• SHARE:
  • email
  • Bookmark and Share

Blues on the rise

The St. Louis Blues have been rocketing up the standings since Ken Hitchcock started as coach and currently sit fourth in the West. (Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

Zoom Image

The St. Louis Blues have been rocketing up the standings since Ken Hitchcock started as coach and currently sit fourth in the West. (Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

Boston grabs top spot in THN's Power Rankings for the first time this season. And the St. Louis Blues, another team that struggled early on, are doing their best to be seen as a top-shelf contender like the Bruins.

After getting off to a 6-7 start, Blues GM Doug Armstrong fired head coach Davis Payne in early November and replaced him with veteran bench boss Ken Hitchcock. Since then, St. Louis has gone 13-2-4 and now have moved past Detroit for second spot in the ferociously tough Central Division. They've benefited from the goaltending of Brian Elliott, who is first in the league in goals-against average (1.43), save percentage (.948) and shutouts (four), and better production from young players such as T.J. Oshie (a team-best 11 goals and 23 points), Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Steen (who both are tied for the team lead in assists, with 12).

The Blues play four of their remaining six December games on the road, which represents a challenge given their sub-par 6-6-3 record away from St. Louis. But their recent run suggests Hitchcock will have them ready for it. Will they continue to rise in our next set of rankings? Check back in the New Year to find out!

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
P10
THE SCOOP
1
Boston Bruins
2
21-9-1
8-2-0
Goal differential is a superb plus-47; last season, league leaders in that category were Bruins' Cup rival Canucks (plus-77)
2
Philadelphia Flyers
1
20-8-3
8-2-0
Loss of Chris Pronger would put playoff plans of any other team in severe jeopardy, but Flyers had a deep defense corps to begin with
3
Chicago Blackhawks
8
21-8-4
8-1-1
Hawks are 11-2-3 at home and play 13 of their next 18 games in Chicago
4
Detroit Red Wings
5
20-10-1
7-3-0
Wings are a league-best 13-2-1 at home, but just 7-8-0 on the road
5
Pittsburgh Penguins
4
18-11-4
5-5-0
With 15 goals and 21 assists in 26 games, Evgeni Malkin has just one fewer point this season than he did in all of 2010-11 (15 goals, 22 assists)
6
New York Rangers
9
18-8-4
6-3-1
Nothing but crucial Atlantic Division matchups for Blueshirts this week - two games vs. Isles, one each against Devils, Flyers
7
Minnesota Wild
3
20-8-5
7-1-2
Wild look to atone for first three-game losing skid of the season during three-game Western Canadian road trip this week
8
Florida Panthers
10
18-9-6
6-2-2
Panthers mainstay Stephen Weiss getting a karmic payback after so many years of disappointment: he's on course for 52 assists and 79 points, both of which would be career highs
9
San Jose Sharks
6
17-10-3
4-4-2
Sharks are on modest two-game win streak; last time they followed up a victory with another win was Nov. 20/23
10
St. Louis Blues
11
19-9-4
7-1-2
Move to bring in Ken Hitchcock as coach can only be seen as a spectacular success thus far
11
Vancouver Canucks
7
19-11-2
7-2-1
Losses to two of NHL's worst teams (Jackets, Canes) last week temper excitement around recent hot streak
12
Nashville Predators
17
17-11-4
7-3-0
Good news is Preds won big games over Wings, Blues last week; bad news is that, for every day Ryan Suter and Shea Weber aren't signed, the likelihood increases that one of them will be dealt by the trade deadline
13
Dallas Stars
16
18-12-1
5-4-1
Gutsy Stars getting solid production from Michael Ryder (10 goals, 19 points)
14
Washington Capitals
12
16-14-1
4-6-0
Caps have scored just one goal in each of past three games - and that pattern could continue this week with tilts against defense-minded Predators, Devils
15
Buffalo Sabres
15
16-13-3
4-4-2
Ryan Miller's current numbers include a 3.12 goals-against average and .902 save percentage; his career full-season worsts are 2.73 GAA (in 2006-07) and .906 SP (in 2007-08)
16
Toronto Maple Leafs
13
16-13-3
4-5-1
Only Sens, Bolts and Canes have allowed more goals in East than Toronto
17
Winnipeg Jets
18
15-13-4
6-4-0
Evander Kane getting all the hype, but Bryan Little on pace to tie career high in points (51)
18
New Jersey Devils
26
18-13-1
6-4-0
Four-game win streak is nice; league's best shootout record (7-1) is even nicer
19
Los Angeles Kings
14
14-14-4
3-7-0
Drubbing at the hands of Red Wings the nadir of Kings' season; can new coach Darryl Sutter stink-eye them back into contention?
20
Ottawa Senators
21
15-14-4
4-4-2
Sens one of only two teams (Leafs are the other) to have 100 or more goals-for and against (factoring shootout wins and losses into the goal totals)
21
Tampa Bay Lightning
22
14-16-2
3-7-0
Steven Stamkos on pace for 51 goals, 94 points - nearly his exact numbers (51 goals, 95 points) in his sophomore season
22
Phoenix Coyotes
19
16-13-3
4-6-0
Kyle-Turris-for-David-Rundblad trade could be a real steal for GM Don Maloney, but likely not for a couple more years
23
Montreal Canadiens
20
13-13-7
3-3-4
Firing Jacques Martin won't solve Habs' inconsistency, just as firing Perry Pearn and trading for Tomas Kaberle didn't
24
Colorado Avalanche
25
15-17-1
5-5-0
Avs have a perfect 5-0 record in shootouts
25
Calgary Flames
24
14-15-4
4-3-3
Winless week another indication this team needs a full (re)boot in the backside
26
Edmonton Oilers
23
14-15-3
2-7-1
Strong start fading fast; three-game losing streak could be extended this week with games against Red Wings, Wild
27
New York Islanders
27
10-14-6
5-3-2
Rick DiPietro injured again, Isles near bottom of standings again - it's Groundhog Year on Long Island for the umpteenth straight year
28
Columbus Blue Jackets
28
9-20-4
3-6-1
Jackets among the NHL's worst in win percentage when trailing after first period (.083)
29
Anaheim Ducks
29
9-18-5
3-6-1
Ducks have league's worst record away from home with just two road wins in 15 tries all season (2-9-4)
30
Carolina Hurricanes
30
10-18-6
2-6-2
Chad LaRose third on Canes in scoring with nine goals, but his minus-15 rating is second-worst on the team

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

More Stories

Panthers panic

It’s time for the Florida Panthers to panic. In a year where the margin for...

The initial NHL surge

Day 1 of this 48-game season really took a page out of the shortened 1995 season after...

Penguins on the warpath

The New York Rangers grab top spot in the final edition of this season's THN.com NHL Power...

Canucks crash the party

Once again, the Red Wings and Rangers enjoy the top two spots in the THN.com Power Rankings....
blog comments powered by Disqus

THN on Twitter

Who will win the 2014-15 Calder Trophy?






















Contests

Our Partners