This week saw the Senators actually be competitive, the Leafs be dominant and proved that the Jets and the Flames couldn’t be more equal, among other things. Let’s take a peak at where I rank the seven Canadian teams this week.
The Sen’s weren’t completely garbage this week for the first time in a couple, even beating the Habs. They were within a goal or two in all their games instead of being blown out like they had been previously. Matt Murray has been ridiculed by me to start the season for not playing like an NHL goalie but really stepped it up since last Wednesday. I don’t think that their fans expected them to win many games this year but I think they hope the team will at least be competitive like they have been recently. They stay in the basement this week but another week of battling and they could crawl out. I’ve also really liked how Tim Stutzle has played recently as well. He has been my favourite rookie in the league so far.
The Canucks have been bad, really bad. It seems like this team has no identity and certainly isn’t great in the defensive end. They were outscored 15-5 in their three games against the Leafs this week. Besides the Canucks power play they just really aren’t getting it done offensively. Quinn Hughes leads the team with 17 points but 9 of them are on the power play and he is a -13. Lots of work for the young man defensively still. I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel for this team and some management changes may need to happen sooner than later. If they continue this way they could find themselves dropping in my rankings.
This middle portion of the power rankings is so tough to rank, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg all have arguments for being five through three. All have issues and some upsides. I put Edmonton at five because they went 2-1 in the past week but it was two wins against Ottawa. They did win their first game since 2017 in which McDavid and Draisaitl didn’t record a point so that’s a positive. I still just think this team is on the outside looking in, in the North Division because of their poor defence and their inability to have much depth scoring. Mike Smith looked good in his first game back but I’m not ready to appoint him the saviour. I think these three teams will be battling for those final two spots all season long.
The Flames got better as the week went on, they had a great final 40 against Edmonton after a brutal first period and then played maybe their best 60 minutes of the season against Winnipeg to close off the week. This Calgary team should be one of the deepest forward groups in the North Division but some players hadn’t been pulling their weight until this past week. The newly minted 3rd line of Lucic, Backlund and Mangiapane has been great in their first two games together and overall the top three lines have now all been chipping in offensively. Lets see if the Flames can stay consistent throughout this week.
The Jets have their depth at centre now as Pierre-Luc Dubois has joined the team. He didn’t put up any points in the first game which is understandable after two weeks off but I still see him coming over as a huge positive for the Jets going forward. This team still lacks some defensive depth but their top three lines are so spread out offensively. I would be surprised if the Jets weren’t one of the four North Division playoff teams.
The Habs have had a great start to the season, they had a bit of a letdown game against the Sen’s which I mentioned might happen in my article last week and unfortunately for them it was enough for them to drop out of top spot. there isn’t a whole lot to talk about from the Habs from this week, their new guys are still scoring, their defence is still deep and their goaltending tandem is running nicely. It seems Jake Allen is even outplaying Carey Price a bit to start this season. A nice problem to have. They drop to two in my rankings but there isn’t much cause for alarm.
1.Toronto Maple Leafs 10-2-1 Overall (3-0-0 In The Last Week) (+1)
The Leafs are on a heater. 3-0 in the last week. Auston Matthews is on a tear with 11 goals already and the entire team just seems in a rhythm. The Leafs absolutely dismantled the Canucks all week and now a big test comes with back to back against the Habs. If they can pull both wins against Montreal they will be in a good spot at the top of the division as we near the quarter point of the season. They should be a couple great games.
A big week for all as the Sen’s look to gain some traction and the Canucks look for anything to go their way. The middle teams will continue to duke it out and the top two teams go head to head. It should be exciting! Thanks for reading!