Local Hockey Power Rankings- Week 12
Twas the week before Christmas and all through local hockey, the power rankings were shifting, some rising, some falling. The Flyers went undefeated while the others managed just one win apiece. We had two voters this week including the writer of this, me.
1. Philadelphia Flyers: 6 points (1 first-place vote) Last Week: 3
Record: 20-11-5 (3-0-0 last week) Week MVP: James van Riemsdyk
Last week, I said the Flyers need to step up. They did that in a big way. Philadelphia started their week with a second Hockey Fights Cancer night to stand united for Oskar Lindblom. After a touching ceremony, they came out on the ice and beat the Ducks 4-1. Carter Hart recorded 41 saves and David Kase’s first NHL goal was the game-winner. It was a game played for Lindblom and the team fed off of the energy. The energy continued throughout the rest of the week. First, Philly the Jack Eichelless Buffalo Sabres and crushed them. James van Riemsdyk scored twice as the Flyers jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two periods of play. Despite the shutout being ruined in the third, Flyers fans went home happy with a 6-1 win. Their final game of the week, in Ottawa, was certainly the most interesting. After the Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second, the Senators stormed back to take a 3-2 lead with under two minutes to play in the period. Jake Voracek was able to tie it back up in the final minute of the frame. The third opened with JVR scoring his second of the game 1:10 in to give Philadelphia a 4-3 lead before Tyler Ennis tied things back up midway through, sending the game to overtime. Nothing was solved until Sean Couturier scored the lone shootout goal in the third round. The Flyers had a great week and maintained their hold on the second wild-card in the East. They’ll try to continue the momentum next week when they host the Rangers on Dec. 23 before a back to back in San Jose on Dec. 28 and Anaheim on Dec. 29.
2. New York Islanders: 6 points (1 first-place vote) Last Week: 1
Record: 23-8-3 (1-1-1 last week) Week MVP: Mat Barzal
The Islanders had an uncharacteristic week, to say the least. They gave up 15 regulation goals over just three games. Not a staple of the Barry Trotz system. They also beat the Bruins. Positive, but rare. It began at home against the Predators. After New York built a 3-1 lead in the second period, Nashville scored seven unanswered goals to stun the Coliseum crowd. A big bounce-back was needed in Boston and it came. New York scored twice in the second and got a save of the year candidate from Semyon Varlamov to take a 2-1 lead but Torey Krug scored a power-play goal in the third to tie it. The Islanders would take it 3-2 in a shootout thanks to goals from Jordan Eberle and Mat Barzal. They finished the week hosting Anaheim, looking for revenge. In a textbook back-and-forth game, the two teams battled to a 5-5 score entering the shootout. Max Comtois scored in the second round and Josh Bailey answered in the top of the third but Jakob Silfverberg ended it in the bottom of the third. New York lost for the first time when scoring four goals under Trotz. Despite the struggles, the Islanders continue to hold second place in the Metro and will look to stay there, hosting Columbus on Dec. 23 before heading out to Chicago on Dec. 27 and Minnesota on Dec. 29.
3. New York Rangers: 6 points. Last Week: 2
Record: 17-14-4 (1-2-0 last week) Week MVP: Chris Kreider
The Rangers had a rough week with a sweet finish. They began hosting Nashville. After a 1-1 first, Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm gave the Predators a 3-1 lead after two. Artemi Panarin got the Rangers within one but two empty-net goals for Nashville made the score less close than the game was. The final was 5-2. Things didn’t get much better against Toronto on Dec. 20 as the Rangers kept up for two periods, tying the game twice within the first 40 minutes. It wasn’t to be, however, as as the Leafs got two goals in 47 seconds early in the third to put the game away, finishing with a 6-3 victory over New York. The week ended on a high note for New York as they hosted the Ducks, who went 1-3 against teams on this list last week. Chris Kreider scored twice as the Blueshirts beatdown Anaheim 5-1 in a feel-good win. Unfortunately for New York, former first-round pick Lias Andersson requested a trade this week. He left the team’s AHL affiliate and was subsequently suspended by the team. The Rangers, while close to the wild-card, have a lot of teams to jump if they want to enter the playoff picture. They begin that journey this week against the team holding the second wild-card spot, the Flyers, on Dec. 23. After Christmas, the Rangers host Carolina on Dec. 27 and travel to Toronto for a rematch on Dec. 28.
4. New Jersey Devils: 2 points. Last Week: 4
Record: 11-19-5 (1-2-0 last week) Week MVP: Kyle Palmieri
Opposite the Rangers, New Jersey had a great start before their week went downhill. They began in the first game since trading Taylor Hall and made it look good, defeating Anaheim 3-1 at home. After former Devil Adam Henrique scored the opening goal, New Jersey scored three unanswered in the second and third to win. There was optimism in their next game, hosting Washington, for about 47 minutes before it was stolen away. Kyle Palmieri opened the scoring and Blake Coleman tied the game at two in the second but the Caps would score four unanswered after that to put the game away, a 6-3 final score. The offense went quiet in Columbus, however, as the Devils would lose 5-1 to the Blue Jackets. This score comes with an asterisk as the Jackets had two empty-net goals. The biggest question for the Devils now is “who’s next to be traded?” It’s one they hope not to answer for while, going into another busy week, in Chicago on Dec. 23, home against Toronto on Dec. 27 and then in Ottawa on Dec. 29.