Local Hockey Power Rankings- Week 10
We’ve made it all the way to week 10 of the hockey season and not much has changed from last week. The Flyers and Rangers battle for the top for the second straight week, the Islanders continue to struggle a little bit after losing their lengthy point streak and the Devils are still bad. This week, we had four voters including myself.
1. Philadelphia Flyers: 14 points (2 first-place votes) Last Week: 1
Record: 17-8-5 (2-1-0 last week) Week MVP: Scott Laughton
Before games played on Dec. 9, the Philadelphia Flyers sit one point back of the New York Islanders for second place in the Metropolitan Division. A team that was inconsistent for most of the year has found success as of late. They began their all-home week with a 6-1 drubbing of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After Travis Dermott tied the game just over eight and half minutes into the final frame, Philly rattled off five straight goals in the last 10 minutes of play. Not to be forgotten, Carter Hart stopped 27 of 28 shots. On Dec. 5, the Flyers saw their five-game win streak come to an end as Phil Kessel led the Coyotes to a 3-1 win. Darcy Kuemper held a shutout for over 55 minutes in this game for Arizona before Matt Niskanen pulled the Flyers within one. It was too little too late, however, as Kessel would ice the game with an empty netter. Philadelphia finished the week against Ottawa where Scott Laughton would play the hero. 11 seconds after Anthony Duclair tied the game with exactly five minutes to go in the third, Laughton potted his fourth of the year, pouncing on the rebound of a Kevin Hayes shot to put the Flyers up for good. It was a nice week at home for Philly as they prepare to head out on the road next week with games in Colorado and Minnesota.
2. New York Rangers: 13 points (2 first-place votes) Last Week: 2
Record: 15-11-3 (2-2-0 last week) Week MVP: Alexandar Georgiev
It was a .500 week for the Blueshirts who find themselves just four points out of a playoff spot before games played on Dec. 9. They started the week with a 4-1 loss at home to Vegas in a game where Alex Tuch set the tone with two goals in the first four minutes. One of the highlights of the week was Artemi Panarin’s return to Columbus on Dec. 5. The Breadman found the back of the net for the eventual game-winning goal in the second period. Not to be overshadowed, Alexandar Georgiev stopped 45 of 47 shots in a 3-2 win. Back at the Garden the next night, the Rangers found themselves in a tight matchup with the Montreal Canadiens thanks to another fantastic performance from Georgiev. Unfortunately for New York, it was not to be as 35-year-old Nate Thompson scored the Habs’ second goal on their 33rd and final shot of the game. The final was 2-1. New York would bounce back once again in Vegas for their second meeting of the week with the Golden Knights. Revenge is a dish best served in the opponent’s building and the Rangers gave it to them, scoring early and often en route to a 5-0 win and a 38 save shutout for Georgiev. Next up for the Rangers is the annual California road trip as they face the Kings, Sharks and Ducks this week.
3. New York Islanders: 9 points. Last Week: 3
Record: 19-7-2 (2-2-0 last week) Week MVP: Anthony Beauvillier
It’s been difficult for the Islanders since their 17-game point streak was ended back in late November. The struggles continued this week. After defeating the Red Wings in Detroit thanks to Anthony Beauvillier’s game-winning goal in the first period. Beauvillier became the 12th different Islander with a game-winning goal, a number that leads the NHL. The final was 4-1. New York looked to keep up the momentum in Montreal facing a Canadiens team that had been winless in their past nine contests. Phillip Danault got the scoring started with one second left in the first and Nick Suzuki put the Habs up three before the Islanders could get one past Carey Price. Ultimately, Shea Weber’s empty netter sealed the deal in a 4-2 loss for the Islanders. They came home on Dec. 5 to face the Golden Knights and came out on top in a back-and-forth affair. Ryan Pulock got the overtime winner to extend the Islanders’ home point streak to 12 games. New York finished the week in Dallas and, just like Montreal, the Stars went up 3-0 before the Islanders could score in the third period. Those were the only goals of the game as New York dropped the opener of a three-game road trip. The Islanders will look for a consistent week when they head to Florida for games against the Lightning and Panthers before heading home to face the Sabres.
4. New Jersey Devils: 4 points. Last Week: 4
Record: 9-15-5 (0-3-1 last week) Week MVP: Taylor Hall
A day following a 7-1 destruction at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 2, the Devils fired head coach John Hynes and replaced him with assistant coach Alain Nasreddine. Things didn’t get much better. In his coaching debut, Nasreddine’s squad went up 2-1 after two periods against the Golden Knights. In the third period, however, Jonathan Marchessault scored a natural hat-trick in the first 10 minutes to give Vegas a lead they would never relinquish and a 4-3 win. On Dec. 6, the Devils welcomed in the Chicago Blackhawks in a game that went all the way to a shootout before 2019 third-overall pick Kirby Dach scored in the fifth round of the shootout and 2019 first-overall pick Jack Hughes was stopped by Corey Crawford to end it. It was the first time New Jersey has played more than 60 minutes since Nov. 16. Their final game of the week was PK Subban’s return to Nashville. Unfortunately for him and his team, they were playing from behind for much of the game and ultimately lost 6-4. Subban was -3. It’s a new era for the Devils with their new coach. Many changes are sure to come and it will be interesting to see what happens beginning this week. Three more road games await the Devils this week in Dallas, Colorado and Arizona.