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NHL Power 5: January 22
- Updated: January 22, 2013
It’s been a few years since we’ve done a power ranking of the top NHL teams. This year, we will bring you a simplified version of the power rankings where we list the top five teams in the league. Here is the Top 5 after the first three days of the season, next week we will see how things shake out when more games are played. Without further adieu, here are the Top 5 teams in the league this week:
1. Chicago- It’s not easy having to travel from Chicago to Los Angeles to face the defending Cup champions and travel to Phoenix the next night. But it was the Blackhawks who looked the most impressive of the teams who started the season with back-to-back games over the weekend. Marian Hossa looks like he’s in mid-season form as he already has four goals; equal to or more than four teams who played twice over the weekend. The Central Division will look very tough, with St. Louis, Detroit and Nashville all wanting to stake claim to the title. Look for all four teams to play for prime playoff spots entering the final games of the regular season.
2. Pittsburgh- James Neal and Evgeni Malkin looked very sharp and impressive this weekend. It’s not easy starting the season with an intra-state rival but the Penguins disposed of the Flyers and Rangers on the road. Now that Sidney Crosby is back healthy, this team can become very dangerous in the East. Stay tuned to see how they bounce back Sunday at Ottawa as they have to travel to Winnipeg to face the Jets Friday. Teams that will face the Jets will face some adversity with the packed schedule with little travel rest before the next game.
3. St. Louis- The West finalists played like they want to get back to the conference final after they humiliated Detroit Saturday night. Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice as he and his teammates moved the puck well and took it to the Red Wings. Jaroslav Halak looked sharp as he and Brian Elliott form the most powerful goalie duo in the league. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock will sleep easy at night knowing they have a chance to win every night no matter what goalie he starts.
4. Minnesota- The winners of the free agency sweepstakes have gotten off to a solid start with wins over Colorado and Dallas. They take on the entire Central Division over their next five games. They face Detroit and St. Louis on the road. If they are able to post a successful record against the Central, they could be well ahead of their Northwest foes. Josh Harding has looked impressive, when he recorded a shutout in his first game back after being diagnosed with MS over the summer.
5. Ottawa- The Northeast could be the most unpredictable division in the league. Paul MacLean has the Sens off to a great start. The division is wide open as every other team has their own issues which can keep them out of the playoffs in such a short season. What the first three days have shown so far is there have been a large amount of lopsided games; and the Senators have been on the wrong side of those games in recent years. This year things have looked different as they posted wins of 4-1 and 4-0. I really liked the offensive play from blueliner Erik Karlsson as he has three points in two games. Look for him to keep up this trend and rise to be among the best in the league.