NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes, Golden Knights and Bruins open season as the league's elite teams
It's the Carolina Hurricanes and everyone else right now. And then the Sharks
We're officially one week into a new NHL season and you know what that means... it's time for overreactions! Your favorite team is undefeated out of the gate? Oh boy, better block off your first half of June because Stanley Cup Final here we come. Your team has gotten off to a slow start and lost a couple of games? BLOW. IT. UP.
In all seriousness, hockey is a very dumb and unpredictable sport sometimes. I mean, the St. Louis Blues were in dead-last place at the turn of the calendar year last season and they raised a Stanley Cup banner to kick off this one. The pure unreliability of the sport is part of what makes it so beautiful.
But it's also part of what makes early season takeaways so tough. Every year there seems to be a few teams that sputter out of the gate, leaving everyone worried before they finally start putting it together. Conversely, there are some teams that catch us by surprise with strong play before we find out it wasn't quite sustainable.
There's plenty of hockey left for things to go right, or go wrong. Your favorite team will be okay... unless of course they won't be. After one week, we can only assess based on our own pre-existing expectations and an insanely small sample size. It's difficult!
So, basically, what I'm saying is this: Thank you for visiting the first CBS Sports NHL Power Rankings post of the season, but this is all so very meaningless right now. Enjoy!
|1||Hurricanes||If anyone expected Carolina to be one-and-one after last year, this hot start should plant serious doubts. Not only are the Hurricanes 4-0-0, but they've completed dominated play for long stretches. I mean, they held the Lightning (the Lightning!) to two shots in 40+ minutes of play.||11||6-3|
|2||Golden Knights||Vegas came out of the gate and punched the Sharks in the mouth mercilessly in back-to-back games. Their lone loss came against a very strong effort from the Bruins, but the Knights have looked good across the board. Mark Stone might be a Hart candidate if he keeps this up.||3||5-3|
|3||Bruins||They only scored three goals in the first two games but their defensive efforts and goaltending were enough to make it enough. They've looked stronger with each passing game, including a tremendous showing against Vegas. Any time you can start the year 3-0-0 on the road, that's impressive.||1||5-1|
|4||Avalanche||Colorado came into the year with a ton of acquired hype and you wondered if that might get to their heads a little bit. Nope! Everything has looked about as good as expected, including their awesome top line.||12||6-0|
|5||Maple Leafs||The Leafs have been an incredibly entertaining team to start the year, for better or for worse. Their offensive attack is frighteningly good and Auston Matthews is going to score 100 goals. They should probably stop throwing their sticks at opponents though.||3||4-3|
|6||Blues||The defending champs once again look very solid throughout. Most importantly, Jordan Binnington has picked up right where he left off.||4||3-1|
|7||Lightning||A 1-1-1 start is certainly one way to approach changing the "just a great regular season team" narrative.||6||4-2|
|8||Capitals||They survived Evgeny Kuznetsov's three-game suspension and have secured points in each of their first four games.||5||5-2|
|9||Predators||Matt Duchene has six assists through their first three games, so he seems to be fitting in pretty well. They've gotten some early returns on the power play too, which is a nice change of pace.||2||4-3|
|10||Sabres||They've snagged points in each of their first three games and have looked really good in the process. Rasmus Dahlin is coming on strong. Jeff Skinner isn't sitting back on that new deal. Victor Olofsson is rewarding patience. Maybe we underestimated the Sabres?||20||6-1|
|11||Flames||They've had some trouble here in the early going but they looked good against Vancouver and they've still got a bunch of talent up front and on the blue line. They should be okay.||9||4-3|
|12||Oilers||I mean, if Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl stay healthy and James Neal stays on pace to score 200 goals, these guys might actually make some noise.||14||7-1|
|13||Canadiens||They're beating the Leafs and scoring on the power play, so what is there to complain about really?||2||3-2|
|14||Rangers||They're 2-0-0 and have been quite fun to watch, and that's kind of all you can hope for from a rebuilder. Mika Zibanejad for President.||13||2-3|
|15||Panthers||We all knew the Sergei Bobrovsky deal wouldn't age well but YIKES!||3||2-2|
|16||Penguins||Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad are on the Penguins' lengthy injured list already. They've looked shaky on the back end and in net. And if you thought Sidney Crosby had to do too much last year, well... hold onto your butts.||10||6-2|
|17||Red Wings||Anthony Mantha might score 50 goals, but they're probably going to want some other guys to score too.||7||3-5|
|18||Islanders||Life is a bit tougher when you don't get lights out goaltending. There should still be major concerns about their goal scoring... hanging four on the Jets isn't impressing anyone.||11||4-3|
|20||Ducks||They're 3-0-0 under Dallas Eakins and John Gibson has a .970 save percentage. Surely that's sustainable.||5||6-2|
|21||Stars||Roope Hintz has looked great but he's going to need a little bit of help around him.||4||1-7|
|22||Jets||Turns out losing almost every important member of your defense and not replacing them is bad. Throw in some bad luck with injuries and it's UGLY. If Dustin Byfuglien was on the fence about returning, watching this defense sputter around like a car with mayonnaise in its gas tank might just convince him he's better off without hockey.||9||4-5|
|23||Canucks||Their season-opening trip to Alberta didn't go so well. Two goals in two games isn't usually going to get the job done.||3||4-2|
|24||Coyotes||They still can't score goals. I know we all love Phil Kessel for being one-of-a-kind, but the Coyotes could use about six more of him.||5||3-2|
|25||Blackhawks||Lost in Europe and haven't been heard from since. Better call Liam Neeson.||3||2-2|
|26||Sharks||You could say it's been a rough start to the season for the Sharks. They've lost each of their first four games, including getting run over by Vegas twice to kick off the year. They've gone 1-for-17 on the power play and gave up three shorthanded goals in their first two games. For reference, four teams gave up three shorties or fewer through ALL OF LAST SEASON.||17||3-4|
|27||Devils||The Devils blew a four-goal lead to the Jets in the opener, then let up seven to the Sabres the next day. Cory Schneider is dealing with health issues already. Too early to talk about their chances of winning the 2020 offseason?||1||1-4|
|28||Kings||They had an exciting win over the Flames, but only because they blew three-goal lead to make it exciting. The defense and goaltending looks, shall we say, not great.||1||2-5|
|29||Wild||Not to be mean, but does anyone really care about the Wild?||6||1-6|
|30||Blue Jackets||Loyalty is at an all-time high but goal scoring and penalty killing could use a bit of work. Turns out their goaltending might not be great either. Shocking stuff.||16||3-3|
|31||Senators||Their season peaked 25 seconds into the first game when they scored on the Leafs and made Toronto pee itself for a second.||--||1-4|
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