NHL Power Rankings: 30 teams reviewed in haikus

The best plays from the week that was in the NHL, including Martin St. Louis picking pockets, outlet passes from goalies, and Vladimir Tarasenko dazzling.

The two teams whose standing on the NHL leaderboard is least indicative of their actual strength are the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.

While the Canadiens lead the league in wins (16) and points (33) — granted, the stats that matter most — they’ve only scored four more goals than they’ve surrendered, and we’re 23 games in.

The Habs rank just 21st in offence, 25th with the man-advantage and 10th in goals against. When they’re off, they’re way off: Montreal’s last two losses (to the Rangers and Penguins) have been by a combined score of 9-0. Hardly the makings of a Presidents’ Trophy winner.

Conversely, the 13th overall Blackhawks boast a gaudy plus-20 goal differential, second only to Pittsburgh’s plus-27. Chicago trots out the league’s best penalty kill, the second-best defence and they rank in the top 12 in offence and the power play. (The Hawks also have four of the top 10 vote-getters for the All-Star Game.) And when you consider that this team knows it doesn’t have to turn on the jets until spring, the competition should be afraid.

Here are this week’s NHL Power Rankings: Haiku Edition. Yep, each team’s summary is confined to a mini Japanese* poem.

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Rank Team

Marc-Andre Fleury
Three hundred wins under belt
Breaks out golden pads

Previous: 1


Through 22 games
Best show franchise history
That says it all, kids

Previous: 9


Plus-20 in goals
Team you need to worry ’bout
If you’re Preds or Blues

Previous: 6


Atop the Central
What’s that, you say, Music City?
Life post-Trotz OK

Previous: 4


Killing it in East
Now Victor Hedman skating
Watch out, Pens/Habs/Isles

Previous: 2


St. Louis’ top line
So fire, earns own nickname
S-T-L magic

Previous: 3


NHL leaders
Plus-4 goal differential

Previous: 5


Bo Horvat is in
Ryan Miller only wins
Like DJ Khaled

Previous: 7


Have not lost to Flames
At home since 2004
Bush was president

Previous: 11


Drew Doughty’s great play
Does best to make us forget
Voynov’s violent charge

Previous: 13


Zdeno Chara
Skates again, but could be two
Weeks away — Hurry!

Previous: 10


Suter’s possession
Of puck is off the dang charts
Big-time Norris bid

Previous: 12


Work hard, try harder
Work hard, try harder, work hard
Try harder, repeat

Previous: 8


Alfredsson retiring
In Ottawa of all places
Invest in Kleenex

Previous: 17


Playoff picture bleak
Head coach plopped on the hot seat
Shake up San Jose?

Previous: 16


Who would have believed
Jets’ greatest strength would be seen
Between the goal posts?

Previous: 14


Bounced back quite lovely
Sabres, Nashville in rear view
We salute you, Leafs

Previous: 18


Need your swift dangles,
Quick feet, smooth shot, broke English
Stay healthy, Pavel

Previous: 15


Ovie PP goals
But check out his plus/minus
Minus-3 — progress!

Previous: 19


Martin St. Louis
Comes back to Tampa Bay rink
Fans give ovation

Previous: 20


Tyler Seguin hot
More goals, points than anyone
Since Olympic break

Previous: 27


Ron Hextall angry
Would you rather fight him, or…
Incredible Hulk?

Previous: 21


Schneider starts all games
Needs the odd day off, we think
Could use Brodeur now

Previous: 22


Won four of last five
Has the turnaround begun?
Roy is hoping so

Previous: 26


Lone team losing worth
Tough to watch a poor roster
Strombone funny, though

Previous: 23


Dropped four of last five
Hanzal’s return should help out
But only a bit

Previous: 24


Nash — not that one — good
Yet ‘Canes stuck at just six wins
Time to blow ‘er up?

Previous: 25


Try to play hockey
Knowing Mom, Dad betrayed you
That’s Jack Johnson’s world

Previous: 29


Message to Oilers:
Don’t you dare spoil our big plan
Connor’s ours — lay off!

Previous: 30


That goal from centre…
Fred Chabot woulda had it
Who gets booted next?

Previous: 28

*Japanese content, apparently, does very well on Sportsnet’s hockey page (This is making a case for our most-watched video of the year.)