Analysis

NHL Power Rankings: Eastern Conference Taking Control

By Colin Likas
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate an empty net goal by center Derek Stepan (middle) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate an empty net goal by center Derek Stepan (middle) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 21, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson (13) celebrates scoring the game tying goal with center Sam Gagner (89) in the third period at Nationwide Arena. The Avalanche won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson (13) celebrates scoring the game tying goal with center Sam Gagner (89) in the third period at Nationwide Arena. The Avalanche won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 9: Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous: 17th

Season record: 10-4-3

The plus-16 goal differential is obviously skewed by the 10-goal affair against Montreal, but this team is still proving to be a really exciting one. Which is surprising, considering its coach is at least marginally insane.

But John Tortorella’s latest group is indeed succeeding, even if he doesn’t know what to do with the team’s best player in Brandon Saad. Seven Jackets have 10 or more points, led by Nick Foligno’s cool 18. Youngsters Alexander Wennberg (17) and Zach Werenski (15) are also impressing.

Sergei Bobrovsky is also finding his pre-injury form with a nice .931/2.19 slashline. A major issue for recent Jackets teams was Bobrovsky being unable to stay healthy. If the opposite holds true this season, Columbus could be a team to fear. (Also, if Tortorella doesn’t meddle too much).

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