It’s worth noting during this spooky time of year that the word scary means different things to different people.
Some are drawn toward frightful chills like a moth toward a Jack-O-Lantern flame; they embrace the anxiety of watching a slasher flick and realizing OH MY GOD THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!
On the other hand, some people established their aversion to all things horror when Michael Jackson’s transformation into a creature of the night in the Thriller video prompted them to slam their eyes shut, cover their ears and hide behind the couch.
Just four-year-old me?
Different types of scary are happening all over the NHL. So for this power ranking on the eve of Halloween, we figured why not identify the single scariest thing -- either from the perspective of its supporters or haters -- about every NHL squad right now.
1. Florida Panthers (7-0-0)
Like a knife-wielding madman jolting upright at the end of a movie, Sergei Bobrovsky is back! After two years of struggling in Florida, “Bob” is 5-0-0 with a .946 save percentage.
2. Carolina Hurricanes (5-0-0)
Nobody does revenge like Carolina. The Canes delighted in taking out Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s former team in Montreal, then kicked Freddy Andersen’s old mates in Toronto when they were down.
3. St. Louis Blues (5-0-0)
The Blues found a top-shelf NHL sniper buried in their own basement. Vladimir Tarasenko -- who scored seven total goals during his past two injury-marred campaigns -- has two goals and four points in his past two contests. We haven’t heard much about trade demands recently.
4. Edmonton Oilers (5-1-1)
In addition to their two nuclear weapons, four other Oilers -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujarvi, Zach Hyman and Zack Kassian -- are playing at a point-per-game clip this season. That won’t continue, but it still bodes well for improving this club’s depth.
5. Minnesota Wild (5-1-0)
There’s clearly some witchcraft involved here because the Wild appear to have skipped the part where they actually rebuild and just skipped ahead to being super competitive.
6. Calgary Flames (4-1-1)
They’ll hunt you down in your own house and go to work. Calgary is 4-0-0 in the past week, with four road victories. That said, the scariest thing about this club will always be the notion of Darryl Sutter being mad at you.
7. Washington Capitals (4-0-3)
Alex Ovechkin is simply going to haunt goalies until the end of time. The 36-year-old leads the NHL with eight goals and has found the back of the net in all but one of Washington’s seven outings.
8. Tampa Bay Lighting (3-3-1)
Maybe this team doesn’t feel anything until the post-season, but Bolts fans have to be a bit spooked by the fact it took seven tries to earn a regulation-time victory.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1-2)
The Pens are picking up points while two Hall-of-Fame calibre centres heal up in the closet, waiting for the perfect time to spring out and terrorize the league.
10. New York Islanders (3-2-1)
The fear here is the Islanders simply never give up a goal again. After a rough start to the year, Ilya Sorokin has posted back-to-back shutouts. Meanwhile, Semyon Varlamov is ready to re-join the squad and form a super-charged goaltending battery that backstops this relentless club.
11. Vegas Golden Knights (3-4-0)
Has this team really managed to find another front-line centre from the scrapheap? William Karlsson was a revelation after being taken in the expansion draft, and now Chandler Stephenson -- a Caps third-rounder acquired by Vegas for a fifth two years ago -- has seven points in seven games while skating without his usual high-end linemates Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone.
12. Boston Bruins (3-2-0)
What could be scarier for the B’s than contemplating life after Patrice Bergeron? The UFA-to-be has so many hard miles on that 36-year-old frame, would it be a complete shock if he hung ’em up next summer?
13. Colorado Avalanche (2-4-0)
Only two teams are giving up more goals per game than the Avs. Nobody needs to hide under the bed just yet, but that’s still not how you draw it up the year after losing Vezina nominee Philipp Grubauer.
14. Philadelphia Flyers (3-1-1)
This offence should strike fear in the hearts of opponents.
15. Detroit Red Wings (4-2-1)
Can’t you just picture GM Steve Yzerman in a lab coat, a mad scientist cackling to himself, an evil genius who knows he’s a few tweaks and turns from unleashing another perennial contender on the world?
16. New York Rangers (4-2-1)
The special teams are a house of horrors -- the Rangers rank 22nd on the PK and 29th on the PP.
17. Toronto Maple Leafs (3-4-1)
Talk about a nobody-is-safe situation! Okay, the reigning Rocket Richard winner is probably good, along with a couple of his super-talented buddies. Other than that, though, what happens if next week is as bad as the past seven days?
18. Winnipeg Jets (3-2-1)
Once again, this team surrenders high-danger chances at an alarming rate. It’s like they’re knowingly inviting the killer into their kitchen!
19. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-2-0)
You kinda just can’t stop these guys. They lose a No. 1 C at the start of last year, then a No. 1 D in the summer, yet here they are -- with new coach Brad Larsen -- giving opponents fits, just like always.
20. Buffalo Sabres (4-1-1)
We love this story, but we’re a little afraid of where it goes when Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski stop being a .946 duo.
21. San Jose Sharks (4-2-0)
Is the ride already over? Maybe a four-game homestand after a long roadie will get these surprising Sharks back on the hunt.
22. Vancouver Canucks (3-3-1)
The underlying numbers say this team is lucky to be .500. What’s scarier than foreboding sports math?
23. Dallas Stars (3-3-1)
They’re paying Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn nearly $20-million combined (in terms of cap hit) to just not have it on too many nights.
24. New Jersey Devils (3-2-0)
The idea of Jack Hughes -- who started the year so hot -- missing any more time with a separated shoulder is worthy of a shudder. We just want to see this kid cook for a whole season!
25. Nashville Predators (3-4-0)
If you’re a Preds fan, is the scariest thing about your team the idea it’s going to be stuck in no man's land for the foreseeable future? Not bad enough to draft high, not nearly good enough to do anything other than squeak into the playoffs?
26. Ottawa Senators (2-4-0)
Right now, the notion of Matt Murray being on the sidelines is more than a little scary given how goalies Anton Forsberg and Filip Gustavsson have looked in his absence.
27. Seattle Kraken (2-4-1)
They’ve turned Brandon Tanev loose! Not only is he hitting everybody in sight, but the undersized terror also has five goals this year.
28. Anaheim Ducks (2-4-1)
The Ducks played three games in the past seven days and gave up at least four goals in each of them. That kind of defence turns a coach pale.
29. Los Angeles Kings (1-4-1)
Maybe what was supposed to be a step-up year is actually going to be a season from hell? Top prospect Quinton Byfield got injured before the year, now Drew Doughty is out long-term and his fellow d-man Sean Walker is done for the season.
30. Montreal Canadiens (1-6-0)
Firewagon hockey has given way to tire-fire offence: One or fewer goals in six of seven games? Cue the horrified high-pitch scream.
31. Arizona Coyotes (0-5-1)
Honestly, my fear if I’m supporting the Coyotes is that this tanking plan is all going a bit too well. Being bad is often harder than it sounds, but no wins through six games gets you just an inch closer to that coveted first overall pick.
32. Chicago Blackhawks (0-5-2)
Awful record or not, this is the only place to put this team today.