Thanks to some losses for the team’s at the top, things are getting really tight in the Canadian Divison as all teams have now passed the 1⁄4 mark of their season. As expected it looks like it’ll be a slog all season long to either gain ground or make up ground on rivals, but right now with just three points separating 2nd and 5th, it’s anybody’s guess. Here are the power rankings for the most recent week of the season!
1. Toronto Maple Leafs (11-3-2, 1-1-1) Last Week: #1
Upcoming Games: 02/17 vs OTT, 02/18 vs OTT, 02/20 at MTL, 02/22 vs CGY
Despite a pretty underwhelming week for the Leafs, along with a ridiculously embarrassing loss to Ottawa, Toronto maintains their #1 position for now as teams below them haven’t really pushed yet. For the most part the Leafs have played steady hockey this year and coasted to the top spot in the division, but if they aren’t able to take advantage of a couple home games against Ottawa, they risk falling back to the pack.
2. Montreal Canadiens (9-4-2, 1-2-0) Last Week: #2
Upcoming Games: 02/20 vs TOR, 02/21 at OTT, 02/23 at OTT
The Canadiens were able to avoid an 0-3 week with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory in Toronto on Saturday. They have been off since as they get an odd week long break during the season to gather themselves after losing three of their last five games with all three losses coming at home. Montreal also has just eight goals in those five games as they can’t seem to score unless they’re playing the Canucks. Again they stay at #2 because the #3 through #5 teams haven’t quite inspired enough confidence to push them down, but another poor week and they’ll be back in the middle.
3. Calgary Flames (8-6-1, 2-1-0) Last Week: #4
Upcoming Games: 02/17 vs VAN, 02/19 vs EDM, 02/20 at EDM, 02/22 at TOR
Aside from a pretty ugly loss on Saturday, the Flames took care of business against the Canucks this week, winning two of three meetings in Vancouver. Both teams head to Calgary now with the Flames having a great chance to really push the Canucks out of the conversation on home ice. Following that game the Flames will have their hands full with a Battle of Alberta home and home, followed by a five game road trip out east.
4. Winnipeg Jets (9-5-1, 2-1-0) Last Week: #3
Upcoming Games: 02/17 at EDM, 02/19 at VAN, 02/21 at VAN
All things considered it was a decent week for the Jets, but a home ice loss to Ottawa will be a result they likely look back on as a missed opportunity. The biggest reason though that I have the Jets falling a spot is that they officially put Pierre Luc Dubois on injured reserve today which significantly hurts their roster strength. They still have a good team without him, but at some point losing Laine and having his replacement injured may catch up with them.
5. Edmonton Oilers (9-8-0, 1-1-0) Last Week: #5
Upcoming Games: 02/17 vs WPG, 02/19 at CGY, 02/20 vs CGY, 02/23 at VAN
The Oilers remain decidedly mediocre after 1-1 week last week. Things kicked off with an impressive 3-0 shutout victory in Montreal where they looked like a sound hockey team, but closed out with an uninspiring 6-5 loss at home to Winnipeg where Mike Smith got pulled and they were down most of the game. In my opinion there’s still too many questions around this team to move them up, but they do have a chance to answer some of those this week against Calgary.
6. Ottawa Senators (4-12-1, 2-1-0) Last Week: #7
Upcoming Games: 02/17 at TOR, 02/18 at TOR, 02/21 vs MTL, 02/23 vs MTL
I know some might question having the Senators up ahead of the Canucks but for now I have to say it looks like the Senators are starting to figure things out a bit. Even if the results haven’t always been there, they are at least competing in almost every game in February compared to January where they six games by 3+ goals. They have a pair of wins over the Leafs including the crazy comeback the other night, and seem to be gelling with new acquisitions like Evgeni Dadonov figuring things out.
7. Vancouver Canucks (7-11-1, 1-1-1) Last Week: #6
Upcoming Games: 02/17 at CGY, 02/19 vs WPG, 02/21 vs WPG, 02/23 vs EDM
While the Canucks finally snapped their ugly losing streak on Saturday, they still haven’t been able to turn things around much despite playing better hockey overall. For me this next stretch of seven games (WPG x4, EDM x2, CGY x1) has to be the Canucks last chance to really get back into the conversation at all. Despite having played 2-4 more games than each of those teams, they are 2-4 points behind all of them. Anything less than ~5 wins over this stretch might be enough to do in their season as they’ll almost be at the halfway mark by the end.