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Around the West: Lots of drama around Vancouver

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A disappointing week has dropped Colorado’s stock this week.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Florida Panthers
Oct 13, 2018; Sunrise, FL, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (40) is helped off the ice in the third period of a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center.
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

This is technically Week Two of the inaugural Weekly Power Rankings, but after spending the time writing and reading the feedback from the first post, I thought this would be better suited as a Coles Notes look at the week that was around the league. Please share in the comments, on Twitter, on Reddit, or anywhere on the internet what you think of the series. I would love to get feedback from you.

We’ll order the teams in terms of points per game, just to make it easy.

1. Nasvhille Predators (Points Per Game: 1.667)

A perfect week against the Jets, New York Islanders, and Wild have rocketed the Predators to the top of the Western Conference. That game against the Jets was a classic extension from their second-round playoff series (and regular season series before that) in what probably is the best rivalry in hockey.

Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen lead the team with six points in as many games, while Viktor Arvidsson finding two game-winning goals on his own. Pekka Rinne stopped 58 of 60 shots in his two games last week, including a 29-save shutout against Winnipeg. A little too late, Pekka!

They are also the Stanley Cup favourite according to Dom’s model by three points over Toronto.

2. Chicago Blackhawks (Points Per Game: 1.600)

The NHL’s schedule was weird this week. Several teams got four days off, including the Blackhawks. They only got to play two games, both in overtime, and went .500 in those 3v3 mini-games against Minnesota and St. Louis.

The biggest storyline coming out of Chicago is the fall of Brandon Saad. The forward acquired for Artemi Panarin has been shunted out of the top-six, down to the fourth line, before being told that he will be a healthy scratch on Thursday against Arizona. Saad has been out-shot, -chanced, and -scored, when he’s been on the ice. He has two power play points; one primary assist, and one secondary assist.

3. Anaheim Ducks (Points Per Game: 1.500)

Man, the Ducks suck. I know they have the third-best points percentage in the West, but they got out-shot 30-4 by the Dallas Stars in the second period of their game that Dallas cameback and eventually won. THIRTY SHOTS AGAINST IN TWENTY MINUTES!! How... how? How is it possible that a team can give up a shot and a half per minute for a solid 20 minutes? I can’t imagine how sore John Gibson has been already.

Anaheim’s shot metrics are in the tank. The only timethey’ve been able to out-shoot their opponent was when they beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout, out-shooting them 27-21. Shocking, right? This can’t last, right? Right?

4. Vancouver Canucks (Points Per Game: 1.333)

A shockingly perfect week against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Pittsburgh Penguins (!) have rocketed the Canucks into second in the Pacific Division. They came back and beat the Lightning, going 5/5 on the penalty kill. They beat the Panthers in a back-and-forth affair, going 5/5 on the penalty kill. And they beat the Penguins in a close game, staying with the high-powered Penguins until Brock Boeser was able to beat them in overtime.

This week also contained Mike Matheson’s “body slam” of Elias Pettersson that has caused the flashy rookie to go on the IR. That hit sent ripples through Vancouver, causing the media and fans to froth for blood, high horse and all. The goodies are in the comments.

5. Colorado Avalanche (Points Per Game: 1.333)

A commanding win over the Buffalo Sabres to start the week fizzled as consecutive losses in extra time to Calgary and the New York Rangers have put a muzzle on Colorado’s hot start. They’re still fifth in the West in terms of points through six games, and Nathan MacKinnon leads the league in even-strength goals with seven and has a goal in every game this season.

6. Calgary Flames (Points Per Game: 1.200)

The Flames played between the time this article was finished and it got published, so I don’t know what the score in the Bruins game was. That game aside, the Flames beat the Avs in overtime two days after losing to the St. Louis Blues.

Sophomore Matthew Tkachuk leads the team with nine points in six games, and he along with Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Elias Lindholm are all over a point-per game. 36-year-old Mike Smith has struggled in five game with a save percentage at .889. David Rittich has done well in his game and a bit of work, saving 30 of 32 shots in 79 minutes of ice. Their goaltending will be a question mark all season, but it’s good to see Rittich playing well after a tough year last season.

The Flames have done a good job of out-shooting and chancing their opponents on the ice, but they’ve been unlucky when it comes to scoring goals. They’re break even at the moment, and if those expected goals can turn into real goals, they’ll be better than the break-even team they are now.

7. Winnipeg Jets (Points %: 1.167)

The Jets lost a tough game to the Predators (see above) to start the week, beat Corsi-King Carolina Hurricanes in a tight, tactical, affair... Before losing 5-4 to Connor McDavid in overtime. The Jets have been slightly underperforming their lofty expectations this season. They’ve been out-scored 15-16 despite a winning record.

At least their power play has been really good!

The Winnipeg Jets’ power play is one of the best in the league. Their 23.4 percent success rate in 2017-18 was without a doubt a big reason why the team finished second overall in the league standings, and an improved 24.5 percent success rate took them to the Western Conference Finals.

8. Dallas Stars (Points Per Game: 1.000)

Since we’re talking about power plays, let’s talk about Dallas’ third-best power play in the league. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alex Radulov, and John Klingberg have combined for seven power play goals, and have been utterly unstoppable.

That is until they ran into the mighty Ottawa Senators and actually mighty New Jersey Devils in the second half of their week, dropping them to .500 on the season.

And let’s not forget this amazing fight Benn and Miles Wood got into. We haven’t seen a real, honest fight like that in a long time.

9. Minnesota Wild (Points Per Game: 1.000)

The Wild had four games last week, going .500 across them. Wins against Chicago and Arizona, sandwiching losses to Carolina and Nashville, the Wild continue to be very middle of the pack in the league. They are middling in terms of shot-share and goal differentials, and are among the worst in the league when it comes to the shot attempt differentials.

This team valuing quality over quantity isn’t exactly getting them anywhere.

10. Vegas Golden Knights (Points Per Game: 0.857)

The Knights went 2-1-0 this week, but I can’t shake the feeling that they are one of the many middling teams in the league. They have been out-shooting and -chancing their opponents, but the goals haven’t been coming, which is an indication of low offensive talent.

Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban have struggled early in the season. Both are sub- .900 SV% goalies, and Fleury has been a -1.4 when it comes to Corsica’s Goals Saved Above Average stat, meaning he’s underperforming relative to what an average goalie with his shot map would perform.

11. San Jose Sharks (Points Per Game: 0.833)

It’s shocking that the Sharks aren’t better than this. They have Erik freaking Karlsson! The Sharks finished off a road trip through the Metropolitan Division with losses to the NY Rangers and Devils. The Sharks gave the Devils eight (8) power plays, but managed to keep them from scoring more than one goal.

Fun stat, the Sharks lead the league with three short-handed goals for.

12. Los Angeles Kings (Points Per Game: 0.833)

The Kings are 0/21 on the power play. They are the last team without a power play goal despite all the strong veterens they have on the roster. C’mon, guys, even the Coyotes have more power play goals than you.

The Kings did the Atlantic Canadian road trip last week, beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-0, before losing to Ottawa and Toronto in 5-1 and 4-1 blow outs.

What’s going on here? Are the Kings’ lack of speed really going to neutralize a team comprised of Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Ilya Kovalchuk? Wow.

13. Edmonton Oilers (Points Per Game: 1.000)

The Edmonton Oilers have 10 goals in four games this season. Connor McDavid has nine points (4g, 5a). In their last game of the week against the Winnipeg Jets, McDavid had two goals and four points in the 5-4 OT win, but didn’t help with the overtime goal scored by Darnell Nurse. The bum.

14. St. Louis Blues (Points Per Game: 0.800)

The Blues started off the week well with a win over Calgary, but three straight losses to Chicago, Anaheim, and Montreal have dropped them way down in the standings. For a team that bought Ryan R’Reilly and Tyler Bozak, I expected more.

15. Arizona Coyotes (Points Per Game: 0.400)

The good news is that the Coyotes scored goals this week. The bad news is that all four of the goals recorded in the Goals For column on the NHL’s standings page can be broken down as the following: two power play goals, one short-handed goal, and a “goal” for winning a shootout.

The silver lining for Yotes fans here is that this team is getting their chances, they’re consistently out-shooting their opponents, they’re out-playing their opponents. The goals and wins will come. Eventually.