It was really hard to rank some teams this week in the North Division especially in the bottom three spots. I could see arguments for all three non-playoff spot teams right now to be in the bottom. I think I’ve got it right, let’s take a look.
I thought the Canucks might have caught some momentum when beating the Jets 4-0 this past week but that quickly was dashed with a poor showing in a 5-2 loss the next game out. Vancouver just doesn’t seem like a very good hockey team this year and it is clear that they didn’t replace any of their players that left with viable options because there hasn’t been much from this team this year besides some flashes from the top line and a couple good games from Thatcher Demko. It seems like this will continue to be a long season for the Canucks.
The Flames had one pretty good effort in the last week but again their effort level did not transfer into the next game. They battled hard against the leafs but without David Rittich they don’t get to overtime in that second game. The effort is the biggest issue with this team as it seems like too often a large portion of the Flames take the night off. I’m not sure what they have to do but something needs to change quickly if they have any shot of making the playoffs.
One team that does not lack effort is the Ottawa Senators. This time grinds and shows up almost every night. They have become extremely tough to play against no matter their opponent. These young kids are figuring it out especially Drake Batherson and Tim Stutzle, they have been so good lately. If they can continue to get decent goaltending I could see the Sen’s escaping the basement in the North Division by season’s end.
I haven’t hated the effort from the Habs lately but the results are not there. Their scoring has dried up and they can’t buy a win once it gets to extra time. Carey Price has been shaky at best although he looked much better on Tuesday. We should see whatever systems the new coach is implementing start to take form more over this week as the team gets more and more comfortable. A huge two-game set with the Jets awaits Montreal to kick off this week. They will need to grab a few points from these next two games.
The Oilers started the week nicely against the Canucks but haven’t scored since. Toronto thoroughly dominated Edmonton in their last two games and the Oilers will try to bounce back tonight in their final game of the three-game set against the Leafs. It’s not often McDavid and Draisaitl get completely shut down for two straight games so I would look for a bounce back from the pair tonight. Edmonton cannot be satisfied with how they have played lately and need to continue to push because Winnipeg is playing well and Montreal has three games in hand.
The Jets have looked really good lately and are very tough to play against. Their forward groups have so much skill and come at the opposition in waves. The defense is still playing well and of course, they are solid in goal. I’m not sure what more to say about this Winnipeg team except watch out for them the rest of the way. They are very fun to watch and can score in bunches.
1.Toronto Maple Leafs: 17-4-2 Overall (3-0-0 In The Last Week) (–)
Toronto remains steady despite losing some big-name players for a couple of games throughout the season. They haven’t really been fully healthy much this year but continue to dominate night in and night out. Toronto doesn’t have much in the way of flaws. Their defense is solidified and they are still extremely dangerous offensively. It’s going to take a gigantic effort from someone to knock Toronto off the top of my power rankings.
In the end, I feel like no movement in the bottom was the right choice. Neither Calgary or Vancouver did enough to move up and I’m not ready to put a team that, in the standings, is in last place into the top four. Thanks for reading!