The second week of the NHL season saw matchups heating up in the Canadian Division with a lot of close games and fun surrounding them. Here are the Week 2 Power Rankings:
1. Montreal Canadiens (4-0-2, 2-0-1) Last Ranking: #3
Upcoming Games: 01/28 vs CGY, 01/30 vs CGY, 02/01 vs VAN, 02/02 vs VAN
The Habs looked very good in two consecutive wins over the Canucks this week, scoring 17 goals in three games and have a whopping 29 total goals through six games this season. Tyler Toffoli was named the NHL’s first star of the week with five goals and eight points in four games. What’s even more impressive is that Montreal managed to pick up points in all six games while on the road to start the season and now return home for five straight at the Bell Centre.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-0, 3-1-0) Last Ranking: #1
Upcoming Games: 01/28 at EDM, 01/30 at EDM
The Leafs pulled off three straight wins to end the week, including a pair on the road in Calgary. Toronto is doing a good job this season of managing close games and pulling out tight victories, with four of six victories coming by just one goal, and the other two wins being sealed by empty netters. For a team that in the past struggled at times to close out victories, it has to be encouraging for Leafs fans to see them putting it together early this season. The only real question mark seems to be in net with Jack Campbell out for at least a few weeks. Frederik Andersen will need to shoulder the work load and keep playing solid hockey to keep the Leafs strong start going.
3. Winnipeg Jets (5-2-0, 3-1-0) Last Ranking: #4
Upcoming Games: 01/30 vs VAN, 02/01 vs CGY, 02/02 vs CGY
While the Jets had a very strong week in their actual games, most of their headlines were surrounding the blockbuster trade they made with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jets sent sniper and former 2nd overall pick Patrik Laine to the Jackets for former 3rd overall pick Pierre-Luc Dubois in a trade that got both players out of rough situations. While the Jets await Dubois’ arrival as he has to clear quarantine protocols, he should give them an elite center core to match any team in the league. In terms of their games, the Jets took advantage of a trio against Ottawa, and then split with Edmonton, with their only loss coming in the final second to steal at least a point from them.
4. Calgary Flames (2-2-1, 0-2-0) Last Week’s Ranking: #2
Upcoming Games: 01/28 at MTL, 01/30 at MTL, 02/01 at WPG, 02/02 at WPG
Despite losing both of their games this past week, the Flames still looked fairly strong in both games outside of a really bad period in the 2nd game. They were unfortunate to come away with zero points out of four and played well enough to have a chance in each game, but things just didn’t break there way. Regardless, the Flames now have a huge test heading on the road for five games, starting with two against the Canadiens and then three straight in Winnipeg. If the Flames can maintain their strong showings in parts of the games, they should be able to pull things back around, but a bad road trip could put them in a big hole early in the season.
5. Edmonton Oilers (3-5-0, 2-2-0) Last Week’s Ranking: #7
Upcoming Games: 01/28 vs TOR, 01/30 vs TOR, 01/31 vs OTT, 02/02 vs OTT
The Oilers continue to be a team that will only go as far as their two offensive superstars will take them. They managed to get two victories on their four game road trip in Toronto and Winnipeg but will need to figure out a way to manage their defensive problems to avoid having to score 4 goals a night to win. It simply isn’t sustainable in the NHL to have to win games that way. The Oilers have allowed three goals against in six of eight games this season which they’ll need to clean up.
6. Ottawa Senators (1-4-1, 0-3-0) Last Week’s Ranking: #5
Upcoming Games: 01/27 at VAN, 01/28 at VAN, 01/31 at EDM, 02/02 at EDM
Despite being outscored 17-5 over the last three games, the Senators seem to still be moving in kind of the expected direction. There were no secrets that this was going to be a bad team this season, but still their holes are pretty apparent. They are more than likely going to finish last in this division by a significant distance, but this year is about growing their young players and making decisions for the future.
7. Vancouver Canucks (3-5-0, 2-2-0) Last Week’s Ranking: #6
Upcoming games: 01/27 vs OTT, 01/28 vs OTT, 01/30 at WPG, 02/01 at MTL, 02/02 at MTL
Last week’s 2-2 record really doesn’t accurately describe the chaos that is surrounding the Canucks right now. Some may be surprised that I have them below Ottawa who they just beat 7-1 the other night, but for now I think it’s justified given all of the questions surrounding this team. Their stars have gotten off to slow starts to the season and more importantly they simply can not keep the puck out of their net. Their aforementioned victory was the first time in eight tries that they’ve kept their opponent under three goals in a game, and have allowed FIVE or more goals five times. That’s simply unacceptable. Luckily two more home games against Ottawa should allow them to pull their record to close to .500 to at least let them avoid falling in a deeper hole. They had better take advantage, because after these two games, they start a six game road trip with the Jets (x1), Habs (x2), and Leafs (x3).