NHL Power Rankings: Early surprises, disappointments, and mystery teams

In this week’s NHL Power Rankings we have a couple of surprises at the top and bottom of the rankings.

At the top, we have the Montreal Canadiens who have been the most impressive (and surprising) team in the league with a 4-0-2 start that has looked even better than the record.

At the opposite end of that spectrum, we have a Vancouver Canucks teams that has been one of the biggest early season disappointments.

We take a look at them, and every other team in the league.

Where does your team rank so far?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Montreal Canadiens. They have 10 out of a possible 12 points, the best goal differential, and great possession numbers while every game so far has been on the road. They look great. Let them enjoy the top spot for a week.

2. Vegas Golden Knights. Marc-Andre Fleury is not giving up his job without a fight and you should be puttting Mark Stone in your early season MVP discussion.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning. Steven Stamkos is back, healthy, and looks great. That will help cover up for the absence of Nikita Kucherov.

4. Colorado Avalanche. Okay maybe at this point this is more of a projection given their early results. But this is the best team in the league on paper. There is no obvious weakness. The results will follow. Be patient.

5. Boston Bruins. The floodgates are starting to open offensively after a slow start, and David Pastrnak‘s return is still looming.

6. New York Islanders. Offense is not great so far (as expected) but they do not give up anything. Betting against a Barry Trotz coached team is never a good idea. They always seem to find a way.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs. The stars at the top are doing their thing offensively. Need the goaltending to be a little better.

8. Calgary Flames. A great start for Jacob Markstrom to shut down his former team in back-to-back games. If he plays like this all year that is going to be a game-changer in the North Division.

9. Dallas Stars. Small sample size alert! But, no team has won more playoff games than the Stars over the past two years and after an extended layoff to start the season they came out and put seven goals on the board in their first game.

10. St. Louis Blues. They had one terrible game against Colorado, but this is still going to be a contender and they still have the Vladimir Tarasenko wild card in their back pocket.

Promising start but need to see more to know it is for real

11. Washington Capitals. On one hand, they have at least one point in every game. On the other hand four of their games (and all three wins) are against a questionable Buffalo team and they blew a bunch of leads against Pittsburgh and turned what looked like wins into losses. Mixed bag here so far.

12. New Jersey Devils. A very surprising start here, especially the two games without Mackenzie Blackwood. Jack Hughes is ready to become a star.

13. Minnesota Wild. Kirill Kaprizov is exactly what the Wild needed.

14. Carolina Hurricanes. Hard to get a read on them since we have only seen three games, and their schedule the rest of the way is going to be very condensed.

15. Pittsburgh Penguins. They are winning games, but there is nothing pretty about them. They have played with the lead for 34 minutes this season, second lowest total in the league. They have spent more than 160 minutes trailing, third most in the league. Something has to change there if wins are going to continue.

16. Winnipeg Jets. This season looks exactly like it should have been expected: Great offense, strong goaltending, very weak defense.

The mystery teams (what are they going to be?)

17. Philadelphia Flyers. After sweeping Pittsburgh to open the season the Flyers have lost three out of four and allowed at last five goals in each of those losses. They were a mystery at the start and nothing has changed through a week-and-a-half.

18. Florida Panthers. They only have two games but they did what they should have done: Beat a bad team.

19. Columbus Blue Jackets. Patrik Laine should boost the power play, but his arrival brings a lot of questions.

20. Los Angeles Kings. It is early, but they have been more competitive than expected against some of the league’s top teams.

21. Anaheim Ducks. John Gibson is off to an incredible start. If the Ducks are going to compete, they need that.

22. San Jose Sharks. The schedule has not been kind (all on the road, tough teams, etc.), and it is not going to get any easier this week with Colorado and Vegas looming over the next four games.

23. Edmonton Oilers. This looks an awful lot like every other Oilers season in the Connor McDavidLeon Draisaitl era. Those two carry the offense, the rest of the team provides nothing. That recipe has not worked.

24. Buffalo Sabres. They have kept things close against some good teams, but that is not going to be good enough in this division.

25. Nashville Predators. Filip Forsberg is scoring goals, but those special teams issues that hurt them a year ago are still out there so far.

It could be a long season

26. Arizona Coyotes. They were going to be facing an uphill battle with Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the lineup. Going to be even tougher without him for a few weeks.

27. New York Rangers. Not the start they envisioned, and making up ground in this division might be tough.

28. Chicago Blackhawks. Against Detroit they are 2-0 and outscored them 10-3. Against teams not from Detroit they are 0-4 and been outscored 20-9.

29. Detroit Red Wings. Bobby Ryan might end up being a real bright spot (until he gets traded to a contender).

30. Ottawa Senators. The roster looks better on paper but there is still a long way to go here.

31. Vancouver Canucks. No, you should not expect the Canucks to be here all year. They will get better. But this start? Yikes. It deserves the bottom spot at least for one week. Three straight games against Ottawa this week might be what they need.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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    Teravainen scores late, Hurricanes rally to beat Rangers 3-2

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    NEW YORK – Teuvo Teravainen scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period, Frederik Andersen stopped 29 shots and the Carolina Hurricanes rallied to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

    Jalen Chatfield and Stefan Noesen also scored for the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes, who won for the third time in four games.

    With the comeback win, the Hurricanes became the second team – following Boston – to reach the 100-point mark this season as Carolina increased its Metropolitan Division-lead over second-place New Jersey to two points and the third-place Rangers to eight.

    “That was a great effort. All 20 guys contributed and we got what we deserved,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “If we play like that, we’ll be in good shape. This time of year it gets tougher and tougher.”

    Tyler Motte and Kaapo Kakko scored for the Rangers, who had won four straight were 6-0-1 in their last seven. Igor Shesterkin finished with 36 saves as the Rangers played their third game in four nights – the previous two shutout wins at home.

    “Igor kept us in there as long as he could and we just didn’t have enough in the tank,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. ”They won more battles and played a hard game.”

    Teravainen scored his 11th goal with 2:33 left on a pass from defenseman Brent Burns, redirecting the puck past Shesterkin. The Hurricanes, who trailed 1-0 and 2-1.

    “Somehow they left me open in the back side, great pass by him,” Teravainen said of the winning-goal pass to him in the slot. “We knew this would be a tough night. They have a good team. We knew we had to battle to win this game.”

    The Rangers led 1-0 entering the third and were vying for their third-straight shutout before Chatfield tied the score at 9:49 – the first goal the Rangers allowed in more than eight periods. New York was coming off a 6-0 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday night with Shesterkin in goal and a 7-0 triumph over Nashville behind Jaroslav Halak on Sunday.

    Kakko then put New York back ahead 31 seconds later with his 13th goal, only to have Noesen answer right back 18 seconds later to tie it 2-2.

    Motte opened the scoring at the 17-minute mark of the first, knocking the puck past Andersen for his third goal in four games and sixth of the season overall.

    The Rangers hadn’t lost in regulation since a 4-2 defeat on March 4 at Boston.

    “Tonight we didn’t play near well enough to beat that team,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. ”Honestly, the whole game they outplayed us. They were a lot quicker. They managed the puck real well … We didn’t play our game.”


    Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal played his 729th game with Carolina on Tuesday, tying defenseman Glen Wesley for the second-most games played in franchise history since relocation from Hartford in 1997. Staal, 34, trails only his brother Eric, who played 909 games for the Hurricanes from 2003-16.


    Hurricanes: Host the Rangers on Thursday night to finish the home-and-home set in the opener of a four-game homestand.

    Rangers: At Carolina on Thursday night to open a two-game trip.

    Ullmark’s 40 saves carries Bruins past Senators, 2-1

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    BOSTON – Linus Ullmark made 40 saves, Jake DeBrusk had the go-ahead goal and the NHL-best Boston Bruins continued their pursuit of the league’s record for regular-season victories with a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

    “I thought he was outstanding and he needed to be,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said of Ullmark. “Unfortunately we gave up a lot of good looks, a lot of odd-man rushes because of our puck management and he bailed us out like he has all year.”

    David Krejci added a power-play goal for Boston, which won its fourth straight.

    Dylan Gambrell scored for the Senators and Mads Sogaard made 33 stops.

    “We had a shooters’ mentality for two periods,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “The third period, they’ve won 54 games now, they’re not going to give you an odd-man rush, they’re not going to give you anything. You’re going to have to earn it.”

    The Bruins posted their 54th win and with 12 games left are on pace to break the mark of 62, set by the Detroit Red Wings in 1995-96 and matched by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2018-19.

    Chasing the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, Ottawa has lost six of seven following a season-high, five-game winning streak.

    Coming off a 3-2 road trip where they won the last three games by a combined score of 15-2 that included two shutouts by backup Jeremy Swayman, the Bruins converted on a two-man, power-play advantage to tie the game at 1 midway into the opening period when Krejci poked in a rebound from the edge of the crease.

    DeBrusk completed a nifty play with Brad Marchand when he collected a pass cutting down the slot at full speed, shifted and tucked a rebound past Sogaard at 15:52 of the first period for his 23rd goal.

    “It was ‘all world.’ I saw him and he fed it through a lot of guys for a breakaway,” DeBrusk said of the pass. “It was one of those passes where I didn’t know what to do. I was going to point at him (after) but I was going too fast.”

    Gambrell’s wraparound score gave Ottawa a 1-0 edge.

    “I thought I played a good game today,” Sogaard said. “I just battled and stayed with it the entire way. … These ones are tough because we were so close.”


    Ullmark stopped 22 shots in the second period with at least a dozen of them high-quality chances. During an Ottawa PP, he jumped from a crouch to make a right-shoulder stop on Alex DeBrincat’s bid from in close.

    “We talked about it,” defenseman Hampus Lindholm said of the second period. “We know we’re a good team in the third and wanted to tighten it up for him. … They got a lot of chances that were our own fault in the second.”


    The Bruins highlighted women who work and compete in the sports community, having Olympic gold medalist and Boston Pride defender Kali Flanagan accompany Bruins players during pregame walk-ins along with local high school scholastic award winners. In addition, in-arena host Michaela Johnson handled the PA for the night and they also left yellow roses at the seats of female reporters.

    NOTES: The Senators entered the game as the only team holding an advantage in their series against the Bruins this season, winning twice in three games. … Montgomery said after the morning skate that defenseman Derek Forbort would likely be sidelined with a lower-body injury at least through the rest of the regular season. … DeBrusk, playing on the top line most of the season, is four off his career-high goal total, set in 2018-19.


    Senators: Host Tampa Bay on Thursday.

    Bruins: Host longtime rival Montreal in an Original Six matchup Thursday.

    Boldy’s goal with 1.3 left in OT lifts Wild over Devils

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    NEWARK, N.J. – Matt Boldy scored with 1.3 seconds left in overtime and Filip Gustavsson made a career-high 47 saves to give the Minnesota Wild a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

    The game was a chippy, defensive struggle. After two scoreless periods, the Devils were outshooting the Wild 22-19.

    Minnesota finally broke through 6:41 into the third when Mason Shaw scored his seventh goal of the season on a wraparound.

    Timo Meier answered for the Devils five minutes later with his 35th goal of the season on a wraparound of his own.

    New Jersey was unable to convert on a late power play, and the teams went to overtime.

    It was a back-and-forth five minutes of extra hockey, with both goaltenders making good saves. After Jack Hughes hit the post for the Devils, the puck caromed off a post to Boldy and he beat the buzzer with his 23rd goal of the season.

    Vitek Vanecek stopped 27 shots for New Jersey.

    NOTES: The Devils are 10-4 in overtime, while the Wild improved to 4-5.


    Wild: Play at Philadelphia on Thursday night.

    Devils: Play at Buffalo on Friday night.

    Avalanche coach Jared Bednar signs extension through ’26-27

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    DENVER – Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar has signed a three-year extension that will keep him in charge of the reigning Stanley Cup champions through the 2026-27 season.

    The new deal for the winningest head coach in club history kicks in once the current contract runs out after the 2023-24 season.

    Bednar, 51, is the only person to win championships in the ECHL, AHL and NHL as head coach. He directed the Avalanche to their third Stanley Cup title in team history last season by beating Tampa Bay, the two-time defending champions.

    This season, the Avalanche have dealt with an array of injuries, which include missing captain Gabriel Landeskog all year after he underwent knee surgery in October. But they’re starting to creep closer to being healthy – and working their way up the standings. Colorado is riding a six-game winning streak to remain in a tight race with Dallas and Minnesota for the Central Division crown. The top spot in the Western Conference is in play, too.

    “Jared has done a tremendous job behind the bench and certainly deserves this extension and to continue as the leader of our team,” Joe Sakic, the team’s president of hockey operations, said in a statement.

    It wasn’t the prettiest of starts for Bednar in his inaugural season for Colorado. In 2016-17, his team amassed only 48 points (22-56-4) to finish last in the league. Since then, it’s been full steam ahead for Bednar and the Avalanche. They became the first NHL squad to go from worst to first in a span of four seasons or less since the 1970-71 Bruins, according to research by the team.

    In addition, Bednar has led the Avalanche to five straight playoff appearances – and is closing in on a sixth – to become the first Avalanche coach to accomplish the feat. His 40 postseason wins are the second-most in team history, trailing only Bob Hartley (49).

    “His strength as a communicator, his relationship with the players, the way he prepares each and every day is a huge reason our team has been so successful,” general manager Chris MacFarland said. “He is an exceptional leader.”

    Bednar is currently the third-longest tenured coach in the league, behind only Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper (March 2013) and Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan (December 2015).

    “Being able to lead this team over the last seven years has been a privilege,” said Bednar, whose team faces the Penguins on Wednesday. “I am grateful and excited to have the opportunity to continue building on what we’ve accomplished so far.”

    Bednar captured a Kelly Cup (ECHL) with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2009, along with a Calder Cup (AHL) with the Lake Erie Monsters in 2016.