1. Montreal Canadiens (7-1-2, 3-1-0) Last Week: #1
Upcoming Games: 02/04 vs OTT, 02/06 at OTT
Montreal continues to roll so far this season, save for their first regulation loss which came against the Flames despite being the better of the two teams on the ice. Montreal is already a whopping 4-0-1 against the Canucks on this young season and with two dates against the Senators up next, they shouldn’t have a problem further improving their record. While a hot start alone can’t guarantee you a playoff spot, the Habs are certainly in very good position ten games into this season.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs (7-2-1, 1-0-1) Last Week: #2
Upcoming Games: 02/04 vs VAN, 02/06 vs VAN, 02/08 vs VAN
The Maple Leafs continue to look impressive in this young season, holding 15 of a possible 20 points so far this year. They finished off an Alberta trip with an overtime loss in Edmonton but went 3-0-1 on the trip as a whole and now head home for seven of eight games in Scotiabank Arena. They’ll kick off the stretch with three against the struggling Vancouver Canucks which, like Montreal should give them a chance to further pull away from the middle of the divisional pack.
3. Edmonton Oilers (6-6-0, 3-1-0) Last Week: #5
Upcoming Games: 02/06 at CGY, 02/08 at OTT, 02/09 at OTT
While some may question why the Oilers have passed the Flames and the Jets, I have to give them the edge as their big scorers have been sensational over the last week or so, culminating in six and five point nights against Ottawa. Although two of their three wins came over the hapless Senators, the Oilers also did manage to defeat the Leafs and held their own in the other game. Things also seem to be starting to align lineup wise for them, the big question remains now if Mikko Koskinen can maintain a high level of play while also getting enough rest with Mike Smith still out long term.
4. Winnipeg Jets (6-3-1, 1-1-1) Last Week: #3
Upcoming Games: 02/04 vs CGY, 02/09 at CGY
The Jets have a nice quiet week coming up with just a pair of games against Calgary and a nice four day break in between. It was a pretty meh week overall for the Jets as they added one result to each of the three columns. They had a pretty uninspiring effort in a 4-1 loss to Vancouver but managed to pick up three of four points against the Flames in a pair of even games. At this point for Winnipeg it’s all about just staying above water until the arrival of Pierre-Luc Dubois who could help push them closer to the top of the division. The other question mark surrounding this team has been an uncharacteristically slow start for Connor Hellebuyck (by his standards) but he should be able to turn things around soon.
5. Calgary Flames (4-4-1, 2-2-0) Last Week: #4
Upcoming Games: 02/04 at WPG, 02/06 vs EDM, 02/09 vs WPG
The Flames continue to befuddle their fans as they have games and stretches in those games of dominant hockey followed by forgetting how to play the game entirely. If there is a positive early in the season it’s that Jacob Markstrom looks to be worth every penny they paid for him last offseason and that Chris Tanev also looks to be a very good acquisition. Calgary has also gotten a strong contribution from Johnny Gaudreau this year who’s riding an impressive nine game point streak. With the first battle of Alberta on the horizon (and first Blasty game) this Saturday, it should be an exciting weekend for Calgary.
6. Vancouver Canucks (6-7-0, 3-2-0) Last Week: #7
Upcoming Games: 02/04 at TOR, 02/06 at TOR, 02/08 at TOR
After a lot of early season defensive issues, it looked like the Canucks had finally started figuring things out by rattling off four consecutive wins, but it turns out that playing Ottawa three times at home significantly helps with that. While their win streak was impressive considering they outscored opponents by a combined 20-4 total, things looked more or less back to normal with two embarrassing losses to Tyler Toffoli and his Montreal Canadiens. With three road games coming up against the Maple Leafs, the Canucks may need a miracle to not fall to far below .500 on this trip. Following those games they have four straight against Calgary which should be a heated series.
7. Ottawa Senators (1-8-1, 0-4-0) Last Week: #6
Upcoming Games: 02/04 at MTL, 02/06 vs MTL, 02/08 vs EDM, 02/09 vs EDM
Okay, this team is BAD. At first I held out some hope with their regular win over Toronto in the season opener, but at this point it is just horrendous. Frankly they don’t even belong in the NHL right now. They have lost eight games in a row, seven in regulation, and 6/7 of those losses have been by an astounding 3+ goals (exception was last night with only 2 because of a garbage time goal). Folks they haven’t even been close. They carry a -24 goal differential already through just ten games, and with no real cupcakes besides them in the North Division, honestly it may be a stretch for them to get more than 10 wins this year. Get used to them in this spot because I don’t think they’re moving out of #7 any time soon. WOOF!