As another week of hockey goes by, it’s clear that this season is shaping up to be a weird one.
There are some teams that are notorious for being bad -- the Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders come to mind -- who are winning games and are at the top of their respective divisions.
There are also top-tier teams like the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers who are struggling to win and continue to drop in the rankings each week.
With injuries plaguing many teams and coaches having to rely on youth, we have some drastic changes to the rankings this week.
1. Chicago Blackhawks (6-0-1) Last week: 5
Chicago’s six-game win streak before Wednesday's shootout loss to the Wild bumps them to No. 1 this week. Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane have dominated when paired together, but goalie Corey Crawford has truly been the backbone of the team.
2. San Jose Sharks (6-0-0) Last week: 8
Patrick Marleau tied a 95-year-old NHL record by scoring two goals in each of the team's first four games. Marleau leads the league in goals (nine) and points (14) while teammate Joe Thornton leads in assists (11).
3. St. Louis Blues (5-1-0) Last week: 4
There’s no denying that T.J. Oshie is quickly becoming the face of the franchise, and goaltender Jaroslav Halak has already notched a pair of shutouts to lead the league.
4. Boston Bruins (5-0-1) Last week: 2
Tuukka Rask continues to sufficiently hold his own in net in Tim Thomas’ absence. Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton, 19, has been so good early that the Bruins decided to keep him on for the rest of the season.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins (3-3-0) Last week: 1
The Pens have faltered a bit since opening weekend but they are still a top-tier team. James Neal is the surprising team leader with four goals, while -- not surprisingly -- Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are tied for the team lead with six points each.
6. New York Rangers (3-3-0) Last week: 3
The Rangers struggled in the first couple of games but are 3-1 since an 0-2 start. Henrik Lundqvist made some impressive saves in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over the Flyers, and it would appear that he is finally getting comfortable being back in net.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (5-1-0) Last week: 18
Perhaps we underrated Tampa Bay last week. Steven Stamkos (four goals, 11 points) continues to prove why he can score with anyone, while Victor Hedman’s aggressive style on the penalty kill has been impressive.
8. Ottawa Senators (5-1-1) Last week: 7
Defenseman Erik Karlsson is a great scoring asset to the Senators, but we have to wonder if he’s playing the right position. Karlsson may be a defensive liability if he continues to leave his blueline partner hanging to take a shot at the net.
9. New Jersey Devils (3-0-2) Last week: 9
The Devils had a few minor setbacks with a pair of overtime losses, but they’ll manage to stay in line for a playoff spot if Patrik Elias and David Clarkson continue to dominate opposing goaltenders.
10. Anaheim Ducks (3-1-1) Last week: 14
Daniel Winnik (five goals) is starting to look like a breakout star and has meshed nicely with Saku Koivu (six assists).
11. Montreal Canadiens (4-2-0) Last week: 28
The Canadiens jump up 17 spots thanks to four-straight victories before Wednesday's loss to the Senators. They have also finally re-signed P.K. Subban for another two years, which will help goaltender Carey Price in front of the net.
12. Detroit Red Wings (3-2-1) Last week: 13
The Red Wings have had some trouble without retired superstar Nicklas Lidstrom and so many defensemen injured. Cornerstones Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg again anchor the offense for the Wings.
13. Minnesota Wild (4-2-1) Last week: 10
We might have put too much faith in the Wild after they acquired Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, but they do sit atop a weak Northwest Division. If you saw Dany Heatley score on Blues goaltender Brian Elliot -- he batted the puck out of mid-air to force an overtime period -- you know that this is a different Wild team than we’re used to.
14. Winnipeg Jets (3-2-1) Last week: 23
The Jets are above .500, mostly thanks to the work of Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, but defenseman Tobias Enstrom (seven assists) is proving to be a capable set-up man. We just have to wonder how long the Jets can keep winning.
15. Vancouver Canucks (3-2-2) Last week: 12
The Canucks' biggest problem right now is the goalie carousel and whether or not Roberto Luongo is going to stay with the team.
16. Dallas Stars (2-4-1) Last week: 17
The Stars re-signed restricted free agent Jamie Benn to a five-year contract, so they’ll get some extra offensive help. Jaromir Jagr was out for a game due to a lower back injury and has seemed sluggish since returning.
17. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (2-5-0) Last week: 16
Ilya Bryzgalov is showing that he’s a different goalie this season but injuries have the Flyers limping early on. It also doesn’t help that their power play is depressing and it seems they are constantly on the penalty kill because of too many undisciplined penalties.
18. Nashville Predators (1-2-3) Last week: 6
Did Ryan Suter have this much of an impact on the team? Pekka Rinne could be better but could also use some more help in front of the net.
19. Buffalo Sabres (2-3-1) Last week: 11
Thomas Vanek (muscle strain) only missed a game and he and Jason Pominville continue to pile up points, but the Sabres need Ryan Miller to stop the puck more.
20. Los Angeles Kings (2-2-1) Last week: 21
The defending-champion Kings are showing some improvement, especially with Anze Kopitar back in the lineup. They have won two out of three since opening 0-2.
21. New York Islanders (3-2-1) Last week: 27
Coming off a 4-1 victory over the Penguins on Tuesday, the Islanders move up six spots. John Tavares and Matt Moulson work extremely well together. After years of struggling, the Islanders look to be turning the corner prior to their 2015 move to Brooklyn.
22. Washington Capitals (1-4-1) Last week: 15
The Caps logged their first win on Sunday against Buffalo, which is the only reason they’re not further down this list. Alexander Ovechkin just still doesn’t seem back to normal. Have his talents faded or did he just get a big contract and stop caring?
23. Carolina Hurricanes (2-3-0) Last week: 24
The Hurricanes are off to a rough start, but expect more from Eric and Jordan Staal as the season progresses. Cam Ward has struggled in net and that has to turn around.
24. Colorado Avalanche (2-4-0) Last week: 19
Team captain Gabriel Landeskog is out with head and leg injuries suffered from a hard hit by the Sharks’ Brad Stuart. They'll look to Matt Duchene in the captain’s absence.
25. Edmonton Oilers (4-2-0) Last week: 25
It’s still too early to tell if the Oilers can change their fate. They have decided to keep No. 1 pick Nail Yakupov -- even after his excessive goal celebration. They’re a team that thinks young, which could help them in the long run but just not right now.
26. Toronto Maple Leafs (3-3-0) Last week: 26
The Leafs are well … the Leafs. Sorry Toronto fans, but your team falls in a similar category as the Oilers. It’s still far too early to tell if their current momentum will last.
27. Phoenix Coyotes (2-4-1) Last week: 22
The Coyotes were dealt a crushing blow when starting goalie Mike Smith was put on the injured reserve list. Luckily for them, journeyman Chad Johnson got his first shutout win in his Phoenix debut.
28. Florida Panthers (1-5-0) Last week: 20
After getting creamed by the Flyers, 7-1, on Saturday, it’s clear that Jose Theodore’s miscues in net are going to be the biggest issues the Panthers face.
29. Columbus Blue Jackets (2-4-1) Last week: 30
Columbus moves up a spot despite a 1-2 week. Former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 saves in a 2-1 victory over Dallas on Monday night.
30. Calgary Flames (1-2-1) Last week: 29
It's been a miserable start to the season for the Flames, who finally won their first game, 4-3, over Edmonton on Saturday night. Jarome Iginla, who had 43 goals last season, has yet to light the lamp this year.