March 27, 2023
Oilers push into top 5 in NHL power rankings

Oilers push into top 5 in NHL power rankings

By Sportlogiq staff (@Sportlogiq)

It’s a Halloween edition of our Power Rankings, and the Boston Bruins have tricked anyone who thought injuries would slow this team down from the start of the season.

The Bruins have won eight of nine games, with David Pastrnak taking the lead and scoring 17 points – only second to Connor McDavid in the points race. Boston’s plus-18 goal difference is the best in the league.

After rolling over October, the Bruins will be tested in early November, with their first five games going against the Penguins, Rangers, Maple Leafs, Blues and Flames.

Our top-ranked Canadian team, the Edmonton Oilers, check in fourth overall. The Oilers have had a perfect week of victories over the Penguins, Blues, Blackhawks and Flames. McDavid is averaging a goal per game and two points per game as the Oilers captain continues to raise the bar he’s set for himself.

Edmonton ranks second in goals, goals expected, and power play percentage as offense guided the team to a 6-3-0 record early in the season.

Our prediction model continues to like what the Ottawa Senators are doing, placing them seventh on our list despite their record .500.

The Sens are 22nd in points, although they rank 10th in goal and expected goals. Ottawa started last week with a win over the Dallas Stars before losing games to the Wild and Panthers. This Senators team showed they can fill the net by finishing third in goals per game. Keeping the puck out of the net will be the next step for the Sens to move up the standings.

The Calgary Flames also crack the top 10, taking ninth place on our list. The 5-2-0 Flames have had a quiet week, playing just two games. Calgary defeated the Penguins 4-1 before losing the final Battle of Alberta 3-2 on Saturday night.

Despite ranking 10th overall in goals per game, the Flames’ offense ranks 26th in goals expected. Calgary has taken a high-volume, low-quality approach to goals so far this season, ranking in the top five in shot attempts and shots at net while ranking 25th in net front and inside slot shots. If there’s a step backwards on offense, we could see Calgary slip up a bit, but other than that, the Flames look like they should be a top-10 team going forward.

The Winnipeg Jets are 11th in percentage points and 16th on our list. Winnipeg has had a 3-0-1 week with victories over the Blues, Kings and Coyotes. The Jets sit in the middle on goal difference and expected goal difference.

Winnipeg was lucky to leave Vegas with a point as Connor Hellebuyck was the main reason the Jets made it to overtime against the Golden Knights. Hellebuyck was brilliant in the 2-1 loss as Vegas shot Winnipeg out of the slot 48-24 22-7. The Jets play just five games over the next 17 days, starting with a home game against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have lost four straight games and sit 23rd in our rankings. The Leafs will be happy to head home after ending their Western Conference road trip with losses in San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Turnovers hurt the Leafs in their last two games as Toronto fell back to 4-4-2 in the season. The Maple Leafs are unusually 27th in goals per game, although they’re creating chances at a rate that should see them fill the net more than they did. Toronto ranks 11th in terms of expected goal difference, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the team achieves better results. But critical mistakes at crucial moments continue to cost the team points in the overall standings.

Checking in at #25 on our list is the Montreal Canadiens. The 5-4-0 Habs got off to a better start than many had predicted, but the underlying numbers aren’t pretty.

Despite being 12th in goals conceded, the Canadians are last in expected goals conceded. That tells us two things. First, the Canadians bleed chances. Second, the goalkeeping performance was great. It will be difficult for Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault to continue to play at the level they are, and if there is a slump, the Habs will struggle to continue winning as often as they lose.

The worst appears to be over for the Vancouver Canucks after a disastrous 0-5-2 start to the season. The Canucks have two straight wins and will play their next three games at home this week against the Devils, Ducks and Predators.

The offense has clicked in back-to-back victories over the Kraken and the Penguins as the Canucks have scored five goals in each game. Elias Pettersson is the only Canuck to average a point per game this season. Thatcher Demko has yet to find his form this season and if he can, the Canucks should be able to retire to a .500 record before long.

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