NHL Power Rankings: Pastrnak’s return helps Bruins climb to top spot

There is a new team at the top of this week’s NHL Power Rankings as the Bruins, powered by the return of David Pastrnak, climb to the top.

Our previous NHL Power Rankings No. 1, Montreal, has continued its winning ways but had its hands full over the weekend with Ottawa, which knocks it down a couple of spots as Boston, Tampa Bay, and Toronto continue to impress.

The Panthers also crack the top-10 for the first time, while the Canucks continue their roller coaster season and drop significantly after a very tough week defensively.

We look at all of that and more.

Where does your team sit this week?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Boston Bruins. They were already winning games, and then David Pastrnak came back and started scoring goals. A ton of them. What an in-season addition that is.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning. Even when you take away one of the best offensive players in hockey (Nikita Kucherov) this team is still too much for everybody else. There is no weakness on the roster.

3. Toronto Maple Leafs. I do not think Auston Matthews is going to score 50 goals in 56 games, but he is going to make it interesting.

4. Montreal Canadiens. Signing Josh Anderson to a seven-year contract after an injury-shortened season where he scored one goal in 26 games looked seriously risky. And it still is. But so far he has eight goals in 12 games. Not a bad start.

5. Carolina Hurricanes. Andrei Svechnikov is in the process of his major breakout season as most of us expected him to be, but do not overlook the performance of last year’s big trade deadline acquisition, Vincent Trocheck.

6. Colorado Avalanche. Injuries are mounting and they are one of the teams dealing with COVID at the moment, but when they do play they look really good.

7. Vegas Golden Knights. Mark Stone is on pace for nearly 90 points in a 56-game season. He is tremendous.

8. Florida Panthers. They finally lost a game in regulation … to Detroit?! Still no idea what to make of this team, but they have mostly beaten the teams they are supposed to beat.

9. Washington Capitals. They drop down from the second spot a week. Their lineup is decimated at the moment due to injuries.

[Roundtable: Early season surprises and disappointments]

10. St. Louis Blues. No Robert Thomas for the next four-to-six weeks is going to be tough.

11. Philadelphia Flyers. They are getting points, and that is going to help them in the long run. But the defensive play and goaltending is going to have to get better. Offense and a sky-high shooting percentage are carrying them.

12. Winnipeg Jets. Little surprising they have been as good as they have been while only getting one game out of Patrik Laine (before trading him) and Connor Hellebuyck only being “good” instead of “great.”

13. Dallas Stars. They have cooled off a bit after that four-game winning streak to open the season by losing four of the next five games.

14. Calgary Flames. The best news for the Flames this season: Johnny Gaudreau looks awesome.

15. New York Rangers. They start the week on a four-game point streak with back-to-back impressive wins over Pittsburgh and Washington.

16. Arizona Coyotes. Give them credit, they are hanging around without their best defensemen (Oliver Ekman-Larsson) and Darcy Kuemper not yet finding his rhythm.

17. Minnesota Wild. We have not seem them for more than a week, but when we did see them the only thing you could really say about them is they have been consistently inconsistent.

18. Columbus Blue Jackets. It has only been three games but you can already see the potential that Laine brings to this lineup.

[MORE: Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

19. Chicago Blackhawks. After starting the season with four consecutive ugly losses they are have 14 out of the next 20 points in the standings. The key: Kevin Lankinen in goal. Bet you did not see that one coming. 

20. Pittsburgh Penguins. Sloppy defense and lousy goaltending is going to result in too many losses in the standings.

21. Edmonton Oilers. If they miss the playoffs in this division, with these performances from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, that would be a great big yikes.

22. New York Islanders. They finally snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday night, but this team is still a long way from where it wants to be.

23. New Jersey Devils. Hard to judge a team you have not seen play in more than a week.

24. Buffalo Sabres. Again, hard to judge a team you have not seen play in more than a week.

25. Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks best chance to compete this season is if they get great goaltending. It has been very good and kept a bad offense in a lot of games.

26. Nashville Predators. Really hard to see where the offense is going to come from here.

27. San Jose Sharks. Their week saw them get humiliated by Colorado and then struggle against a mediocre Ducks team.

28. Vancouver Canucks. This might be the worst defense in the NHL outside of Ottawa.

29. Los Angeles Kings. Anze Kopitar still has it. The rest of the team right now, not so much.

30. Detroit Red Wings. Sunday’s win against Florida snapped an eight-game losing streak. Going to be another long year.

31. Ottawa Senators. A positive season in Ottawa is seeing meaningful progress from young players. Even when they lose games. Which they will. Very often.

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.

    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.”

    MILESTONE

    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.

    UP NEXT

    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.

    “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.”

    HEAVY WORKLOAD

    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.”

    WOMEN IN SPORTS NIGHT

    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.

    UP NEXT

    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.

    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.

    UP NEXT

    Wild: Play at Philadelphia on Thursday night.

    Devils: Play at Buffalo on Friday night.

    Avalanche coach Jared Bednar signs extension through 2026-27

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    DENVER – Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar 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.