All posts by theScore Staff

NHL Power Rankings: Jets soar past Lightning for top spot

theScore's NHL Power Rankings are published every other Monday. Our fifth installment is put together by editors Josh Wegman, Josh Gold-Smith, Flip Livingstone, and Cory Wilkins.

1. Winnipeg Jets (17-6-4) ▲

Previously 3rd

With a decisive 5-0 win over the Senators Sunday night, the Jets tied the Lightning for the most points in the league, but became the first team to surpass them in theScore's power rankings. They've received stellar goaltending, the defense has stayed healthy, and the offense is firing on all cylinders. It has all come together for the Jets. - Wegman

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (18-6-2) ▼

Previously 1st

A 3-4 record in their last seven games saw the Lightning fall out of the top spot in the NHL standings, and more importantly, theScore's power rankings. No need to worry, Bolts fans, as the club has seemingly already guaranteed themselves home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs in a weak Atlantic Division. - Wegman

3. Nashville Predators (16-7-3) ▲

Previously 4th

The Predators are 9-2-1 since the Kyle Turris-Matt Duchene three-way trade. Their new center has racked up eight points in the 11 games he's played. - Wegman

4. Los Angeles Kings (17-8-3) ▲

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Previously 10th

The Kings are proving to be one of the league's streakiest teams. After a blazing hot start, they lost seven of eight games, but have since bounced back by winning five in a row, including four straight on their most recent road trip. - Wegman

5. Toronto Maple Leafs (17-10-1) ▼

Previously 2nd

The Maple Leafs's potent offense is usually what drives the team, but Frederik Andersen with his 2.14 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in the month of November has helped the Buds remain in the top five. - Wegman

6. New York Islanders (15-8-2)

Previously 6th

At 3.72 goals per game, the Islanders boast the league's best offense. However, they'll need to find consistency in the crease if they're ever to be considered a true contender. - Wegman

7. Columbus Blue Jackets (17-9-1)

Previously 7th

The Blue Jackets sit atop the Metro Division, but it's worth noting that eight of their 17 wins have come in overtime or shootout. While grabbing the additional point in the extra frame is crucial, they'll have to start closing teams out in regulation to move up. - Wegman

8. St. Louis Blues (17-8-2) ▼

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Previously 5th

The Blues are losers of three straight, moving them slightly down this list. With Jay Bouwmeester and Patrik Berglund both making their season debuts in the last six games, they should be trending upwards in no time. - Wegman

9. San Jose Sharks (14-9-2) ▲

Previously 15th

The Sharks shut out the Jets a couple of Saturdays ago, and lost narrowly to the Ducks and Golden Knights. Throw in an overtime win over the Coyotes on Sunday, and perhaps reports of their demise were premature. - Gold-Smith

10. Washington Capitals (15-11-1) ▲

Previously 18th

Back-to-back victories over the high-flying Lightning and Leafs earned the Capitals some major credit, as did a win over the Blue Jackets Saturday. Washington could be on the verge of hitting its stride. - Gold-Smith

11. Pittsburgh Penguins (15-10-3) ▲

Previously 13th

Tristan Jarry has played well in relief of the injured Matt Murray, but he's only faced the struggling Sabres and the floundering Flyers since the Penguins' unquestioned starter got hurt. Let's see how he does against the Rangers, Islanders, and Leafs this week. - Gold-Smith

12. Dallas Stars (16-10-1) ▲

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Previously 19th

Sweeping a home-and-home with the Blackhawks was a big statement for the Stars, who are beginning to look like the team many thought they'd be after making several significant offseason additions. - Gold-Smith

13. Boston Bruins (12-8-4) ▲

Previously 22nd

Tuukka Rask is back, and not a moment too soon for the Bruins, despite Anton Khudobin's strong play in his absence.

Rask has won two of three contests since returning, including a shutout of the Flyers Saturday afternoon, and while he hasn't been this good all season, he does make Boston better when he's healthy. - Gold-Smith

14. New York Rangers (14-10-2) ▲

Previously 20th

The Blueshirts have reeled off four wins in the five games since our last edition of the rankings, and five victories in their last six contests overall. Are they turning the corner? - Gold-Smith

15. Vegas Golden Knights (16-9-1) ▼

Previously 8th

Three straight losses before Sunday's 3-2 overtime win over Arizona suggest reality might be starting to set in for the Golden Knights. - Gold-Smith

16. New Jersey Devils (15-7-4) ▼

Previously 9th

The Devils are 4-2-1 since our last edition, and six of those seven games were decided by one-goal margins, but New Jersey was dismantled 5-0 by the lowly Coyotes Saturday night, and that just can't be ignored. - Gold-Smith

17. Calgary Flames (14-11-1) ▼

Previously 11th

Just when you thought the Flames were starting to figure it out, they allow the offensively challenged Oilers to hang a seven-spot on them. Calgary needs to win with more consistency to be considered a real Cup threat. - Livingstone

18. Montreal Canadiens (13-12-3) ▲

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Previously 29th

Don't look now, but the Canadiens are racking up Ws. Carey Price is up to his usual tricks, the team is scoring goals in bunches, and general manager Marc Bergevin is temporarily fending off calls for his job. - Livingstone

19. Chicago Blackhawks (12-10-5) ▼

Previously 12th

Corey Crawford going down with injury is the salt in the wound for a Blackhawks team looking like a shell of its former self. Patty Kane and Captain Serious can only carry a team so far on their own. - Livingstone

20. Minnesota Wild (13-10-3) ▼

Previously 17th

Two ugly losses followed by two big wins seems fitting for a Wild club struggling to string victories together. Allowing 26 goals over their last seven contests is also not a good look. - Livingstone

21. Vancouver Canucks (13-10-4) ▲

Previously 26th

We admit it, the Canucks are a lot better than we expected, as young guns Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat are making Vancouver a tough team to play against up front. A big home win Saturday over the Maple Leafs sees the Canucks on the come up. - Livingstone

22. Edmonton Oilers (11-14-2) ▲

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Previously 28th

A lot of Stanley Cup predictions have already been thrown out the window thanks to a shockingly bad start by the Oilers. Victories in three of their last four contests finally have Edmonton trending in the right direction, though. - Livingstone

23. Anaheim Ducks (11-11-5) ▼

Previously 16th

The Ducks have lost six of their last 10 games and continue to be plagued by injuries to key players. Thursday's band-aid acquisition of Adam Henrique should help in the short term, but Anaheim will need to get healthy, and quickly, if they want to hang with the big boys in the West. - Livingstone

24. Colorado Avalanche (12-11-2) ▼

Previously 23rd

Huge props due if you were one of the (very) few who expected the Avalanche to take a step forward this year, as Colorado finds itself a .500 club. But, after last year's dumpster fire of a season, there really was no way but up. - Livingstone

25. Ottawa Senators (9-10-6) ▼

Previously 21st

It's still early, but the Senators don't look like the same team since the big trade to bring in center Matt Duchene from the Avalanche, having won just three of nine games. - Wilkins

26. Arizona Coyotes (7-18-5) ▲

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Previously 30th

The Coyotes continue to find positives after a slow start to the season. The recent stretch saw new netminder Scott Wedgewood post a shutout against his former club, the Devils. - Wilkins

27. Carolina Hurricanes (11-9-5) ▼

Previously 24th

More was expected from the Hurricanes this season, but the team hasn't made much progress in recent weeks, winning just two of their last five. - Wilkins

28. Florida Panthers (10-13-3) ▼

Previously 25th

While goaltender Roberto Luongo has been impressive - he owns a .928 save percentage on the season - the Panthers have been limited by their inability to find offense. - Wilkins

29. Detroit Red Wings (10-12-5) ▼

Previously 14th

The Red Wings were on the wrong side of an ugly 10-1 score against the Canadiens, marking the team's seventh-straight game without a win. - Wilkins

30. Philadelphia Flyers (8-11-7) ▼

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Previously 27th

The temperature continues to be turned up on coach Dave Hakstol, as the Flyers are winless in 10, picking up just five loser points in the process. - Wilkins

31. Buffalo Sabres (6-17-4)

Previously 31st

Shut out three straight times and then mustering just one goal in their fourth outing, the Sabres are a better team on paper than they are on the ice. - Wilkins

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NHL Player Power Rankings: Gaudreau outshines Lightning stars

In the second running of theScore's NHL Player Power Rankings, editors Sean O'Leary, Craig Hagerman, and Ian McLaren order the top players from around the league this season - with extra consideration given to their performances this month - and there are plenty of new faces this time around.

10. Auston Matthews

Previously 5th

GP G A P P/PG 5-on-5 CF%
21 12 11 23 1.10 53.12

An unknown upper-body injury sidelined Matthews for four games this month, but the Toronto Maple Leafs star made his presence felt immediately upon his return, burying two goals in his first game back.

Despite missing action for the first time in his young career, Matthews remains highly productive as the heartbeat of one of the league's most exciting teams. -O'Leary

9. Taylor Hall

Previously unranked

GP G A P P/PG 5-on-5 CF%
23 8 18 26 1.13 49.69

The New Jersey Devils are still in the thick of the Metropolitan Division race, and Hall is a huge reason why.

The 26-year-old is on pace for the best campaign of his career, and has developed nice chemistry with rookie Nico Hischier on the Devils' top line. It's refreshing to see Hall healthy and playing up to his full potential again. -O'Leary

8. Phil Kessel

Previously unranked

(Photo Courtesy: Getty Images)

GP G A P P/PG 5-on-5 CF%
25 11 20 31 1.24 50

It's almost crazy to say, but where would the Pittsburgh Penguins be without Kessel right now?

With Sidney Crosby playing well below his usual standards and Evgeni Malkin injured, Kessel has easily been the best player for the back-to-back champs this season. He sits nine points clear of the captain for the team lead in scoring, and is fifth overall in the league. Phil forever. - O'Leary

7. Connor McDavid

Previously 4th

GP G A P P/PG 5-on-5 CF%
23 10 18 28 1.22 55.74

Poor Connor - the NHL's most exciting player is on pace for another 100-point season, but all anyone can talk about is how awful the rest of his team is.

In fairness, the Oilers have been pretty terrible, but McDavid can't do it all by himself, and his talent shouldn't be discredited by a failing supporting cast. - O'Leary

6. Sergei Bobrovsky

Previously 10th

GP SV% GAA W SO SA SV
19 .936 1.86 14 3 574 537

Bobrovsky continues to make a strong case for his second straight Vezina Trophy.

He's gone 7-2-1 during the month of November and has helped the Columbus Blue Jackets move to within a point of the Devils for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Plus, he's made some downright unbelievable stops along the way. - Hagerman

5. William Karlsson

Previously unranked

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

GP G A P P/PG 5-on-5 CF%
22 13 9 22 1.00 52.27

No one scored more goals this month than Karlsson.

Through his team's 11 games, he found the back of the net 10 times and chipped in with another five helpers. He's currently riding a five-game goal-scoring streak that's seen him light the lamp seven times.

Karlsson's success on the Vegas strip likely also has the Blue Jackets' front office kicking itself right about now. - Hagerman

4. Brayden Schenn

Previously unranked

GP G A P P/PG 5-on-5 CF%
24 10 20 30 1.25 57.08

Next to the red-hot trio in Tampa Bay, the threesome of Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Jaden Schwartz in St. Louis has been the league's most lethal.

Leading the pack has surprisingly been Schenn, who's paced the group with 30 points early in his first season with the Blues. His 19 points in November are tied for the most in the league, while the 26-year-old is already more than halfway to matching his career high of 59 points. -Hagerman

3. Nikita Kucherov

Previously 1st

GP G A P P/PG 5-on-5 CF%
23 17 17 34 1.48 52.46

Passed in the goals race by Alex Ovechkin, Kucherov has recorded just a lone assist over his past four games, thereby allowing the field to catch up in the overall scoring race, too.

He still remains in a tie for second in scoring, but with five players now within five points, Kucherov has lost a touch of the luster garnered during his dominant start to his season. - McLaren

2. Steven Stamkos

Previously 2nd

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

GP G A P P/PG 5-on-5 CF%
23 10 26 36 1.57 54.06

It's hard to knock the NHL's leading scorer, but just like Kucherov, Stamkos has begun falling back to earth after a truly out-of-this-world start to the season.

He's also recorded only a single assist over his past four games, and while Stamkos' performance to date coming off a major leg injury has been downright inspiring, a plucky underdog has eclipsed him in our rankings, at least for the time being. - McLaren

1. Johnny Gaudreau

Previously unranked

GP G A P P/PG 5-on-5 CF%
23 11 23 34 1.48 54.63

Since the beginning of November, no player has recorded more points than Calgary's Gaudreau, whose eight goals and 11 assists have him level with Schenn for the month.

Over that stretch, he's jumped into a tie for second in NHL scoring with Kucherov, and is just two points back of Stamkos for the lead.

On pace for 121 points, Gaudreau is well on his way to bouncing back from a down 2016-17 season and smashing the career-high 78 points he recorded in 2015-16. As it stands, he's put himself in the running for both the Art Ross and Hart trophies. - McLaren

(Advanced stats courtesy: Corsica)

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NHL awards watch: Hart belongs to Stamkos in stellar comeback year

At the quarter point of the 2017-18 campaign, theScore's NHL team identifies the front-runners to bring home some hardware. This installment was put together by editors Sean O'Leary and Josh Wegman.

Hart - Steven Stamkos

The Tampa Bay Lightning turned heads last season even without their captain, but Stamkos has made them nearly unstoppable.

The Lightning have lost just three games in regulation, and Stamkos leads the NHL with 35 points in 20 games, owning a 1.75 per-game average that projects him to shatter career highs in points and assists. - O'Leary

Vezina - Sergei Bobrovsky

Bobrovsky leads all starting goalies in save percentage (.933) and goals-against average (2.02). He also leads all starters in high-danger save percentage, per Corsica, as he already has a season's worth of highlight-reel saves to his name.

Both Andrei Vasilevskiy and Corey Crawford should garner some consideration here, but Bobrovsky is a clear-cut choice for the quarter-season award. - Wegman

Norris - Erik Karlsson

While Alex Pietrangelo and John Klingberg have started strong, only one elite defenseman is producing at least one point per game.

Despite missing the first chunk of his season to recover from offseason foot surgery, Karlsson sits two points off the league lead in points among defenseman with one goal and 16 assists in 14 contests. While he's not logging his usual standard in ice time, he still averages more than 25 minutes per night, and it doesn't look like there's anything that can stop him from snapping his brief, inexplicable two-year Norris drought. - O'Leary

Calder - Will Butcher

While there may be no Auston Matthews or Patrik Laine in this rookie class, there's certainly no shortage of Calder-worthy players.

Butcher, a defenseman for the Devils, has a slight edge at the quarter mark. He has 16 points in 20 games and a plus-7 rating, and has his team atop the Metro Division standings.

Coyotes winger Clayton Keller (23GP, 11G, 9A, 20P), Islanders center Mathew Barzal (20GP, 4G, 15A, 19P), and Canucks winger Brock Boeser (17GP, 7G, 10A, 17P) made this an incredibly tough selection. - Wegman

Selke - Mark Stone

This award is generally reserved for Patrice Bergeron, but since the perennial gold standard of defensive forwards has missed some time this season, he hasn't established himself as the early leader.

It's rare that the Selke ever goes to a winger, but Stone should be in the mix. The 25-year-old is tied for second among all forwards with 24 takeaways, and has been on the ice for 17 goals for at even strength, compared to just nine against. - O'Leary

Jack Adams - Gerard Gallant

The no-brainer above all no-brainers. Gallant has his expansion team sitting second in the Pacific Division with 25 points in 19 games, despite having to start a fourth-string netminder.

Though Vegas' success may not be sustainable, it's far and away the NHL's most surprising team this season. Gallant has to be given credit for getting his players to compete every night. - Wegman

General Manager of the Year - Doug Armstrong

There's lots of time left to see which GM can orchestrate a move to push his team over the top, but Armstrong is a worthy candidate to this point.

The Jori Lehtera-Brayden Schenn trade has been highway robbery for the Blues, helping to rejuvenate a lineup now perched atop the Western Conference. - O'Leary

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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NHL Power Rankings: Lightning keep top spot, surging Leafs on the rise

theScore's NHL Power Rankings are published every other Monday. Our fourth installment is put together by editors Josh Gold-Smith, Ian McLaren, and Cory Wilkins.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (15-3-2)

Previously 1st

The dynamic duo of Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov is showing no signs of letting up. Four consecutive victories before a loss Saturday kept the Lightning where they deserve to be.

- Wilkins

2. Toronto Maple Leafs (14-7-0) ▲

Previously 21st

No Auston Matthews? No problem. With their best player on the sidelines, the Maple Leafs cruised to four straight wins of their own, then captured No. 5 against the rival Canadiens upon Matthews' return.

- Wilkins

3. Winnipeg Jets (12-4-3) ▲

Previously 5th

The Jets are proving the pundits correct: Give Winnipeg a goaltender and they're a dangerous team. The Jets have won four straight, allowing just six goals in the process.

- Wilkins

4. Nashville Predators (11-6-2) ▲

Previously 12th

Kyle Turris has been a hit in the Music City, chipping in three points in four games, while the Predators have taken three of four contests since his arrival.

- Wilkins

5. St. Louis Blues (15-5-1) ▼

Previously 2nd

A bit of a dip for the Blues, as St. Louis was on the wrong end of an ugly loss to the Flames, just days after needing extra time to take down the last-place Coyotes.

- Wilkins

6. New York Islanders (11-7-2) ▲

Previously 15th

It's been a mixed bag for the Islanders, but the team's most impressive outing was a 5-3 win over the first-place Lightning. Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak continue to battle for minutes between the pipes.

- Wilkins

7. Columbus Blue Jackets (12-7-1) ▼

Previously 3rd

The Blue Jackets will need to find the back of the net more often in order to climb this list. Columbus mustered just six regulation goals in its last five appearances.

- Wilkins

8. Vegas Golden Knights (12-6-1) ▲

Previously 10th

Credit the Golden Knights for their ability to find the win column despite constant injuries in the crease. One negative of the week: an 8-2 shellacking to the struggling Oilers.

- Wilkins

9. New Jersey Devils (11-5-3) ▼

Previously 6th

The Devils are .500 in their last six outings, despite allowing four more goals than they've scored. Travis Zajac's return should improve the team's fortunes.

- Wilkins

10. Los Angeles Kings (12-7-2) ▼

Previously 4th

Winning just two of their last six, with only one coming in regulation, cracks are starting to show in the Kings' hot start to the season.

- Wilkins

11. Calgary Flames (11-8-0) ▲

Previously 25th

Johnny Gaudreau has quietly risen among the NHL's point leaders, and if Mike Smith can remain healthy while the defense starts to mesh more effectively, Calgary could really set the league on fire.

- McLaren

12. Chicago Blackhawks (10-8-2) ▲

Previously 24th

A tightly contested win over Pittsburgh on Saturday served notice that this team's window hasn't closed quite yet. Having said that, maybe beating Pittsburgh isn't all that impressive these days (see below).

- McLaren

13. Pittsburgh Penguins (11-8-3) ▼

Previously 9th

The Penguins' defensive numbers have been skewed by a few lopsided losses, but the defending Stanley Cup champions are also having trouble scoring. Issues at both ends of the ice doesn't bode well moving forward.

- McLaren

14. Detroit Red Wings (10-8-3) ▲

Previously 27th

Detroit appears to have some swagger back following a fight-filled romp over Calgary. The Wings are defying expectations and young stars Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha are leading the way.

- McLaren

15. San Jose Sharks (10-8-0) ▼

Previously 7th

Despite the winning record, San Jose has scored the fewest amount of goals in the NHL, and the offensive struggles are exacerbated by the fact Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns has zero goals on 75 shots.

- McLaren

16. Anaheim Ducks (9-7-3) ▼

Previously 14th

Recent wins over Vancouver, Boston, and Florida helped end a stretch of losses for the Ducks, who are somehow hanging on in the midst of a slew of injuries.

- McLaren

17. Minnesota Wild (9-8-2) ▲

Previously 20th

Prior to a loss to Washington on Saturday, the Wild won four in a row, including a string of three-straight shutouts by Devan Dubnyk. The streak helped Minnesota get back on the positive side of the goal differential ledger.

- McLaren

18. Washington Capitals (11-9-1) ▲

Previously 22nd

The two-time defending Presidents' Trophy winners have certainly lost some luster. Braden Holtby is being left out to dry with regularity, but thankfully the offense is still chugging along.

- McLaren

19. Dallas Stars (10-9-1) ▼

Previously 8th

A win over Edmonton on Saturday snapped a three-game losing streak, but 20 games in, this team does not want to be in the lower tier of the standings in terms of point percentage.

- McLaren

20. New York Rangers (10-9-2) ▼

Previously 16th

The Blueshirts have recorded 10 wins in 20 games, and a team that features Henrik Lundqvist in net should not have a negative goal differential.

- McLaren

21. Ottawa Senators (8-5-6) ▼

Previously 11th

Note to other teams looking to avoid falling in the rankings: Don't lose to the worst team in the league in the same week you get beaten by a defending Stanley Cup champion still looking to find its stride.

Unfortunately for the Senators, they can't just play the Avalanche every game.

- Gold-Smith

22. Boston Bruins (8-7-4) ▼

Previously 19th

Two big wins on the West Coast will do just fine, but they came after four straight defeats, including back-to-back losses to the Maple Leafs.

- Gold-Smith

23. Colorado Avalanche (10-8-1) ▼

Previously 17th

Colorado has lost four of their last six, including back-to-back defeats to the Senators in their Swedish sojourn, and a humbling loss to their other Matt Duchene trade partner, the Predators.

- Gold-Smith

24. Carolina Hurricanes (9-6-4) ▲

Previously 29th

Carolina isn't a playoff-calibre team yet, but there's reason for hope. The Hurricanes have won five of their last seven contests, including back-to-back victories over the weekend.

- Gold-Smith

25. Florida Panthers (7-11-2) ▲

Previously 31st

Getting shut out by the Kings on Saturday was hardly ideal, but Florida did blank the Sharks in San Jose two days earlier.

Florida has lost two straight games, but hovered around .500 since our last edition, so that's enough to get out of our basement for now.

- Gold-Smith

26. Vancouver Canucks (9-8-3) ▼

Previously 13th

Saturday's overtime loss to the Blues was a valiant effort, but the Canucks have won only two of the seven games since our last edition, and have emerged victorious in only three of their last 10. That's bad.

- Gold-Smith

27. Philadelphia Flyers (8-8-4) ▼

Previously 23rd

The Flyers blew a 3-1 lead and eventually lost to the Flames in overtime Saturday, dropping their fourth straight game and fifth in their last six.

The Brian Elliott signing just hasn't worked out, and trading away Brayden Schenn was a terrible idea.

- Gold-Smith

28. Edmonton Oilers (7-11-2) ▼

Previously 26th

Edmonton could still turn out to be a Stanley Cup contender, but the Oilers have dug themselves into a serious hole.

Neither their 4-1 loss to the Blues nor Saturday's 6-3 defeat to the Stars inspire much confidence that the Oilers will snap out of this any time soon.

- Gold-Smith

29. Montreal Canadiens (8-11-2) ▼

Previously 18th

Montreal got embarrassed by the Maple Leafs on Saturday night, and the 6-0 rout was the Canadiens' third consecutive loss. Is it time for a shake-up?

- Gold-Smith

30. Arizona Coyotes (4-15-3)

Previously 30th

A win streak! Two straight victories and an Anthony Duclair hat trick Saturday are encouraging, but the Coyotes still have the NHL's worst goal differential (-31), and they've won only three of their last 10 games.

- Gold-Smith

31. Buffalo Sabres (5-11-4) ▼

Previously 28th

Buffalo lost its fifth straight game Saturday, and that makes eight losses in the last 10 contests. Only the Coyotes have a worse goal differential than the skidding Sabres.

- Gold-Smith

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NHL Power Rankings: Blues jump to No. 2, Leafs, Hawks plummet

theScore's NHL Power Rankings are published every other Monday. Our third go-round is put together by editors Cory Wilkins, Flip Livingstone, Craig Hagerman, and Josh Wegman.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (11-2-2)

Previously 1st

The Lightning remain at the top for the second consecutive week. They're still scoring at an incredible pace, and Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to be rock solid between the pipes. - Wegman

2. St. Louis Blues (11-3-1) ▲

Previously 7th

The Blues are for real. They have had the second-toughest schedule in the league, per Hockey Reference, but continue to pile up wins. Jaden Schwartz is having a huge breakout season, and Alex Pietrangelo is playing like he wants a Norris Trophy. - Wegman

3. Columbus Blue Jackets (9-4-1) ▲

Previously 11th

The Blue Jackets have been dealt the toughest schedule in the league thus far, but they have responded relatively well. The Lightning have had their number so far, but they're at the top for the reason. The Jackets are fast, physical, and as deep as they come. Having Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes doesn't hurt either. - Wegman

4. Los Angeles Kings (10-2-2) ▼

Previously 2nd

The Kings move down two spots on this list, losing two of their last three games, and needing overtime or a shootout to pick up two of their last four wins. They're still a strong team, but how long will their scoring depth hold up, and how long will Jonathan Quick continue to stand on his head? - Wegman

5. Winnipeg Jets (7-3-3) ▲

Previously 22nd

The Jets are 7-1-3 since the first two games of the season. An OT loss to the Habs on Saturday wasn't the way they wanted to end their week, but three straight wins over Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Dallas by a combined score of 14-4 is impressive. For the first time in its history, the team seems to have an answer in goal with Connor Hellebuyck, and that has been the difference. - Wegman

6. New Jersey Devils (9-3-1) ▲

Previously 10th

The Devils continue to prove they are more than just a hot start. They currently boast the fourth-best points percentage in the league and have dropped just one of their first six road games. They're getting both scoring and solid goaltending from committee and are torching clubs with their speed with no signs of slowing down. - Hagerman

7. San Jose Sharks (8-5-0) ▲

Previously 25th

The Sharks are cruising, currently on a four-game winning streak and on the back of strong defensive play that has seen them concede the second-fewest goals per game (2.31) while boasting the second-best penalty kill. Logan Couture is off to a hot start, while Brent Burns is still without his first goal of the season. If he returns to his Norris Trophy-winning self the Sharks could climb that much higher. - Hagerman

8. Dallas Stars (8-6-0)

Previously 8th

The Stars continue to do work with their top-ranked power play and third-place penalty-kill units. Some more consistency at 5-on-5 and they could really start making some noise in the West. - Hagerman

9. Pittsburgh Penguins (8-6-2) ▼

Previously 5th

The Penguins have dropped four of their last five games and have managed to score more than two goals in a game just once in their last eight games. In all they've tallied 13 goals in eight games with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel combining for just five. That should change. - Hagerman

10. Vegas Golden Knights (9-4-0) ▲

Previously 15th

Injuries in goal and the team's first real taste of life on the road has seen the Golden Knights fall back to earth a touch. They still cling to a top-third offense and could receive a jolt once some of their goalies return to regular duty. - Hagerman

11. Ottawa Senators (6-3-5) ▼

Previously 6th

Early trade rumors surrounding Matt Duchene may have been a distraction for Ottawa, as it was thumped by the Habs and lost a close, one-goal game to the Knights. Now that the deal is done, the team should be able to get things back in order. - Livingstone

12. Nashville Predators (7-5-2) ▲

Previously 14th

After a rough start to the year the Preds are seemingly rounding into form. Back-to-back road wins over the Ducks and Kings have Peter Laviolette's crew on the rise. - Livingstone

13. Vancouver Canucks (7-4-2) ▲

Previously 24th

Show of hands from those who expected the Canucks to ever crack the top 20, let alone the top 15? We'll wait. - Livingstone

14. Anaheim Ducks (6-6-2) ▼

Previously 13th

The Ducks continue to hold on despite significant injuries up front. They are just over a week out from dismantling the top-ranked Lightning and that shouldn't be overlooked. - Hagerman

15. New York Islanders (8-5-1) ▲

Previously 16th

The Islanders have the unfortunate distinction of being a team that wins big and loses big. But, with Johnny T filling the net on the regular, New York finds itself smack dab in the middle of the pack. - Livingstone

16. New York Rangers (6-7-2) ▲

Previously 27th

Much like the team right below, the Rangers are trending in the right direction once again, earning three straight wins and four of their last five. If New York can keep lighting the lamp and getting consistency from Henrik Lundqvist, look for it to continue its ascent up this list. - Livingstone

17. Colorado Avalanche (8-6-0) ▲

Previously 28th

Colorado continues to shock the hockey world by not being the flaming pile of garbage it was last season. The Avs only managed 22 wins last year, and already have eight to start this campaign. Three wins in their last four games have Colorado on the rise once again. - Livingstone

18. Montreal Canadiens (6-8-1) ▲

Previously 29th

Four victories in the last five games, including a statement win on the road against the Jets, have fans in Montreal shelving their pitchforks - for the time being. - Livingstone

19. Boston Bruins (5-4-3) ▲

Previously 21st

Boston may have lost three of its last four, but one of those was a shootout loss, one was an OT loss, and the other was a tight one-goal game against the Capitals. The Bruins could easily have four wins in a row instead. - Livingstone

20. Minnesota Wild (5-5-2) ▼

Previously 19th

The injury-plagued Wild are struggling to score, as defenseman Jared Spurgeon leads the team with only nine points. Two things here should be alarming to Minnesota fans: One, a defenseman is leading the team in scoring. Two, the leading scorer has only nine points. - Livingstone

21. Toronto Maple Leafs (8-7-0) ▼

Previously 3rd

After starting the season 6-1, Toronto has found the win column just once in its last six. Goaltender Frederik Andersen continues to struggle in the early going. - Wilkins

22. Washington Capitals (7-6-1) ▼

Previously 12th

The Capitals have looked incredibly pedestrian in their last five contests, winning three times but allowing as many goals as they've scored. Washington won't have to worry about the Presidents' Trophy this year. - Wilkins

23. Philadelphia Flyers (7-6-2) ▼

Previously 9th

Philadelphia's top line is putting plenty of pucks in the net. The problem is keeping them out of their own. Offseason addition Brian Elliott has looked only average as the Flyers' go-to goaltender. - Wilkins

24. Chicago Blackhawks (7-6-2) ▼

Previously 4th

Goaltender Corey Crawford leads the league with an eye-popping .945 save percentage. He's doing all he can for a lackluster Blackhawks squad that has scored just 11 times in its last six appearances. - Wilkins

25. Calgary Flames (8-6-0) ▼

Previously 17th

Captain Mark Giordano called goaltender Mike Smith the Flames' MVP. It's a fair statement given Calgary has scored just 11 times in its last five games. - Wilkins

26. Edmonton Oilers (4-8-1) ▼

Previously 20th

Years of high draft picks - including superstar Connor McDavid - leaves the Oilers with no excuses. The team has no business sitting second-last league-wide. - Wilkins

27. Detroit Red Wings (7-7-1) ▼

Previously 26th

Detroit's 4-1 start to the season appears to be a mirage, as the Red Wings have won just three of their last 10. The good news: With 13 points in 15 games, Dylan Larkin is back after struggling through his sophomore year. - Wilkins

28. Buffalo Sabres (4-8-2) ▲

Previously 30th

Starter Robin Lehner was given a show-me contract but is failing to live up to his end of the deal. A banged up blue line hasn't helped either. - Wilkins

29. Carolina Hurricanes (4-5-3) ▼

Previously 23rd

The expectation was the Hurricanes would take the next step this season, but fans are still waiting. New netminder Scott Darling is still adjusting to the starter's role. - Wilkins

30. Arizona Coyotes (2-12-1) ▲

Previously 31st

The overall record is ugly, but the Coyotes are finally showing some signs of life, coming away with the win in two of their last four. Rookie sensation Clayton Keller continues to impress. - Wilkins

31. Florida Panthers (4-7-2) ▼

Previously 18th

The Panthers have struggled in their last six outings, picking up just one win, while interim starter James Reimer has allowed 19 goals in his last five appearances. - Wilkins

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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NHL Player Power Rankings: Lightning duo bolts to top

In this season's first edition of the player power rankings, theScore hockey editors Josh Gold-Smith, Flip Livingstone, and Ian McLaren evaluate some of the NHL's biggest names based on their star power and how they've performed so far.

10. Sergei Bobrovsky

GP SV% GAA W SO SA SV
8 .938 1.86 6 1 243 228

Other goaltenders like Jonathan Quick, Pekka Rinne, and Andrei Vasilevskiy have been stellar so far, but the Columbus Blue Jackets netminder is the only perennial Vezina Trophy candidate playing at an elite level in the early going.

While Carey Price and Braden Holtby haven't been their typically dominant selves, Bobrovsky is once again proving to be a model of consistency.
- Gold-Smith

9. Jamie Benn

GP G A P P/GP 5-on-5 CF%
11 7 6 13 1.18 54.72

Benn was held off the scoresheet in the Dallas Stars' win over the Calgary Flames on Friday night, but it was the first time since Oct. 17 and only the fourth time all season that he failed to collect a point.

The 2015 Art Ross Trophy winner piled up five goals and nine points in the four games prior to that contest, and while his shooting percentage (18.4) is bound to regress, there's no reason to believe he won't continue to be one of the toughest assignments for opposing defenders. - Gold-Smith

8. John Tavares

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

GP G A P P/GP 5-on-5 CF%
11 9 4 13 1.18 52.7

The New York Islanders captain hasn't looked at all distracted by his contract situation this fall, and he's been on an absolute tear over the last week or so.

Tavares potted a natural hat trick Saturday - his second three-goal game in the last three contests - and he has seven goals and 10 points in his last four games. - Gold-Smith

7. Erik Karlsson

GP G A P P/GP 5-on-5 CF%
6 0 9 9 1.5 50.47

The all-world defenseman hasn't shown much rust after missing the first five games of the season, and he's shown no hesitation in taking on his typical heavy workload despite coming off foot surgery.

Karlsson is averaging over 25 minutes in ice time, and he's posted more than a point in half of the games he's played early on. - Gold-Smith

6. Sidney Crosby

GP G A P P/GP 5-on-5 CF%
13 5 6 11 0.92  50.0

He may be struggling to fill the scoresheet right now, but the Penguins are still a dangerous group with Sid at the helm, and he doesn’t need to be lighting the lamp on the regular to earn a spot among the NHL's most dominant players.

Also, don't forget, No. 87 has 11 points and is just getting warmed up. Until we see a significant decline in his ability, Crosby's earned the right to be firmly entrenched on this list, as few players in the NHL today can play at both ends of the rink like he can. - Livingstone

5. Auston Matthews

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

GP G A P P/GP 5-on-5 CF% 
11 8 7 15 1.36 54.46

While the Maple Leafs continue to fall back to earth, Matthews' torrid scoring pace has seemingly no end in sight, with seven points in his last five games.

Few thought Matthews would be able to replicate last season's 40-goal output, but, with eight already under his belt through only 11 games, the 40-goal mark becomes increasingly attainable with each passing game. - Livingstone

4. Connor McDavid

GP G A P P/GP 5-on-5 CF%
10 5 6 11 1.1 59.9

The Oilers might be struggling to bury the biscuit, but McDavid can't do it all by himself. Edmonton's captain has five goals and six assists across 10 games this season while also logging a beastly 22:37 of ice time per game.

McDavid has already shown flashes of his MVP-level play this season, and if his supporting cast can figure it out offensively, McJesus should take his rightful place in the top three very soon. - Livingstone

3. Alex Ovechkin

GP G A P P/GP 5-on-5 CF%
12 10 5 15 1.25 48.3

A blistering start has given way to a bit of a dry spell in the goal-scoring department, but while Ovechkin has tallied only once in his past seven games, his overall point total has been boosted by some helpers.

Overall, he sits second in goals, tied for fourth in total points, and is on pace for one of his most productive seasons in years. - McLaren

2. Steven Stamkos

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

GP G A P P/GP 5-on-5 CF%
12 4 17 21 1.75 54.47

Stamkos' comeback has been one of the best stories through the first month of the season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning captain was on a tear when he was sidelined almost a year ago with a devastating knee injury, and he's been even better this time around, leading the NHL in total points.

Known more for his goal scoring over the years, he's been setting the table with regularity for his red-hot linemate, the only player to eclipse him on this list. - McLaren

1. Nikita Kucherov

GP G A P P/GP 5-on-5 CF%
12 12 7 19 1.58 50.52

It's time to acknowledge Kucherov's greatness.

The Russian winger is averaging a goal per game, and Ovechkin is the only other player in double digits this season. He's also contributing more than enough helpers, and his even possession numbers are boosted by his efficiency in the offensive zone.

Dating back to Jan. 1, no player has more goals (39) or total points (69). At the moment, he's the best in the game. - McLaren

(Analytics courtesy: Corsica.Hockey)

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NHL Power Rankings: Lightning bolt ahead of the pack

theScore's NHL Power Rankings are published every other Monday. Our second go-round is put together by editors Josh Gold-Smith, Sean O'Leary, and Josh Wegman.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (7-1-1) ▲

Previously 12th

Imagine a team where a healthy Steven Stamkos isn't even the top offensive weapon? Thanks to Nikita Kucherov, that's the Lightning these days - and that's awfully scary. - Wegman

2. Los Angeles Kings (6-0-1) ▲

Previously 5th

The Kings are faster, younger, and the only team without a regulation loss. New head coach John Stevens has them playing a more aggressive style, and it's working - especially while Jonathan Quick looks like he wants a Vezina. - Wegman

3. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-0) ▼

Previously 2nd

The Leafs still have troubles in their own end, but nobody can argue with their prolific offense. Thirteen players are on pace for at least 40 points, and Auston Matthews is an early Hart candidate. - Wegman

4. Chicago Blackhawks (5-2-2) ▼

Previously 1st

The Blackhawks still have plenty of speed and three dangerous lines. It would be foolish to disrespect a team with three Stanley Cups in the last decade. - Wegman

5. Pittsburgh Penguins (5-3-1) ▲

Previously 11th

Glaring weaknesses at third-line center and backup goalie could hold the Pens back until they find upgrades, but the champs still have the firepower to keep them in the top five. - Wegman

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

6. Ottawa Senators (4-1-3) ▲

Previously 21st

The Sens avoided what many thought would be a disaster, going 3-0-2 without Erik Karlsson in the lineup. The captain has now played three games, and already has six points. They'll be a tough team to beat from here on out. - Wegman

7. St. Louis Blues (6-2-1) ▼

Previously 4th

Even with all the early injuries, the Blues remain one of the league's top teams, in large part due to captain Alex Pietrangelo, Jaden Schwartz, and Vladimir Tarasenko. - Wegman

8. Dallas Stars (5-3-0) ▲

Previously 27th

The Stars experienced some growing pains to start the year, but those can be expected with a new head coach. They've now won four straight, albeit against a relatively soft schedule. Ben Bishop has provided a long-awaited solution in goal, and we all know this team can score. - Wegman

9. Philadelphia Flyers (5-3-0) ▼

Previously 8th

Moving captain Claude Giroux to the wing has paid early dividends, as he has 10 points in eight games. Sean Couturier, known more as a shutdown player, has flourished in the No. 1 center role, providing offense and defense. Regardless, the Flyers' depth up the middle will be a question mark moving forward. - Wegman

10. New Jersey Devils (6-2-0) ▲

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Previously 19th

The Devils are young, fast, skilled, and exciting to watch, but it's still awfully early. They've had some impressive victories - beating three teams ahead of them in these power rankings - but we're still in wait-and-see mode. - Wegman

11. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-3-0) ▲

Previously 14th

Newcomer Artemi Panarin has settled in quite nicely, and along with Alexander Wennberg and Cam Atkinson, he's part of what's been one of the most productive lines in the NHL. Back-to-back losses to the Lightning and Kings aren't much to be ashamed of. - O'Leary

12. Washington Capitals (4-4-1) ▼

Previously 3rd

Alex Ovechkin has slowed drastically after a scorching start, and losses to the Red Wings and Panthers over the weekend have Washington trending in the wrong direction. - O'Leary

13. Anaheim Ducks (3-3-1) ▼

Previously 10th

Boy, the loss of Cam Fowler is really going to test what's already a depleted defense. Thankfully, John Gibson has quietly posted a .932 save percentage through seven starts - O'Leary

14. Nashville Predators (4-3-1) ▲

Previously 29th

The Preds haven't looked particularly great or particularly bad, but if they can keep up high shot rates, their wildly low shooting percentage (5.95) should improve, and so should their record. - O'Leary

15. Vegas Golden Knights (6-1-0) ▼

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Previously 6th

Vegas keeps winning, but with Oscar Dansk leading the charge in goal from here on out, you can color us skeptical. - O'Leary

16. New York Islanders (4-3-1) ▲

Previously 22nd

The Islanders have been fairly average across the board, but have managed just a 4 percent conversion rate on the power play - how is that even possible? - O'Leary

17. Calgary Flames (4-4-0) ▼

Previously 16th

Mike Smith's early workload has been similar to his prior duties in Arizona, but he's survived so far, posting a .927 save percentage across eight starts. Calgary still might want to cut down on the shots against per game (35.4). - O'Leary

18. Florida Panthers (3-4-0) ▼

Previously 15th

Florida's offered a balanced attack so far, but with Roberto Luongo headed to the IR, the team will need to tidy things up in the defensive zone. - O'Leary

19. Minnesota Wild (2-2-2) ▲

Previously 25th

The Wild have been ravaged by injuries, and should be focused on staying afloat until their talented roster can be reassembled. - O'Leary

20. Edmonton Oilers (2-5-0) ▼

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Previously 15th

The Oilers have managed a worse record than nearly every team on this list, but considering they're averaging almost 40 shots per game and still employ Connor McDavid, they retain the benefit of the doubt, for the time being. - O'Leary

21. Boston Bruins (3-3-1) ▼

Previously 9th

Things have really gone downhill for the Bruins since their season-opening win over the Predators.

A slew of injuries (Tuukka Rask, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid), a pair of losses to the Avalanche, and an overtime loss to the Sabres in which they blew a three-goal lead have left Boston smarting, despite getting Patrice Bergeron and David Backes back from their respective ailments. - Gold-Smith

22. Winnipeg Jets (4-3-0) ▲

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Previously 31st

Winning four of out five games since the last edition of the power rankings gets the Jets out of our basement and closer to where many project they'll ultimately finish.

Victories over the Oilers and Wild inspire some hope, but Winnipeg still has some work to do before it can be considered a legitimate playoff threat. - Gold-Smith

23. Carolina Hurricanes (3-2-1) ▼

Previously 18th

It wasn't easy evaluating the Hurricanes after one game, but it's a little clearer now. Carolina earned big road wins over the Oilers and Flames, but losses to the Jets and Stars showed consistency is still a work in progress. - Gold-Smith

24. Vancouver Canucks (4-3-1) ▼

Previously 17th

Vancouver has won three of its last four, but two of those were over the Sabres and Red Wings. It's only a matter of time before reality sets in. - Gold-Smith

25. San Jose Sharks (3-4-0) ▲

Previously 30th

Wins against a couple of struggling squads in the Canadiens and Sabres and a victory over the surprising Devils were enough for the Sharks to gain some ground, despite a pair of losses to the Islanders.

San Jose still isn't scoring enough, though, and will need to figure that out as it continues a five-game road trip Monday at Madison Square Garden. - Gold-Smith

26. Detroit Red Wings (4-4-1) ▼

Previously 7th

Last week was a big test for the Red Wings, and they failed it by losing three games against legit contenders in the Lightning, Maple Leafs, and Capitals. Following that up with a 4-1 beatdown on home ice at the hands of the Canucks wasn't great, either. - Gold-Smith

27. New York Rangers (2-5-2) ▼

Previously 23rd

The Rangers have lost five of their last six, and while Saturday's win over the Predators was a good sign, New York hasn't been playing to its full potential. We knew the Rangers were going to regress, but it wasn't supposed to happen this quickly. - Gold-Smith

28. Colorado Avalanche (4-4-0) ▼

Previously 20th

Last week, we told you not to get used to seeing the Avalanche ranked as high as they were, and Colorado responded by winning three straight, before losing three in a row. Despite solid play at times, the Avalanche are still too inconsistent to sustain success over the long haul. - Gold-Smith

29. Montreal Canadiens (1-6-1) ▼

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Previously 24th

It's still way too early for the Canadiens to give up on the season, but seven straight losses are definitely cause for concern. Montreal went 0-for-3 on its California road swing last week, as both scoring and defense remain major issues. - Gold-Smith

30. Buffalo Sabres (2-5-2) ▼

Previously 26th

The Sabres earned a big comeback win over the Bruins on Saturday night, but they still have the third-worst goal differential in the league and a host of root causes to account for that. - Gold-Smith

31. Arizona Coyotes (0-7-1) ▼

Previously 28th

The NHL's lone remaining winless team has seven regulation losses in eight games. That's bad. - Gold-Smith

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NHL Power Rankings: Blackhawks, Maple Leafs come out firing

With hockey season underway, so are theScore's NHL power rankings, which will be published every other Monday. Our inaugural rankings have been put together by editors Josh Gold-Smith, Flip Livingstone, and Ian McLaren.

1. Chicago Blackhawks (2-0-0)

If you beat the defending Stanley Cup champions 10-1 right out of the gate, you deserve to jump to the top of the list. A follow-up win over Columbus and a plus-13 goal differential through two games sealed it. - McLaren

2. Toronto Maple Leafs (2-0-0)

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Tied with Chicago in goals for (15), Toronto's offense appears rather unstoppable. If the defense can lock things down, these Leafs will be the ones doing the raking this season. A Monday showdown with the Blackhawks is a must-watch. - McLaren

3. Washington Capitals (2-0-0)

Alex Ovechkin has scored seven goals, and tales of the two-time defending Presidents' Trophy winners demise are proving to be a tad premature. - McLaren

4. St. Louis Blues (2-0-0)

St. Louis spoiled banner-raising night with an overtime win in Pittsburgh, and beat a Stars team coming off another mythical "offseason championship" to start the season on an undefeated note. - McLaren

5. Los Angeles Kings (2-0-0)

Jonathan Quick has allowed one goal in two games and Anze Kopitar is scoring again. That all bodes well for a bounce-back season for the Kings. - McLaren

6. Vegas Golden Knights (2-0-0)

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Thanks in large part to James Neal, an expansion hockey franchise based in Las Vegas is undefeated in the regular season. What a time to be alive. - McLaren

7. Detroit Red Wings (2-0-0)

Raise your hand if you had Detroit winning two games to start the season. To their credit, the Red Wings have exceeded expectations by beating Minnesota and Ottawa, two playoff teams from last season. - McLaren

8. Philadelphia Flyers (2-1-0)

Tasked with starting the season on a California road trip, the Flyers escaped with a pair of wins. No easy feat at any point in the season. - McLaren

9. Boston Bruins (1-0-0)

The only team to have played one game to date, the Bruins made good with a win over the Western Conference champions from Nashville. A soft schedule through the first few weeks should help them rise. - McLaren

10. Anaheim Ducks (1-0-1)

Beset by a long list of injuries, Anaheim amassed three points in two games. Until everyone is healthy, it'll be tough to keep flying this high. - McLaren

11. Pittsburgh Penguins (1-1-1)

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

A wacky week for the champs: an OT loss to the Blues, a beating at the hands of the Blackhawks, and a dominating shutout of the Predators. Pittsburgh will be fine. - Gold-Smith

12. Tampa Bay Lightning (1-1-0)

The Lighting split their first two games, both against the Panthers, and the team many are pegging to win the Stanley Cup gets a much tougher test Monday against the Capitals. - Gold-Smith

13. Florida Panthers (1-1-0)

Playing their cross-state rivals tight was an encouraging sign for the Panthers, who'll have to ensure they're not complacent when they face the Blues on Thursday after four days off. - Gold-Smith

14. Columbus Blue Jackets (1-1-0)

The Blue Jackets scored a handful of goals in a shutout of the Islanders, but then gave up five in a loss to the Blackhawks. At least they're consistent. - Gold-Smith

15. Edmonton Oilers (1-1-0)

Connor McDavid scored an insane goal, notched a historic hat trick, and provided all of the offense in a season-opening win over the Flames, but the Oilers didn't look like the same team in a loss to the Canucks. - Gold-Smith

16. Calgary Flames (1-1-0)

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

The Flames couldn't contain McDavid, and who can blame them. Calgary got back on track by doubling up the Jets, and it'll ride that momentum into a two-game California road swing. - Gold-Smith

17. Vancouver Canucks (1-0-0)

It's going to be a painful season for Vancouver. but beating the high-flying Oilers to start things off provided some hope. - Gold-Smith

18. Carolina Hurricanes (1-0-0)

The Hurricanes are a trendy pick to make the playoffs and they took a small but encouraging step toward that long-term goal with a strong showing in a shootout win over the Wild. - Gold-Smith

19. New Jersey Devils (1-0-0)

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

The Devils are undefeated! Plan the parade!

Reality check: New Jersey's lone victory came against lowly Colorado. The Devils have some growing to do, but the future does look bright, as Nico Hischier and Will Butcher impressed in their respective debuts. - Gold-Smith

20. Colorado Avalanche (1-1-0)

Don't get accustomed to seeing the Avalanche ranked this high.

Colorado earned a solid road win over the Rangers in its season opener, but was significantly outplayed by the Devils. - Gold-Smith

21. Ottawa Senators (0-0-2)

Two close Ls for the Sens could easily have been Ws, so keep an eye on this team, especially when Erik Karlsson returns. - Livingstone

22. New York Islanders (1-1-0)

The Islanders may spend most of the year below No. 22, but for now, they've earned their current spot thanks to a big win at home over the Sabres. - Livingstone

23. New York Rangers (1-2-0)

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

The Rangers have the dubious distinction of losing - at home! - to the lowly Avalanche, while also allowing 12 goals in three games. - Livingstone

24. Montreal Canadiens (1-2-0)

If the Canadiens continue to play like they did against the Capitals and Rangers, it's going to be a very long season in La Belle Province. - Livingstone

25. Minnesota Wild (0-1-1)

When you lose to the Red Wings and Hurricanes to start the year, you deserve to be ranked near the bottom. However, the Wild are much better than their start indicates, so look for them to bounce back. - Livingstone

26. Buffalo Sabres (0-1-1)

Eichel-mania may be in full swing in the Nickel City, but that hasn't translated into any wins. A close loss to the Canadiens was promising. Getting blown out by the Islanders was not. - Livingstone

27. Dallas Stars (0-2-0)

A new top-six forward and No. 1 goalie haven't yet been enough to turn around the lackluster Stars. Still, the club has more than enough talent to compete, so expect Dallas to climb up this list. - Livingstone

28. Arizona Coyotes (0-1-1)

Despite two losses, Arizona has shown flashes of being a quality hockey club. Clayton Keller looks like the real deal, and, soon enough, so should the Coyotes. - Livingstone

29. Nashville Predators (0-2-0)

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Nashville failed to exact revenge for its Stanley Cup loss by getting blanked at the hands of the Penguins, and has looked lost at times in the offensive zone. - Livingstone

30. San Jose Sharks (0-2-0)

Four goals and two losses in two games is just not going to get the job done, regardless of how early it is. The Sharks will need to be much better if they hope to be contenders in the West. - Livingstone

31. Winnipeg Jets (0-2-0)

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

An opening night shellacking at the hands of the high-flying Maple Leafs followed by another six-goals-against loss to the Flames have soured what was supposed to be an exciting start to the campaign for the Jets, a club looking to take the next step. - Livingstone

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Predicting the 2018 NHL Awards

As part of our extensive season preview coverage, theScore's hockey editors are taking a look at who we think will earn some of the NHL's biggest honors at season's end.

The next round of NHL Awards won't be officially handed out until next June, but that doesn't mean we can't get a head start on projecting them.

Some players are virtual locks to repeat as recipients of certain trophies, while we should see some new winners in several key categories.

Here's who we believe will take home the hardware:

Hart Trophy - Connor McDavid

Josh Gold-Smith: We've now seen what McDavid is capable of in a full season, and there's no reason to believe he won't replicate his MVP form of a season ago.

The 20-year-old superstar hauled in both the Hart and Art Ross trophies in 2016-17, hitting triple digits in the points column while playing every game.

Barring another injury, McDavid is surely due to improve on his 30-goal output, and another season of growth at the NHL level will leave no doubt that he's the league's most valuable player.

Vezina Trophy - Matt Murray

Ian McLaren: We've all witnessed how good Murray has been in the postseason, serving as the goalie of record while the Pittsburgh Penguins raised the Stanley Cup the last two seasons.

His sample size in the regular season is not huge, but he's proven to be as good during the winter months as he's been in spring. Over the past two seasons, he's tied for first in save percentage with Carey Price after stopping 92.5 percent of all shots against, only a slight dip from the 92.8 percent success rate achieved in the playoffs.

Now that Marc-Andre Fleury is gone, he'll get even more starts, and he'll have Kris Letang back on defense to help keep the puck away.

Murray has emerged as one of the best goalies in the game, and he'll further back it up with some hardware earned when the games don't mean quite as much.

Norris Trophy - Erik Karlsson

Craig Hagerman: Karlsson played arguably the best hockey of his career last spring, as he spearheaded the Ottawa Senators' unlikely run to the Eastern Conference Final, all the while playing on just one healthy leg. Who can forget his rink-long saucer pass to Mike Hoffman against the Boston Bruins?

As the 2018 season nears, Karlsson will be cautious about his return, to be sure his leg is 100 percent healthy before getting into game action. However, it's partially for that reason that Karlsson will win the Norris Trophy.

He's the most electric defenseman in the league, and at 100 percent health, he should be that much better. Karlsson isn't expected to miss any major time to begin the season, so a lengthy absence shouldn't be an issue. Offensively and even on the other side of the puck now, Karlsson is the best defenseman in the league. End of discussion.

Calder Trophy - Clayton Keller

Sean O'Leary: There are plenty of intriguing rookie of the year candidates entering the league this season, but Keller gets the nod. The 19-year-old is a dynamic offensive talent, and will have every opportunity be the centerpiece of a young Arizona Coyotes attack under new head coach Rick Tocchet.

Keller put up 45 points in 31 games at Boston University last season, then recorded two assists in a three-game stint with Arizona to close out the season.

If Keller played in a bigger market, the spotlight on his potential would be much brighter, but he'll put himself and the Coyotes on the map with a season worthy of Rookie of the Year honors in 2017-18.

Selke Trophy - Patrice Bergeron

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Cory Wilkins: Until we're given reason to say otherwise, the stalwart Bruins center will lock up the Selke Trophy. Again.

Bergeron has captured this honor in three of the past four years, and he's won it four times since 2011-12. That success rate puts him in the same category as Montreal Canadiens legend Bob Gainey, with both taking home the award four times.

Despite some stiff competition last season, Bergeron again ran away with the Selke, topping runner-up Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks by more than 200 votes, while Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu finished with nearly 400 fewer votes than the eventual winner.

Maybe it's time to rename the Selke as the Bergeron.

Jack Adams Award - Phil Housley

Josh Wegman: The Jack Adams Award is rarely given to the league's best coach, but rather the coach of the most overachieving team, or the most improved team. The Buffalo Sabres will fall into the latter category this season.

Housley spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach with the Predators, primarily working with their defensemen. Anyone who watched them during the playoffs knows how much they like to activate their D. This aggressive, attacking style of coaching will bring out the best in some key Sabres, such as Jack Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Zach Bogosian.

As long as the Sabres can stay healthy (they were hampered by injuries a year ago) they will make the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season. That will be enough for Housley to earn a coach of the year nod in his first season behind the Sabres' bench.

GM of the Year - David Poile

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Flip Livingstone: Poile may have already taken home the honors by winning last year's GM of the Year Award, but, that doesn't change the fact that he is one of the sharpest hockey minds in the game today.

Not only are the Nashville Predators a testament to that fact as one of the deepest teams in the NHL, but Poile's built his team from the net out with mostly homegrown talent.

While Nashville's lineup won't need a ton of work over the course of the 2017-18 season, expect Poile to be at the ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that his group will be one of the clubs in contention for Lord Stanley's Mug.

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

theScore’s primer for the 2017-18 NHL season

The NHL season is fast approaching, and theScore's hockey editors are previewing the upcoming campaign from a multitude of angles. Here's everything you need to know before the puck drops on opening night:

Predictions

Positional previews

Playoff picks

Production projections

Preseason plotlines

Offseason overview

Mark your calendars

The pressure's on

Looking on the bright side

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.