NHL Power Rankings: What happened to Boston?

Top NHL plays from a week marred with tragedy, because as Canadians, we can always look to the hockey rinks to unite us, excite us, and even help heal us.

The Boston Bruins — a perennial powerhouse, making mincemeat out of the weaker conference — set up shop in the penthouse of our weekly rankings last season, seldom leaving the top five let alone the top 10. The B’s went on to claim the Presidents’ Trophy, losing just 19 games all season.

Things have changed, and fast. The Bruins are below .500 at the one-eighth pole of 2014-15, sitting in fifth place in their division, and are on pace for an abysmal 45 losses.

Now, we don’t actually think the losses will compile at the same rate. But according to Sportsnet’s research crew, since 2005-06 68.1% of teams that were in a playoff position at the one-tenth mark of the season go on to make the post-season.

That Boston traded one of its best blueliners, Johnny Boychuk, to a team now ahead of them in the standings and lost one of its best scorers, Jarome Iginla, in free agency hasn’t helped matters. (Who regrets Iggy’s departure more, Boston or Jarome? Discuss amongst yourselves.)

But what's worse is the loss of top defencemen Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug for about a month each.

Just when things couldn't look worse for Boston, however, their schedule provides relief. The next six games are against teams that failed to make the playoffs last year. Could they be next week's big jumper?

Here are your weekly NHL power rankings.

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Rank Team

Last week we went on about how great Frederik Andersen was playing in net, and now rookie John Gibson comes into Chicago and pitches a shutout. Your NHL leaders are more than just the ridiculous Getzlaf-Perry combo, although with 24 combined points they’re doing their part.

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The hardest team to score against (1.67 goals against) also deploys the league’s deadliest forward line: Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter. Maybe an injury to Anze Kopitar (day to day, upper body) is the hockey gods’ way of leveling the playing field just a bit.

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After a horrific blown lead to the Rangers, the Wild responded with a nice third-period comeback in Boston. The NHL’s most consistent team still hasn’t lost a game by more than a one-goal margin.

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It took seven attempts, but Carey Price finally got his first career win in the province of Alberta. Price leads all goalies with seven victories and is Exhibit A in the case for why the Habs lead the Eastern Conference.

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Already scary up front, the Lightning got a nice boost with the return of Alex Killorn, and they’ll get another when Ryan Callahan hops back in the lineup. The Bolts have already exploded for seven goals twice this season.

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After consecutive losses to the Flyers and Wings, Pittsburgh exploded for 11 goals in two games, beating up the Preds and Devils — two teams that traditionally pride themselves on defence.

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Despite all that skill at the forward position, Chicago has been limited to two goals or fewer in each of its last four outings. Antti Raanta and Scott Darling have been terrific in relief of the injured Corey Crawford, but help these guys out, boys.

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The last team to lose in regulation this season has points in eight of nine. And James Neal showed his new club what’s he’s capable of when he hung a hat trick on Chicago.

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Ryan Miller already has six wins, and the top line of Radim Vrbata and the Sedin brothers is on fire. Take a bow, Mr. Benning. Ticket sales may be down, but the ‘Nucks are 3-1-0 at home.

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The one team that can’t seem to beat Buffalo is able to whip the Ducks 4-1. When you figure San Jose out, please let us know.

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Simple formula here: If the Sens score three goals, they win the game. When the offence can’t support a top-eight defence, however, they run into trouble.

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Yes, they still need help in their own zone, but opponents don’t want to get into a horse race with the Flyers, whose three victims on their current winning streak are no slouches: L.A., Detroit, Pittsburgh. Philly averaged four goals in each of those games.

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Who’s Brock Nelson? The Isles’ other centre, the one with a team-leading six goals and 12 points. When teams talk about secondary scoring, they dream of a guy outpacing John Tavares — at any point in the season.

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With seven points through his last five games, 34-year-old Henrik Zetterberg is doing just fine, thank you very much.

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Washington has dropped two in a row, and Alex Ovechkin hasn’t scored a point in five games. That’s the longest drought of his career, but at least he’s back-checking.

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That Vladimir Tarasenko kid is something, isn’t he? Huge back-to-back wins this week for St. Louis over division rivals Chicago and Dallas, topped off by a Tarasenko hatty. Starting to look like the team we used to know.

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Your early Art Ross leader, Tyler Seguin, recorded his 100th career goal this week, becoming the first player drafted in 2010 to hit triple digits. Tough string on deck for Dallas as the Stars get set to face the Ducks, Wild, Kings, Predators and Sharks.

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Putting the “blue” in blueline. Johnny Boychuk’s departure. Zdeno Chara’s month-long (minimum) injury. And now Tory Krug’s broken finger. Can’t remember the last the Bruins were under .500 11 games into a season.

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This is what happens when a small sample size enlarges. Losing three of four, the Flames have cooled considerably. That said, Dennis Wideman (team-high five goals), T. J. Brodie (team-high plus-6) and Mark Giordano have been terrific.

Previous: 17


Toronto juggled its top six, and the offence exploded late against the Sabres, calling off the dogs — for the time being. But Joffrey Lupul isn’t getting any bounces (6.9 shooting percentage), and Nazem Kadri can’t be happy with two points in nine games.

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A suspension to John Moore provided an isolated dark spot for a team that owns the NHL’s top goal-scorer (Rick Nash) and has four wins in their last five tries. Also: That Anthony Duclair kid is looking NHL-ready, no?

Previous: 18


Top scorer Mike Cammalleri is day-to-day with a jaw injury, and the Devils’ hot start has been squashed by losses in five of their last six, including an 8-3 face-slap by the Penguins.

Previous: 19


Buoyed by the sublime play of Ben Scrivens — one the NHL’s three stars of the week — Edmonton has turned things around, winning four straight before losing to the Preds at home. What’s this? Nail Yakupov is getting credit for his defence.

Previous: 26


Dustin Byfuglien (plus-4 on a minus-5 team) has been a beast, and Bryan Little has been reliable up front, but the Jets’ lack of depth is showing. Good news is, Evander Kane (knee) is back skating.

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Nathan Horton, Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Matt Calvert, Artem Anisimov, James Wisniewski and Sergei Bobrovsky are all hurt. No wonder they’ve lost three straight. Hey, 29 other teams: You don’t get to complain about injuries, OK?

Previous: 14


The ineptitude of the Cats’ 29th-ranked offence (1.43 goals per game) is underscored by the fact no Florida player has scored more than twice this season. Simply no firepower here.

Previous: 25


The Avs have fewer points (eight) than any other Western Conference team at the 10-game mark (Arizona has one less point, but two games in hand). Real concern is setting in. Is this a playoff team? With all those young guns upfront, the Avs rank 26th in goals and 22nd with the man-advantage.

Previous: 27


Too bad they can’t play all 60 minutes five-on-four. The Coyotes wield the league’s second-best power-play but rank dead last in the West in five-on-five play.

Previous: 24


“I’ll take ‘World’s Most Obvious Tank Jobs’ for $100, Alex.” The Sabres had just 10 shots on net versus Toronto Tuesday.

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They got one Staal back, but they’re still the only NHL team in search of a victory.

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