Hockey World Blog

Hockey World Blog NHL Power Rankings: Playoff Week 3

The first round is coming to an end in the next couple days. The Red Wings, Capitals, and Predators have already advanced while other teams still have 1-2 games remaining in their series. If there was anything to be taken away from the first round this playoff season, it would be the large amount of wins by the road team and large amount of 3-4 goal deficits being erased. As I am writing this, there are two game 7’s being played Tuesday night. Vancouver can complete the biggest choke job in league history should they lose at home against Chicago and Buffalo will try to win on the road at Philadelphia. Detroit was the first team to advance and they could potentially have as much as 8-9 days off before playing again. We have also seen a streak of six consecutive days with an overtime game, with the visiting team winning seven of the nine games played in the last week. Boston is the only team to win multiple overtime games in the last week.

Rank Team (LW) Team Notes
1 DET (2) They get the top spot being the only team to sweep in the playoffs. They flipped on the switch and dominated the Coyotes. They will be even better as Henrik Zetterberg will return and Johan Franzen should as well for round 2.
2 WAS (4) Despite losing game 4, they failed to allow the Rangers to get in the series as they won in 5 games. The got the demon of playoff woes behind them and they can now focus on advancing to the Conference finals against an opponent yet to be determined.
3 BOS (16) If you told me last week Boston would win three straight against Montreal, I wouldn’t know if Boston finally showed up or Montreal choked away the series. The Bruins need 1 more road win to complete the comeback.
4 NSH (5) Congrats to the Preds and coach Barry Trotz for their first ever series win in franchise history. Friday night’s game 5 was one of the more exciting final minutes of a game this playoff season. Depending on who they play next, they won’t be a pushover.
5  CHI (15) They have turned into the Blackhawks of 2010. They have mounted a comeback against Vancouver to tie the series 3-3 as they head to Vancouver for game 7. All the momentum is riding in their favor as Vancouver is trying to figure out how to win a hockey game.
6 PHI (11) The goalie roulette game should stop. Despite them having a 2-1 record this series where they changed goalies, Peter Laviolette needs to pick one goalie and stick with him. Who will get the start in game 7?
7 TB (8) The Bolts stayed alive in the playoffs thanks to an 8-2 spanking of Pittsburgh in game 5. They return home tonight where they have to fend off elimination for the second straight night. The Lightning have scored eight power-play goals in the series and posted a 36.4 power-play percentage against the top penalty-killing team during the regular season.
8 PIT (10)  Could the Penguins play a little too cautiously going into game 6? They got ran out of the rink in game 5 and will have to score early and often to put away the Lightning. History says the Penguins had better win this contest. The Penguins are 2-7 all-time when Game 7 of a series is played in Pittsburgh. Also, in team history, the team that wins Game 6 of a series has ultimately won Game 7 nine out of 10 times.
9 SJ (9) They are on the road tonight for game six. Should they win, they will likely face the Red Wings depending on how Vancouver and Chicago shake out. They are under no pressure, except for the fact San Jose is 3-13 all-time in Game 6 of a playoff series and 2-9 on the road.
10 LA (7) Should the Kings lose tonight, they will look back on the missed opportunity in game 3 when they let a four-goal lead slip away. But now they are at home in game 6, they have to focus and find a way to get to Anti Niemi the way they did in game 5 when they scored 3 goals in the first 8:42.
11 MTL (3)  Having lost twice in overtime to the Bruins, they might feel dejected. But they are heading home for game six. The extra rest today might help for tomorrow’s game six, because they will suit up the very next night in Boston for game seven.
12 VAN (1) They are risking being branded choke artists if they can’t seal the deal against Chicago. I am afraid that if the Canucks lose game 7, fans in Vancouver will riot and tear up the streets. I kinda don’t blame them as they won the President’s Trophy and was expected to contend for the Stanley Cup.
13  ANA (14)  The newest member of the elimination club, the Ducks simply couldn’t recover from having a one-goal lead in the final minute of game five in which the Predators scored twice in a span of 2:33 between the end of regulation and overtime. If Teemu Selanne retires, he would go out on a high note as he tied Joffrey Lupul as both scored six goals in a playoff series. Lupul did his against Colorado in a four-game sweep in 2006.
14  BUF (6)  The Sabres are ranked this low this week because they failed to take advantage of the carousel of Flyers goalies and finally put them away. Buffalo cannot afford to get behind in game seven because the Sabres are 1-5 in game 7’s in franchise history, including a 0-4 record on the road. Derek Roy is supposed to play tomorrow, but could he be enough to save them?
15 NYR (12)  Just like the Sabres, what doomed the Rangers was failing to seal the deal after having a multi-goal lead. Game four was the game that blown their chance to extend the series as there was going to be small chance of winning game five on the road. They need to find a way to score on the power play as they went 1-20 against Washington. Bench boss John Tortorella will be around next season and beyond as it’s reported he will receive a contract extension.
16 PHO (13) Who is the goalie in net for the Coyotes and what have they done with Ilya Bryzgalov? His regular season stat line: 2.48 GAA and a .920 save percentage in 68 games. In four playoff games: 4.36 GAA and a .880 save percentage. You can’t blame it all on the goalie, but you can blame the players for becoming flustered and trying to beat up the Red Wings in games three and four instead of trying to beat them. It also didn’t help that off-ice drama surrounding the team was becoming a distraction.

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