SportsTips’ NHL Power Rankings 2021: Week 4

SportsTips’ NHL Power Rankings 2021: Week 4
Mon 8th February 2021

With four weeks done in the NHL season, it is time for the weekly power rankings to begin. With the pandemic limiting the number of games played by quite a few teams, simply looking at the record or number of points is not enough for our staff. Our rankings are based upon a number of factors, including recent level of play, injuries, and quality wins. 

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

Stanley Cup Odds: +700
Current Record: 7-1-1

Tampa Bay extended their winning streak to four straight games, allowing four total goals in three games last week. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been between the pipes for all nine games played by the team and has been fantastic with a 1.88 GAA.

The Lightning have a pair of games against Nashville to start the week, giving them every opportunity to extend their winning streak to six. They take on Florida later in the week, and we should know a little bit more about how good this team is after those three games.

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

Stanley Cup Odds: +900
Current Record: 9-2-1

Toronto has won their last two games and are 5-0-1 over the last six. They have dominated Vancouver this season and play the Canucks to start the week, but then have a home and home pair against Montréal starting on Wednesday.

The Maple Leafs are showing a lot of scoring touch with 45 goals, but have not sacrificed defense to get their offense going. Frederik Andersen has been spectacular in net for Toronto.

3. Vegas Golden Knights

Stanley Cup Odds: +725
Current Record: 7-1-1

Vegas has only played two games since January 26, both coming this past weekend against Los Angeles. The Golden Knights won both those games and are 3-0-1 over their last four contests. Mark Stone has been a playmaking machine for Vegas, recording 11 assists and 14 points.

The team should have a golden opportunity to extend their lead in the West Division as they have a pair of games against Anaheim before taking on San Jose on Saturday. The Golden Knights take on Colorado next Sunday in what could be a battle for the division lead.

4. Boston Bruins

Stanley Cup Odds: +1,200
Current Record: 8-1-2

Boston defeated Washington before sweeping a pair of games from Philadelphia. That gives them a three-game winning streak entering this week. The Bruins get the bottom feeders of the division, as they have two games coming up against the New York Rangers and a contest against the New York Islanders.

The Rangers have been red-hot, so this should be an interesting set of games. The good news for Boston is that Tuukka Rask has been looking like his old self. Not good news for either New York team.

5. Montreal Canadiens

Stanley Cup Odds: +1,200
Current Record: 8-2-2

Montréal has won three straight games, blowing out Vancouver on Monday and Tuesday before narrowly edging Ottawa on Saturday, 2-1. It should be a challenging week for the Canadiens, who welcome Toronto to town on Wednesday, then take on Edmonton on Thursday before traveling to take on the Maple Leafs on Saturday.

These should be high-scoring affairs and the three games in four days are going to tell us how good the goaltending combo of Jake Allen and Carey Price are. There should be plenty of goals for the Canadiens who are second in the division with 48 goals and lead the NHL with a +17 goal differential.

6. Colorado Avalanche

Stanley Cup Odds: +700
Current Record: 7-3-1

Colorado has won four games in a row and would likely be higher up in the rankings had it not been the fact that they had two postponements this past weekend and both of their games this week have already been postponed.

During the winning streak the Avalanche have allowed five total goals as Philip Grubauer has established himself as arguably the best goaltender in the league. The Avalanche are at a +14 goal differential and are tied for the West Division lead.

7. Philadelphia Flyers

Stanley Cup Odds: +1400
Current Record: 8-3-2

Philadelphia dropped both of their games to Boston before defeating Washington on Sunday, 7-4. That keeps the Flyers tied with Boston atop the East Division, although Boston has played two fewer games. Goal scoring has been outstanding in Philadelphia as they have 46 tallies but have given up 41.

Carter Hart needs to start stepping up to his No. 1 status. The Flyers have one more game with Washington before returning home for a pair of games against New Jersey. They then closed the week with a Sunday night game against the New York Rangers.

8. Florida Panthers

Stanley Cup Odds: +3,000
Current Record: 6-1-2

Florida does not have as many points as some of the teams behind them, but they also have played fewer games. The Panthers started the season with eight straight games where they had earned at least one point.

That streak ended on Sunday with the loss to Detroit. They have a rematch with the Red Wings on Tuesday before welcoming Tampa Bay for a pair of games. Chris Driedger has been solid in net for Florida.

9. Washington Capitals

Stanley Cup Odds: +1,600
Current Record: 6-3-3

Washington only played two games this week and was beaten badly in both of them, losing 5-3 to Boston on Monday, then losing 7-4 to Philadelphia on Sunday. They still stay high on the power rankings as they recorded points in each of their first seven games and are third in probably the toughest division in the NHL.

Clearly, goaltending needs to improve here as they are allowing nearly four goals per game. Washington has a rematch against Philadelphia on Tuesday before taking on Buffalo for two. They close the week with a game on the road in Pittsburgh. 

10. Dallas Stars

Stanley Cup Odds: +2,000
Current Record: 5-2-2

Dallas only went 1-0-1 last week, but their overtime loss came against a quickly improving Blackhawks team. Dallas is only sixth in their division which seems that their tenth place ranking is out of place, but with just nine games played and a +10 goal differential they have proven themselves to be an outstanding club.

Especially considering they are ranked in the top five in both goals scored and goals allowed. Dallas has a rematch with Chicago before taking on Carolina for two. Sunday’s overtime loss was the first of eight straight games at home, giving the Stars a golden opportunity to move up the standings.

11. Carolina Hurricanes

Stanley Cup Odds: +1,600
Current Record: 7-2-0

Carolina would have been third or fourth in these rankings, but the loss of star goaltender Petr Mrazek has been a disaster for the Hurricanes. Backup James Reimer has been abysmal as his replacement, winning both of his games but allowing eight total goals. That is a six-game span to Mrazek.

With the team’s top goaltender out indefinitely, Reimer is going to need to step up his game. The team has a game against Columbus on Monday before taking on Dallas for two games to close out the week.

12. Winnipeg Jets

Stanley Cup Odds: +2,800
Current Record: 7-3-1

Winnipeg split a pair of games with Calgary early last week, and will not take to the ice again until Tuesday, a span of six days off. They have two games against Ottawa at home to close out the week.

The Jets are currently third in the North Division, but their schedule gives them the opportunity for six points, maybe even putting them in first in the division. They have received quality goaltending out of Connor Hellebuyck. 

13. St. Louis Blues

Stanley Cup Odds: +1,600
Current Record: 7-4-1

St. Louis defeated Arizona to start the week, then lost to the Coyotes on Saturday. Their game against Colorado was postponed on Sunday. They already have a crazy week ahead, as they take on Arizona on Monday night, then have a postponement against Minnesota on Tuesday.

The teams are scheduled to play on Thursday with St. Louis then heading to Arizona to take on the Coyotes on Saturday. The loss to the Coyotes on Saturday snapped a three-game winning streak. The Blues are getting plenty of goal scoring, recording 40 through the first 12 games, but have allowed 39. That is going to need to improve greatly.

14. Minnesota Wild

Stanley Cup Odds: +5,000
Current Record: 6-5-0

Minnesota lost to Colorado on Tuesday, then had both of their games against the Coyotes postponed. Tuesday night’s game is postponed as well. The team is scheduled to take on St. Louis on Thursday and Los Angeles on Saturday.

Because of the postponements this team is likely to be a bit out of sync, putting them right in the middle of the pack in our rankings. The Wild have been stabilizing their lineup, sending a number of players to their AHL team, so we should see a more consistent performance out of the team over the next week.

15. Columbus Blue Jackets

Stanley Cup Odds: +5,000
Current Record: 5-5-3

Columbus lost both of their games during the week. What has to be the biggest concern for the Blue Jackets is that they allowed six goals in each of those contests. They have now lost three straight games.

Columbus has a rematch against Carolina on Monday before taking on Chicago for a pair later in the week. With the Hurricanes missing their All-Star goalie, the Blue Jackets have a chance to move up the standings with three opponents they should be able to defeat.

16. Chicago Blackhawks

Stanley Cup Odds: +12,500
Current Record: 5-4-4

Chicago lost to Carolina in a shootout on Tuesday, then defeated the Hurricanes on Thursday, 6-4, before defeating Dallas on Sunday in overtime, 2-1. That makes the Blackhawks 3-0-1 in their last four games.

With a rematch against Dallas on Tuesday and a pair of games against Columbus later in the week, Chicago looks like they are in position to start moving up the rankings. They are currently tied for second in the division. Goaltending looks like it has stabilized for the Blackhawks.

17. Anaheim Ducks

Stanley Cup Odds: +12,500
Current Record: 5-5-3

Anaheim had a solid week, going 2-0-1. They defeated Los Angeles on Tuesday before splitting a pair of shootout games with San Jose on Friday and Saturday. That helped to move Anaheim into fourth place in the West Division.

This team should be in the top third of this ranking, but they have been so abysmal at scoring goals that it is absurd. They have just 25 tallies in 13 games, the worst goals per game average in the NHL. Josh Gibson has looked excellent, but he needs some support for this offense.

18. New York Rangers

Stanley Cup Odds: +4,500
Current Record: 4-4-2

The surging New York Rangers earned victories over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals during the week. That helped to move the team to 3-0-1 over their last four games and they can earn at least one point in five straight games when they take on the Islanders on Wednesday.

However, things are going to get rough for them as they have a pair of games against Boston to close out the week. This is a big opportunity for the Rangers as they are in the middle of an eight-game homestand, and will need to earn some victories here to get into a playoff spot.

19. Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Odds: +2,800
Current Record: 6-7-0

Edmonton defeated Ottawa on Tuesday before losing to Calgary on Saturday. They take to the road for a pair of games against Ottawa on Monday and Tuesday before facing Montréal on Thursday.

Goal scoring has not been a challenge for Edmonton, thanks to the pair of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl who are 1 and 2 in scoring in the NHL. However, the team has given up 49 goals as Mikko Koskinen has started all but one game for the Oilers. It might be time for him to get a break because allowing nearly 4 goals per game is not going to do it.

20. Calgary Flames

Stanley Cup Odds: +3,300
Current Record: 5-5-1

Calgary is right behind Edmonton in the standings. They defeated Winnipeg to start the week, then lost a pair of games to the Jets before evening their week against Edmonton with a 6-4 victory. That made them 2-2-0.

The Flames will welcome Winnipeg on Tuesday night before traveling to Vancouver for a pair of games. Calgary has been a mediocre team to this point. They have not had any prolonged losing streaks or put together any substantial winning streak. They have just been average, relegating them to sixth in the division.

21. Arizona Coyotes

Stanley Cup Odds: +10,000
Current Record: 5-5-1

Arizona lost to St. Louis on Tuesday, then took a pair of games against the Blues on Thursday and Saturday. Their game against Minnesota on Sunday was postponed. The Coyotes will take on St. Louis on Monday night, then both of their games against Colorado were already postponed.

They return home on Saturday to take on St. Louis. That will be the starting of a 10 game homestand. The Coyotes are 3-1-0 over their last four games and are getting solid goaltending all of a sudden. They have allowed 13 goals over their last seven games thanks to the solid play of Darcy Kuemper.

22. Pittsburgh Penguins

Stanley Cup Odds: +2,200
Current Record: 5-5-1

Pittsburgh lost a pair of games this past week, falling to the Rangers on Monday, 3-1, before losing to the Islanders on Saturday, 4-3. The Penguins are currently in fourth in the East Division, but only have one game scheduled for this week.

With all four teams behind them tied with 10 points, Pittsburgh has just one opportunity to put any distance between themselves and those behind them. They face the Islanders on Thursday in New York. They do begin a four-game homestand on Sunday when they welcome the Washington Capitals.

23. New Jersey Devils

Stanley Cup Odds: +8,000
Current Record: 4-3-2

New Jersey played no games last week and has a pair against Philadelphia starting on Thursday. That will mean the Devils had 10 days off before finally taking to the ice.

It will be in the first game of a five-game road trip. New Jersey is tied with three other teams for fifth in the East Division. They are 2-1-1 on the road this season.

24. New York Islanders

Stanley Cup Odds: +3,300
Current Record: 4-4-2

The Islanders played just one game last week, defeating Pittsburgh on Saturday, 4-3. That snapped a five-game losing streak. Of concern for the Islanders has been that their goaltending has struggled over the last five games.

After yielding eight total goals through the first five games, they have allowed 19 over the last five and have not held an opponent under three goals in any of those contests. For a team that is averaging 2.3 goals per game, they cannot afford this kind of slumped from their netminders.

25. Vancouver Canucks

Stanley Cup Odds: +5,000
Current Record: 6-9-0

Vancouver had a very bad week, losing all four games they played. It is understandable that they would struggle considering they took on the top two teams in the North Division (Montréal and Toronto), but 23 goals allowed in four games is ridiculous.

They face Toronto again on Monday before welcoming Calgary for a pair of games. The Canucks are first in the NHL in goals scored with 49 but are last in goals allowed with 60. This is a no defense team, leaving their goaltenders to fend for themselves and it is not working.

26. Nashville Predators

Stanley Cup Odds: +4,500
Current Record: 5-6-0

Nashville lost to Tampa Bay to start the week, then defeated Florida in overtime before losing to the Panthers on Friday. They have a tough start to the week, beginning a four-game homestand with a pair of games against the Lightning before closing the week with a pair of games against Detroit.

They are currently four points behind second-place teams in the division, and a 2-1-1 week would do a lot toward getting them into a playoff spot. That is going to start with improved goaltending, as Pekka Rinne looks like he is finally returning to form.

27. Buffalo Sabres

Stanley Cup Odds: +7,000
Current Record: 4-4-2

Buffalo was off the entire week and will not play again until they take on the Washington Capitals on Thursday. This will be the first of two games at home. It means the Sabres will have 10 days off before taking to the ice again.

They are tied for fifth place, but are not going to be able to do much to separate themselves from their division rivals with just two games on the schedule. Both games are at home where Buffalo is 2-3-1 this season.

28. San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup Odds: +10,000
Current Record: 4-5-1

San Jose split a pair of games with Anaheim over the weekend. That keeps them in seventh place in the division. San Jose has been struggling because of inadequate goaltending, allowing 37 goals and 10 games.

No. 1 netminder Martin Jones has struggled and he has received very little support as the team has just 28 goals this year. The Sharks have two games against Los Angeles then travel home on Saturday to play their first home game of the season, taking on Vegas.

29. Los Angeles Kings

Stanley Cup Odds: +10,000
Current Record: 3-6-2

Los Angeles has lost four games in a row. That included three losses last week, losing to Anaheim 3-1 on Tuesday, then falling to Vegas on Friday 5-2 before losing to Vegas again on Sunday, 4-3.

Jonathan Quick was looking like he had himself back on track, but got hammered this week, even removed on Friday after giving up four goals on just 10 shots. The Kings are in last place in the West and look like they will be staying there.

30. Detroit Red Wings

Stanley Cup Odds: +30,000
Current Record: 3-8-2

Detroit lost two games to Tampa Bay early in the week, but pulled off a 4-1 victory over Florida on Sunday. That made the Red Wings the first team to defeat Florida in regulation for the season. The Red Wings are last in the Central, and are going to stay there unless they make some dramatic improvements.

They have scored 26 goals and 13 games, the second worst goals per game average. They have also given up 44 goals and their -18 goal differential is second worst in the NHL. Detroit has a chance to make some noise this week as they take on Florida on Tuesday before facing Nashville for a pair.

31. Ottawa Senators

Stanley Cup Odds: +20,000
Current Record: 2-9-1

Ottawa lost to Edmonton on Tuesday before pulling off a mild upset on Thursday, defeating Montréal, 3-2. They lost to the Canadiens on Saturday, 2-1.

Ottawa is last in the North, but the three goals allowed in the final two contests of last week have to have the Senators feeling a little more confident. They had allowed 49 goals through the first 10 games and have still allowed 52 overall. Goal scoring has been a challenge as they have netted just 28.

*Odds correct at time of writing.

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