Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
There is a bit of a shakeup at the top of this week’s power rankings, and some problems at home are the only thing keeping the Colorado Avalanche out of the top spot this week. A four-win week has the Pittsburgh Penguins at number one, while a lot of your usual suspects make up the cream of the crop. Unfortunately for the Buffalo Sabres and their fans, the team can’t seem to buy a win and it’s only going to get colder in upstate New York. At least the Bills gave the Chiefs a fight this week. If they could only get Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller on skates…Here are the Week 6 Power Rankings:
30. Buffalo Sabres: 2-13-1 Losses to the Rangers and the Ducks this past week are moving this year’s Sabres towards the record book. Things don’t get easier with a west coast trip that sees the Sharks, Kings, and Ducks all in the same week.
29. Edmonton Oilers: 3-10-2 The first of the 3 win teams, Edmonton was embarrassed by new conference foe Detroit in their last outing. Jodan Eberle’s play has been one of the lone bright spots and with a visit to Florida this week, Edmonton can climb a few spots up these rankings.
28. Florida Panthers: 3-8-3 Can we say that they are the Edmonton Oilers of Florida? A lack of consistent offense has doomed this team from the start of the season. The goaltending has been solid but with Tim Thomas not at 100 percent, I can see this team losing to Edmonton and struggling to keep up with their offensive minded opponents this week.
27. New Jersey Devils: 3-6-4 It is always refreshing to see Jaromir Jagr playing at a high level. It makes me feel young again, and with my birthday coming up this week (No cards without any checks, please), sometimes you can use some nostalgia. However, Jagr is likely to break down at some point this season and these Devils will need more offense to support the fine defense they seem to bring every year.
26. Ottawa Senators: 4-6-4 The Sens seem to have a problem somewhat unique to the lower level teams in the league. They can score, as they have shown in their close games with the Islanders and Stars this week, but they can’t seem to keep anyone out of the slot area. One positive sign is the play of Erik Karlsson who is coming off a scary Achilles injury from last year. I see the Sens picking it up this week as Jason Spezza and his linemates get into a groove. (Craig Anderson getting hurt in last night’s loss doesn’t help the Sens cause either).
25. Philadelphia Flyers: 4-9-0 We can talk about the fight. We can talk about the absurdity that is Ray Emery. But I think when looking at this Flyer’s team, we may want to look at the marginal improvement over the last two weeks. A few wins over some good teams and a schedule with some potential W’s can get the monkey off their backs. The team also moved Maxime Talbot this week for veteran Steve Downie, who when healthy, is a great veteran presence on the ice for a team that can use some stability.
24. Carolina Hurricanes: 4-7-3 To me, they are very difficult to watch because not only do they struggle to score the puck, but when they do, it happens very slowly. The Hurricanes are below league average in almost every significant category and I have to admit that I will not be watching their match with the Islanders this week, even though I tend to watch the Isles regularly.
23. Winnipeg Jets: 5-8-2 I am happy that our boy Dustin Byfuglien is getting paid because he won’t be getting any playoff bonuses this year and probably next either. Similar to the Hurricanes, the Jets don’t seem to do anything particularly well, until they are a man down. At least they have really cool jerseys and a city that loves them.
22. Calgary Flames: 5-6-2 Not a banner year for Canada. Though they have a lot of talent, led by Jiri Hudler, the Flames can’t prevent losing streaks because of issues on the defensive end. Missing Mark Giardano for the next two months isn’t going to make thing easier.
21. Columbus Blue Jackets: 5-8-0 They are struggling as of late, but they have endured a really tough schedule. The goaltending is just too good for this team too struggle for long periods of time. Marion Gaborik has been a revelation and if he stays off the IR, the Blue Jackets should be making a push into the top half of the league by the all-star break. (P.S. Congrats on the 2015 game! Journalists all over the Hemisphere are looking forward to the exotic sights!)
20. Dallas Stars: 6-6-2 So far the Tyler Seguin trade has paid dividends for the Stars. This young team has beaten the teams they’ve needed to and have kept games close against some of the league’s best. Also, as the weeks go on, fewer players want to get in Antoine Roussel’s way. Put his name into YouTube and you will only get fights and hits from the 23 year-old.