NHL Power Rankings: Star Wars Edition

Another day, another hat trick by Jeff Skinner.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the NHL POWER RANKINGS: STAR WARS QUOTES EDITION, a weekly rating of hockey teams with enough power to make at least one guy complaining in the comments about the Canucks’ position.

Pursued by the Pacific Division’s sinister agents, Johnny Hockey races through overtimes on his starship, custodian of the puck perspective that restores freedom to the galaxy, or at the least mildly inform people’s Pro Line selections….

Rank Team

“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.” – Emperor Palpatine

Prior to puck drop, this writer predicted Washington would win the 2016 Stanley Cup. The Caps have won 10 of their last 12 and have now supplanted Montreal atop the Eastern Conference.

Previous: 2


“When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.” – Darth Vader

A student in Boston, a master in Dallas, Tyler Seguin is one point up on linemate Jamie Benn for second in league scoring. So, does the tandem run Team Canada’s top line at the World Cup?

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“All too easy.” – Darth Vader

The lightsaber-hot Islanders were cooled off with a 5-1 loss to the Panthers Tuesday. Prior to that, they had won seven of eight contests and had not lost in regulation in 11 games.

Previous: 5


“Travelling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy.” – Han Solo

Back-to-back road losses snuffed out coach Darryl Sutter’s winning streak at six. But the Kings’ divisional lead has already stretched to nine points.

Previous: 3


“There is good in him. I’ve felt it.” – Luke Skywalker

The Wild, whose last three wins have been shutouts, were thrilled to grab faceoff artist Jarret Stoll off waivers Tuesday. They had targeted him in free agency but had lost out to the Rangers.

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“The force is strong with this one.” – Darth Vader

Patrick Kane’s incredible scoring streak reached 26 games, Corey Crawford was named First Star of the Week, and GM Stan Bowman cleared a chunk of valuable cap space by trading Trevor Daley for penalty killer Rob Scuderi.

Previous: 8


“When 900 years old, you reach… Look as good, you will not.” – Yoda

Despite his flu bug, 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr leads the Panthers in scoring with 21 points. Florida wants more offence and demoted Dave Bolland to the AHL in an attempt to light a fire under him.

Previous: 16


“General Grievous, you’re shorter than I expected.” – Anakin Skywalker

Johnny Gaudreau has a ridiculous 32 points in 30 games, and the Flames are loving 3-on-3 OT. Calgary’s 8-1 overtime record is the NHL’s best. Back in the hunt, baby!

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“Death is a natural part of life.” – Yoda

The stellar efforts of veterans Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask show that this Bruins core might still have another playoff run in them yet.

Previous: 10


“Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.” – Han Solo

Teenager Dylan Larkin has cooled off slightly, but his 22 points ranks him third among rookies and his plus-19 rating is tops among all freshmen.

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“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” – Princess Leia

We’re starting to realize that Montreal might need Carey Price (who won the Lou Marsh Award this week) healthy to remain an elite club. The Habs have dropped five of their last six.

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“Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

A disastrous trip through Western Canada (0-3) means the Rangers have dropped eight of their last 11. In a year they can win it all, coach Alain Vigneault is getting testy, and centre Jarret Stoll has been waived.

Previous: 7


“You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule.” – Darth Vader

The pain of the Blues’ ugly three-game losing skid (which included losses to Toronto and Florida) was soothed somewhat by a shutout of the rabid Dallas offence.

Previous: 11


“At last we will have revenge.” – Darth Maul

The overachieving Devils hold a wild-card position while the Penguins and Lightning do not. And the “Cory Schneider for MVP” campaign has begun, thanks to GM Ray Shero.

Previous: 20


“You are unwise to lower your defences.” – Darth Vader

The Senators allowed 27 shots in one period versus Montreal in a big rivalry game, a franchise record. Goalie Craig Anderson stopped 25 of them but was furious while doing so. To the surprise of no one, the Sens lost.

Previous: 9


“Yoda holds you in such high esteem. Surely you can do better!” – Count Dooku

With captain Steven Stamkos goal-bitten (nadda in his last 10 games) and 2014-15 star Tyler Johnson hurt, the Lightning have tumbled out of a playoff spot.

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“You will find that it is you who are mistaken… about a great many things.” – Emperor Palpatine

The Avalanche are widely viewed as the worst team in the toughest division. So how come they are 7-2 against Central Division rivals this season?

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“You have hate, you have anger… but you don’t use them.” – Count Dooku

Wayne Simmonds says nothing short of a Cup will satisfy Flyers fans, who must be infuriated with the inconsistency here. Philly will get hot and beat the Preds, Rangers and Blues — but then lose 4-1 to Columbus.

Previous: 26


“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Darth Vader

The magic of the Preds’ October has dwindled, but Nashville is still clinging to a wild card position.

Previous: 14


“The Force is strong with you.” – Darth Sidious

Due to a soft division, a five-game winning streak and some stellar play from Taylor Hall, Edmonton is playing meaningful games at Christmas for the first time since we can remember.

Previous: 23


“We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life.” – C-3PO

Yet another injury to play-maker Logan Couture, and the Sharks find themselves in a knot with Vancouver, Arizona, Calgary and Edmonton in the Pacific Division. One point separates four teams.

Previous: 15


“One thing’s for sure, we’re all going to be a lot thinner.” – Han Solo

A recent report leaked the contract demands for Jets stars Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba. Combined, they’re asking for more than $152 million on their new deals.

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“You don’t know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your life.” — Governor Tarkin

GM Jim Rutherford fired coach Mike Johnston. Now it’s firmly on the players to turn this ship around, right?

Previous: 13


“If there’s a bright centre to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.” – Luke Skywalker

Moments of hope in Buffalo get squashed when they roll out to Western Canada and lose to everybody. Still plenty of pieces needed here.

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“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” – Obi Wan Kenobi

Jeff Skinner is all flames these days: two hat tricks in three outings. But we find it odd that a rebuilding team well out of contention won’t lend Noah Hanifin to Team USA for the world juniors.

Previous: 30


“Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.” – C-3PO

The Coyotes’ tenuous hold on a playoff position shouldn’t last now that Mike Smith is injured. Also: Their minus-14 goal differential is a bad look.

Previous: 27


“You’re breaking my heart! And you’re going down a path I cannot follow!” – Padme

How did we get here? Thirty games in the season and the supposedly mighty Ducks are in last place in the Western Conference? So much money is tied up in forwards here, and yet Anaheim is the only club averaging less than two goals per game. (1.9).

Previous: 21


“Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” – Obi Wan Kenobi

Operation Rebuild is right on schedule. The 29th-place Leafs are giving a respectable effort and still losing.

Previous: 24


“It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar

Vancouver had a hot start and has been getting great work out of the Sedins again, yet the supporting cast just isn’t good enough. Another tease season. The Canucks have lost seven of their last nine.

Previous: 25


“Mmm. Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.” – Yoda

A benched Ryan Johansen. A players-only meeting. A coach who says he’s been “embarrassed” by the team’s effort.

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(statistics via NHL.com, SN Stats)