats after Saturday night’s games.The top team in each category this week will receive 90 points with the lowest ranked team in that category receiving five points. The categories chosen are as follows:
- Overall winning percentage
- goals for
- goals against
- goal differential
- road winning percentage
- division winning percentage
There will be an additional five bonus points awarded to the team that is tops in the poll in a specific category. Remember hockey fans this is not my opinion but only the way the points fell.
I hate rankings but love numbers and the NHL, so I always like to see how trends shake out or shake up when applying reason and the philosophy of “numbers do not lie.”One last thing, I do not rank every team simply because not every team is worth ranking. I do not mean to offend anyone but do you really care where the Islanders or Oilers rank compared to the Flyers and Canucks these days?
Points for the week are in parenthesis:
#18 Carolina Hurricanes (92.5)- The Canes proved Saturday night they will not quit, scoring two goals in final minute to tie the game against the division leading Lightning. Not playing well enough on defense to make it the playoffs.
#17 Calgary Flames (132.5)– Calgary has done an about face over the last 21 games. They are 14-3-4 over that stretch and have moved right back into playoff contention. Their recent hot streak has cooled off a lot of the trade talk that was surrounding this team in late November and December.
# 16 Phoenix Coyotes (202.5)- The Coyotes are on a four game winning streak and tied with the Nashville Predators for fourth in the Western Conference with 67 points.
#15 Anaheim Ducks (210)- The Ducks are a team that are heating up as ageless wonders such as Teemu Selanne, who recorded afour-point night on Friday and Saku Koivu (2 goals and 6 assists over his last six games) seem to be pacing themselves nicely for an extended season. The Ducks bolstered their defense for the stretch run by re-acquiring Francois Beauchemin from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
#14 Dallas Stars (225)- The Dallas Stars are just 4-5-1 in their last ten games and although they still lead the NHL’s Pacific division, they are just 5-6-2 against teams in the division.
#13 Washington Capitals (232.5)- The Caps have been shut out eight times this season and in losing their last two games at home, scored just one goal in the process. Currently hanging on by a thread to the fifth spot in the eastern conference, the Caps are heading west to start a five game road trip. Washington has dropped six in a row to western conference foes this season. Is head coach Bruce Boudreau’s job in jeopardy?
#12 Montreal Canadiens (242.5)- Playing in perhaps their best all around game of the season, Montreal rebounded from going 4-3-3 in their previous 10 games as Carey Price shut out the Leafs, 3-to-0 on Saturday night. Montreal is tied with the offensive-less Washington Capitals for the fifth seed in the eastern conference but trail the NE division leading Bruins by just one point.
#11 Los Angeles Kings (260)- The Kings are in the midst of a franchise record 10 game road trip and on Sunday won their fourth game of the trip and second game in as many days, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 behind a brilliant 39 save performance from goalie Jonathan Quick.
#10 San Jose Sharks (265)- For the first time in 11 games, the Sharks failed to come away with at least one point in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Devils. The Sharks are 8-1-1 in their last ten.
#9 Minnesota Wild (265)- The Minnesota Wild are just like half of the NHL’s western conference, on a hot streak and in danger of missing the playoffs. Fresh off a home and home sweep of the St. Louis Blues and winners of three straight, the Wild are now 8-2-0 in their last ten games.
# 8 New York Rangers (272.5)– They have struggled lately going just 3-6-1 over their last ten games prior to winning yesterday against Pittsburgh. The Rangers had lost four in a row but play in a tough division. They still rank in the upper end of just about every category in this poll.
# 7 Nashville Predators (285)- With a 3-1 record against the Detroit Red Wings this season, the Predators feel they have a legitimate chance to make a decent run in April and May. Needing more playoff experience and offense Preds GM David Poile acquired Mike Fisher from the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. Nashville is a defensive team built in a similar mold to what GM David Poile did in Washington back in the mid and late 80′s. Anyone have any idea how the Caps did in their post season runs back then?
# 6 Tampa Bay Lightning (287.5)– Tampa struggled last week in losing two games at home. Currently in the midst of an NHL record tying 12 game home stand the Bolts lost their composure and surrendered five third period goals in losing to Buffalo last Tuesday. Led by one of the best young coaches in the NHL, Guy Boucher calmed his troops down in time to beat the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday evening but again lost a lead late in the third period.
# 5 Detroit Red Wings (360)- The Red Wings are getting healthy and just in time for the stretch drive. Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, and Tomas Holmstrom all players who missed time with injuries recently combined for two goals and four assists against the Bruins on Friday. The Wings were just 5-5 over their last ten games before beating the Bruins again on Sunday.
# 4 Pittsburgh Penguins (397.5)– In a week that saw Pittsburgh lose superstar Evegni Malkin for the year with a knee injury, with still no sign of Sidney Crosby returning the Penguins lost to the woeful New York Islanders in a game that saw 346 penalty minutes, 15 fighting majors and 21 misconducts. Besides Malkin and Crosby the Pens are missing other regulars like Chris Kunitz and Arron Asham sidelined with injuries and Eric Godard joining Matt Cooke on the suspended list. The Pens are 5-5 over their last ten games.
# 3 Boston Bruins (402.5)- Boston had won four of five games, including a fight-filled 8-6 victory over rival Montreal, and the Bruins were feeling pretty good about things. Then a healthier Detroit Red Wings came to bean town and hammered Boston, scoring six goals against Vezina Trophy favorite Tim Thomas. Thomas allowed 2 goals or less in 9 of his past 11 appearances but surrendered six goals in two straight games this past week. The team’s best line of late has included center Patrice Bergeron, veteran winger Mark Recchi, and rookie Brad Marchand. That trio was a combined minus-9 against the Red Wings on Friday. Boston catches a bit of a scheduling break in their next three games as they play the Maple Leafs, Islanders and Senators this coming week.
# 2 Vancouver Canucks (512.5)– The Vancouver Canucks are hot once again. After slipping a bit, losing four in a row (three in OT or S/O) at the beginning of the month, the Canucks have now won seven of their last eight games and now have points in ten of their last eleven.
Vancouver is more than comfortable atop the Northwest division needing binoculars to spot second place Minnesota. The Canucks ranked first in goals with 190 and number one in goal differential with a plus-57. The Canucks seemed poised to make as good a run at Lord Stanley’s Cup as they ever have in their franchise history. They are ranked number one in offense and defense in the NHL in average goals per game, and average goals against per game. As noted above, even when they did lose four in a row they collected points in three of those games.I suspect by this time next week, with this poll, the Canucks are sure to own the top spot.
# 1 Philadelphia Flyers (515)- The Philadelphia Flyers seem focused to return to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Broad Street Bullies are 7-3 in their last 10 games and 19-6 in their last 25 contests dating back to Dec-9. Despite losing on Sunday to the Kings, Philadelphia is playing well in all three phases of the game. The only danger that could lie ahead for Philly is continuing to alternate goalies.
Both are playing great, Brian Boucher is 13-6-2 with a 2.25 goals-against average, while rookie Sergei Bobrovsky is 22-7-3 with a 2.49 GAA. One is going to have to step up, as head Coach Peter Laviolette knows the importance of riding one goalie through the playoffs.Laviolette rode rookie Cam Ward to a Stanley Cup title in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. Ward was the Conn Smyth Winner as the playoffs most valuable player that year.
The Flyers ranked number one after Saturday evening in three of this polls categories edging out the Vancouver Canucks who were ranked number one in just two categories. The 15 bonus points the Flyers earned gave them the number one spot this week.