The NHL season has almost been a month old now. Some teams are off to scorching starts and other teams are off to slow starts. Luckily for the teams that are off to slow starts, it is a marathon and not a sprint.
Who are the top 10 teams entering the fourth week of the NHL season?
10. Pittsburgh Penguins: Even though they have lost three straight games, Pittsburgh has been in every game. This team is one of the best in the NHL. They are so badly banged up right now that defenseman Jusso Riikola had to play fourth line forward. This team has Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry between the pipes and goaltending actually has been a strength for this team right now. The first line in Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Dominik Simon is relatively healthy. Evgeni Malkin, Jared McCann, Nick Bjgustad, Bryan Rust, and Alex Galchenyuk are all hurt at forward right now. Kris Letang has been very good on the back end so far this season. In 11 games so far this season, he has scored four goals and recorded six assists. His plus/minus is 3. Brian Dumoulin is also hurt on the back end. John Marino is a good defenseman and Jack Johnson needs to be traded. Pittsburgh currently sits in third place in the Metropolitan Division with a 6-5 record with 12 points. They have scored 36 goals and have given up 30 goals so far this season. Last week’s ranking: 5.
9. Nashville Predators: The Nashville Predators are starting to generate some offense under Head Coach Peter Laviolette. Nashville has scored 38 goals in nine games played so far this season. They sit in second place in the Central Division with a 5-3-1 record with 11 points. The Predators have a huge game on the road on Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ryan Ellis has scored one goal and has recorded 11 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 8. Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg has each scored five goals so far this season. Last week’s ranking: not ranked.
8. Edmonton Oilers: Other than Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and James Neal, is there really much to offer for this Edmonton hockey team? At some point, they could potentially spin off but they won’t as of right now. The Edmonton Oilers are playing hard every night, but the bottom six might be one of the worst in the league. Edmonton currently sits in first place in the Pacific Division with a 7-2-1 record with 15 points. They have scored 31 goals so far this season and they have given up 24. Edmonton also has a huge game at home on Thursday night against the Washington Capitals. Connor McDavid has scored five goals and has recorded 12 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 4. Leon Draisaitl has scored six goals and has recorded 10 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 4. James Neal has scored nine goals and has recorded one assist so far this season. His plus/minus is 1. Last week’s ranking: 4.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto is one of the most talented teams in the NHL, but yet they are one of the most inconsistent. John Tavares is sidelined right now with a broken finger and he hopes to be back soon. The defense is still suspect and there is always an uproar whenever they lose. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a big game on the road on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. Auston Matthews leads the team in goals with eight and Mitchell Marner and Morgan Reilly each have nine assists so far this season. Frederik Andersen has been extremely shake in net so far this season for Toronto. His record is 5-2-1 with a .901 save percentage and a 3.19 GAA. The Maple Leafs currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division and their record so far this season is 5-4-2 with 12 points. They have scored 40 goals and they have given up 39 goals so far this season. Last week’s ranking: 7.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa Bay is human after all. They won a huge game at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on Wednesday night by a score of 3-2. Victor Hedman scored the game-winning goal with 56 seconds remaining in regulation. He has scored two goals and has recorded six assists so far this season. His plus/minus is -2. Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded 37 saves in that game. They have a huge game at home on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies in the league. The Lightning sit in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 5-3-1 record so far this season. Tampa Bay has scored 32 goals and has given up 29 goals so far this season. Last week’s ranking: 8.
5. Washington Capitals: Washington has won their last four games. Even though they have one of the best records in the league to start at 7-2-2 with 16 points, the Capitals have not been in the spotlight that much. Washington is currently in first place in the Metropolitan Division again. The Washington Capitals continue to find ways to dominate in the regular season. They are currently on a five-game road trip. Washington won their last two games by a score of 5-3 against the Calgary Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Capitals play the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night, the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night, and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. John Carlson already has 20 points in 11 games. He is on pace for 100 points and it would be amazing to see a defenseman accomplish that feat. Alex Ovechkin continues to light the lamp and he has scored seven goals so far this season and so has T.J. Oshie. Ilya Samsanov is stealing the starting job at some point for this hockey club. His record is 3-1 so far this season with a .933 save percentage and a 1.84 GAA. Braden Holtby is on a contract year and his record is 4-1-2 so far this season with a .884 save percentage and a 3.60 GAA. Washington has scored 41 goals and they have given up 34 goals so far this season. Last week’s ranking: 6.
4. Carolina Hurricanes: Even though they sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 6-3 record and 12 points so far this season, Carolina has not played much recently. This will be their first game since last Friday night. The Hurricanes were on a two-game losing streak, but they hope to snap it on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Carolina has scored 30 goals so far this season and they have given up 25. Rob Brind’Amour has been a tremendous head coach for this hockey club. Dougie Hamilton leads the team with 10 points (five goals and five assists). His plus/minus is eight so far this season. Last week’s ranking: 3.
3. Buffalo Sabres: The Buffalo Sabres sit atop of the Atlantic Division with a 8-1-1 record so far this season. Buffalo is playing really well for new Head Coach Ralph Krueger so far this season. The Sabres will continue to have a soft schedule, but what is going to happen when they play the elite teams? Buffalo crashed in the second-half of the season last year and that is why David Poille got fired after last year. Jack Eichel has scored six goals and he has recorded eight assists so far this season. His plus/minus is -1. They have scored 38 goals and they have given up 24 goals so far this season. Last week’s ranking: 9.
2. Boston Bruins: The Boston Bruins will play the St. Louis Blues at home on Saturday night for the first time since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals back in June. For St. Louis, they hope that the visiting locker room will still smell like champagne to them, but Boston hopes it doesn’t happen. This team is really good defensively, but they have struggled to score big time. The Bruins have one really good line in Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak. They have combined for 39 points and 17 of the 26 goals scored. Boston has only given up 20 goals so far this season. The Boston Bruins are better balanced than the Buffalo Sabres are. Boston currently sits in second place in the Atlantic Division with a 6-1-2 record and 14 points. Last week’s ranking: 2.
1. Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche might have the best roster and balance in the NHL right now. Colorado sits in first place in the Central Division with a 7-1-1 record with 15 points. They have scored 36 goals and have given up 24 goals so far this season. Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each have scored five goals and recorded seven assists so far this season. They also have a plus/minus of one. Andre Burakovsky has scored four goals and has recorded four assists so far this season. His plus/minus is four so far this season. Cale Makar leads the team with eight assists. Samuel Girard and Ian Cole each have recorded four assists so far this season. The goaltending duo between Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz has been very solid so far this season. Grubauer’s record so far this season is 5-1-1 with a .915 save percentage and a 2.82 GAA. Francouz’s record so far this season is 2-0 with a .951 save percentage and a 1.95 GAA. Jared Bednar is a tremendous head coach. Last week’s ranking: 1.