Hockey World Blog

NHL Power 5: February 5

Some things change, and some things stay the same. This week’s Power 5 is the same at the top, but there are some moves to be made down the list. At the beginning of the season I thought the Power 5 would largely change throughout the season as teams are playing so many games in a condensed amount of time. But have I been proven wrong as for the third straight week No. 1 spot remains unchanged.

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1. Chicago (LW: 1)- The Blackhawks may no longer have a perfect record, but they did manage to claim points in their last 2 games with losses via shootout. They did bounce back with a win over the lowly Calgary Flames which will give them confidence going into tonight’s match-up against San Jose. This is easily the best game of the week and it could give us a future foreshadow to a conference final series in the playoffs. It would be a big help if they get Dave Bolland back in the lineup as he was injured during the game against Vancouver Friday night.

2. San Jose (LW: 3)- Just like Chicago, San Jose dropped their first game of the season on shootout fashion against Nashville. The Sharks have the top line in the league in Marleau-Pavelski-Thornton, but they were held off the score sheet against Nashville. They can’t afford to go cold against Chicago if they expect to win. Also what works in their favor against Chicago is they have allowed the fewest goals in the league in addition to having the second-best goal differential. After the tough Anaheim-Chicago games back-to-back, they will have 3 days off before hosting Phoenix Saturday afternoon.

*San Jose played Anaheim Monday night  after the Power 5 was completed.

3. Tampa Bay (LW: NR)- The Bolts have scored a lot of goals this season. They have the best goal-differential at +18, aided by four players with at least 11 points (Stephen Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Cory Conacher and Vincent Lecavalier). They managed to score 15 goals in three games last week, more than Nashville in eight games. Today they begin a streak of seven games in 12 days where they will play every other day. The first four and five of the seven are on the road, and this would be a perfect chance to get goalie Mathieu Garon some work to keep Anders Lindback fresh.

4. Montreal (LW: NR)- I have to give much props to Max Pacioretty, as he underwent an emergency appendectomy and was supposed to miss 3-4 weeks. But he was back in the lineup just over a week later and recorded an assist during their win over Ottawa Sunday. They have been playing some solid hockey as of late. This is a 180-degree turnaround from last season where they started the season 1-5-2 and could never move up the conference standings. I am however concerned at how will they perform away from home considering they got beat pretty soundly by Ottawa Wednesday night. Six of their first eight games have been at home, which will only come back to bite them with more away games later in the season.

5. Pittsburgh (LW: NR)- After scoring once in a loss to New York Islanders, the Penguins managed to catch fire and score 14 goals in the other three games this week. Capped by a four-goal performance by Chris Kunitz against Washington, Kunitz earned the league-wide three stars award for his performance Sunday. This week, the Pens first have the rematch against the Islanders and will see the return of Colin McDonald after his short suspension. Sidney Crosby will be the X-factor in tonight’s game, with Crosby having 20 goals and 67 points in 37 career games versus New York – his most against any opponent. Pittsburgh is 16-2-0 against the Islanders when Crosby has at least two points. They finish out the weekend with a back-to-back series with New Jersey.

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