2014-15 NHL Power Rankings: Predators, first team to 40 wins, move to top

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The Flyers' Jakub Voracek. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

1. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 1; 41-13-7, 89 points) – After a pair of blips against the Islanders and Flyers, the Predators rebounded to win their next two and become the first team to 40 and 41 wins.

2. New York Islanders (LW: 3; 40-20-2, 82 points) – Nick Leddy is a big part of the Islanders’ resurgence, and the team rewarded him with a seven-year, $38.5 million extension Tuesday. According to the NHL’s recently debuted “enhanced” stats, Leddy leads the league in unblocked shot-attempt percentage among players with at least 15 games played.

3. St. Louis Blues (LW: 2; 38-18-4, 80 points) – The Blues have lost three of four on their current homestand, and coach Ken Hitchcock ripped the team’s defense. St. Louis, which is ninth in the league in goals against per game, has surrendered 14 goals in that span.

4. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 7; 33-15-11, 77 points) – After wins in Chicago and Dallas, the Wings lost a shootout in Anaheim and a one-goal game in Los Angeles. Henrik Zetterberg is out of the lineup after Jamie Benn elbowed and punched him in the head on Saturday.

5. New York Rangers (LW: 5; 37-16-6, 80 points) – The Rangers have won seven of eight and are two points back of first place in the Metro with three games in hand. New York has the league’s highest shooting percentage plus save percentage (an indicator of luck), but that could be chalked up to the fact they average the closest shots to the net (remains to be seen if that’s a repeatable ability or luck) and have an elite goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist.

6. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 9; 38-17-7, 83 points) – This could be it for Ilya Bryzgalov, who was waived on Monday. The Ducks lost their three-game winning streak Wednesday by falling to Ottawa.

7. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 8; 39-16-5, 83 points) – The Canadiens flipped disappointing 22-year-old forward Jiri Sekac to Anaheim for disappointing 22-year-old forward Devante Smith-Pelly. Change of scenery, yadda yadda.

8. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW 6; 37-19-6, 80 points) – Tampa took three of five on its West Coast trip, but is in third in the Atlantic in point percentage.

9. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 12; 29-18-12, 70 points) – The Kings are riding an eight-game winning and are trending toward home-ice advantage in the first round. They picked up Andrej Sekera from Carolina to help a depleted blue line. Deadline deals have kick-started the Kings before (Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik), so the Western Conference is likely in collective fear.

10. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 11; 35-17-9, 79 points) – Pittsburgh has won three straight and picked up Daniel Winnik from Toronto on Wednesday. Winnik has seven goals and 25 points this year.

11. Washington Capitals (LW: 10; 33-19-10, 76 points) – Braden Holtby played his 53rd game Wednesday and is on pace to top 70 this season, something only 16 goalies have done since 2008-09. He’s made the most of the starts with a .923 save percentage.

12. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 4; 36-20-5, 77 points) – Patrick Kane, who leads the league in scoring, is out 12 weeks with a broken collarbone, and Johnny Oduya, depended on for his defensive-zone prowess, will miss “a couple of weeks” with an upper-body injury (can’t have an injury description or duration more “NHL” than that). Added to the fact the Blackhawks haven’t won consecutive games in regulation since Dec. 14 and 16, they might be facing disaster.

13. Minnesota Wild (LW: 13; 31-22-7, 69 points) – The Wild have won 11 of 13 before losing to Edmonton on Tuesday despite a seismic shot advantage. Minnesota is a point from a wild-card spot and acquired Sean Bergenheim from Florida on Tuesday. After scoring nine goals in the 2010-11 playoffs, Bergenheim was disappointing in his two-plus seasons in Florida. He has 18 points in 39 games this year and should provide depth.

14. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 16; 35-22-3, 73 points) – Goalie Ryan Miller is out four-to-six weeks with a sprained knee after teammate Jannik Hansen collided with him Sunday. The Canucks have kept rolling, though. They’ve won four of five and two straight with Eddie Lack filling in.

15. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 15; 31-20-11, 73 points) – The Jets picked up Jiri Tlusty from Carolina on Wednesday. Tlusty has 13 goals and 23 points in 52 games this year and could allow Dustin Byfuglien to move back to defense, where he makes a bigger difference.

16. Calgary Flames (LW: 14; 33-24-4, 70 points) – Calgary snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday with a win in New Jersey, and the Flames cling to the final playoff spot but could be headed for some trouble. Norris candidate Mark Giordano left Wednesday’s game early and did not return.

17. San Jose Sharks (LW: 17; 30-23-8, 68 points) – The Sharks are 3-6-2 in February and have lost three of four, including their Stadium Series matchup against the Kings.

18. Boston Bruins (LW: 18; 29-22-9, 67 points) – The Bruins have lost seven of eight, and David Krejci is out four to six weeks because of a partially torn MCL.

19. Florida Panthers (LW: 19; 26-21-13, 65 points) – The Panthers have lost 14 of their last 20 games, but, thanks to Boston’s struggles, are only two points from a playoff spot.

20. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 21; 26-24-11, 63 points) – Nathan MacKinnon picked up his first career hat trick Sunday and followed it up with another goal Tuesday. He’s now up to 13 this year.

21. Flyers (LW: 22; 26-24-11, 63 points) – The Flyers have the eighth-worst goal differential (minus-16), the 10th-worst shot attempt and unblocked shot-attempt percentages, and ninth fewest points. Sure, the Flyers might have left some points on the table against Buffalo and Columbus (Carolina is probably the better team in its building), but there’s no disconnect between their performance and record – they’re just a below-average team. Even if they do sneak into the playoffs, this isn’t the 2010 Flyers. There’s no Chris Pronger or any semblance of a loaded roster that underperformed throughout the season. With a collection of expendable veteran defensemen, the trade deadline Monday should be interesting as the Flyers continue to rebuild and add depth.

22. Ottawa Senators (LW: 26; 25-23-10, 60 points) – Andrew Hammond has won the first three starts of his career and shut out the Ducks on Wednesday. Hammond, 27, has a .967 save percentage in that span.

23. New Jersey Devils (LW: 24; 25-27-9, 59 points) – Since Pete DeBoer was fired on Dec. 26, defenseman Adam Larsson has 13 points in 24 games, is a plus-seven, and is averaging more than 22 minutes per night. The fourth pick of the 2011 draft, who had been in and out of the lineup for years, might be turning a corner.

24. Dallas Stars (LW: 20; 27-25-9, 63 points) – The Stars gave up 13 goals and a pair of third-period leads in two games over the weekend and 22 goals over their current four-game losing streak.

25. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 25; 22-30-7, 51 points) – The Hurricanes are 12-7-3 since New Year’s and are in the top half of the league in shot-attempt percentage and unblocked shot-attempt percentage for the season. Jordan Staal made his season debut on Dec. 29. With him, it’s possible Carolina is sneaky-good.

26. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 23; 26-29-4, 56 points) – James Wisniewski was scratched Sunday and now appears to be on the trading block. The Wiz has had a positive Corsi relative (comparing how his team performs with him on the ice vs. off it) in all but one season in his eight-year career according to behindthenet.ca, but has two more years at a cap hit of $5.5 million left on his deal.

27. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 27; 24-31-5, 53 points) – Toronto had won one of its previous 17 games before picking up an overtime win Saturday against Winnipeg. The real story with the Leafs is the guys on the trading block – everyone.

28. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 29; 18-34-10, 46 points) – Edmonton has won two of four and is only a point back of Arizona in the Pacific Division.

29. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 28; 20-34-7, 47 points) – Mark Arcobello, on his fourth team this season, has four goals in six games as a Coyote.

30. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 30; 18-38-5, 41 points) – Opponents have fired 1,353 more shot attempts than the Sabres this season. The next-worst deficit, Colorado, isn’t even half as bad (639).