NHL Power Rankings, Week of 11/7/2011

1–Pittsburgh Penguins c The Caps have been getting all the attention in the East, but Pittsburgh is quietly 3 points ahead of them and 1st in the East. Plus, they might be getting Crosby back any day now. Watch out.
2–Washington Capitals   To me, it’s like ghosts of years past for the Caps: they’re averaging 4 goals a game and can outscore you every night, and we saw this in the Anaheim game. But they also are still subpar defensively, as we saw in the Islanders game.
3–Dallas Stars   Color me impressed. I thought the Stars would suck this year, and, lo and behold, they are the first to 10 wins. They’ve ridden the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen so far. Can it last? Probably not.
4–Edmonton Oilers   Damien Cox of the Toronto Star hit it right on the head: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is this year’s Jeff Skinner. RNH and Taylor Hall have Oilers fans reminiscing about the Gretzky-Messier days of yesteryear.
5–Philly Flyers   Can any goalie in Philly be productive? After a great start to the year, Ilya Bryzgalov has fallen off the map. Also worth noting, Claude Giroux has 19 pts in 14 games. Surprising stat: for all the offseason hubbub over lost offense after they shipped out Carter and Richards, the Flyers are 1st in the League with 56 goals. And it’s not close.
6–San Jose Sharks   They got a big win over Pittsburgh, but the subsequent OT loss to the Preds hurt. Antti Niemi’s SV % has been a subpar .870 in 8 games. Martin Havlat also has 8 pts in 8 games since returning from injury
7– NY Rangers   The Rangers have a 4-game winning streak going, including a win the other night over the Canadiens.
8–Chicago Blackhawks   After winning 3 in a row, the Blackhawks have now dropped 2 in a row, including a 6-2 loss to rivals Vancouver. Patrick Kane is the only player on the team with more points than GP (15 in 14)
9–Minnesota Wild   After a not-so-great start, the Wild beat Detroit, Vancouver and the floundering Blues all in the same week. That’ll help. There’s a goalie controversy brewing as finally-healthy backup Josh Harding will get his 3rd straight start (1.19 GAA)
10–Toronto Maple Leafs   The Leafs are still winning the Northeast division, but they just got whipped at home by Boston. Ben Scrivens has been getting some work in the absence of James Reimer
11–Phoenix Coyotes   No Bryzgalov, no problem for the Coyotes, who are still going strong at 16 pts in 13 games. That’s a testament to Dave Tippett and the system he runs out in the desert.
12–Nashville Predators   The Preds secured the future of looming UFA goalie Pekka Rinne when they signed him to a 7-year, $49 million contract extension this week. After the signing, they’ve won 2 in a row.
13–Buffalo Sabres   The Sabres are currently fighting with Ottawa for 2nd in the division. Whoulda thunk it? They won back-to-back games this weekend.
14–Ottawa Senators   After a terrible start, Ottawa has been a nice surprise with 15 points in 15 games. But they might be returning to their true form having dropped 3 in a row.
15–Montreal Canadiens   After an atrocious start that almost got their coach fired, the Habs have bounced back with a 4-game winning streak. However, they just dropped one in MSG in the second game of a back-to-back. Erik Cole has started playing up to his contract.
16–Vancouver Canucks   The Canucks beat the Caps at their own game, outscoring them 7-4. They dropped 2 of their next 3 before getting a big 6-2 win in Chicago. Luongo can breathe out now.
17–LA Kings   The Kings have dropped 5 of their last 6. Drew Doughty missed a little bit of time. Vaunted 2-way forward Mike Richards is a -1. But the season is still young, and there’s certainly room for improvement for LA.
18–Colorado Avalanche   After a stellar start, Semyon Varlamov and the Avs have slipped a little bit. After a 5-game winning streak in mid-October, the Avs have dropped 6 of their last 8. Not much offense either, as no player on the Avs has more than 11 points.
19–Detroit Red Wings   My oh my, how the mighty have fallen. They started out amazing. They had everyone saying they were the team to beat. And then…crash. It started with a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of the Caps. They lost 6 in a row, but got their feet back under them with a win over Anaheim. Crucify me, but I still like them in the West.
20–Tampa Bay Lightning   You knew Steven Stamkos was going to do well. And he has, to the tune of 15 points in 14 games. You know who’s tied with him in points? D-man Marc-Andre Bergeron. They’re getting a point-per-game D-man at $1 million. That’s a bargain basement price.
21–NJ Devils   Is it the Lokomotiv crash? Is it the team? Or is it just Kovy being Kovy? No matter how you slice it, Ilya Kovalchuk has 2 goals in 11 games. Atrocious, and a big reason the Devils are not doing so well right now (Brodeur too, obviously).
22–Florida Panthers   Another team that started well but has cooled off since. The Panthers have lost 3 in a row, all in OT. They’re struggling to finish. Goalie Jacob Markstrom has been a bright spot, though. That kid is going to be elite.
23–Anaheim Ducks   They won one game on a 7-game road swing. Terrible. Hopefully they can get their mojo back with some home cooking.
24–Calgary Flames   It’s shaping up to be another average year for the Flames, who have 13 points in 13 GP. Somewhere, some Flames fan is insisting Miikka Kiprusoff can still be a workhorse, which he can’t.
25–Winnipeg Jets   As Scott Burnside of ESPN points out, the Jets are 21st in goals and 25th in goals against. If you can’t score and you can’t defend, you’re probably doing pretty badly. Which the Jets are.
26–NY Islanders   They dropped 6 in a row before beating a Caps team on the second half of a back-to-back. Evgeni Nabokov has been pulled from tonight’s game, so that might be it for that experiment. Bring back Al Montoya, Capuano.
27–St. Louis Blues   Head coach Davis Payne took the hit for the Blues’ slow start, as he was replaced by Ken Hitchcock yesterday night. Hitchcock hopes to bring a sense of discipline and accountability to a very young Blues team.
28–Carolina Hurricanes   The Canes have lost 3 of 4. Eric Staal has 5 points in 14 games and is an astounding -16. What’s wrong in Carolina? I hold to my theory that their defense is not good, having surrendered 32 shots against per game, almost last in the League.
29–Boston Bruins   Hahaha the Bruins are in last in the East. They dropped a both games of a home-and-home to my Habs. However, they just destroyed Toronto. Tyler Seguin has arrived with his first NHL hat trick. Watch out.
30–Columbus Blue Jackets   Columbus is 2-11-1. Scott Arniel is almost for sure going to be fired sometime in these next couple weeks. Many thought their next coach would be Ken Hitchcock. You snooze, you lose, CBJ. They’re so bad they can’t even get the replacement coach they want.

This is one of the coolest things you’ll see today

By Stu Krantz

In the Leafs-Jets game yesterday, Phil Kessel pulled a dirty dangle and slid across a pass to Joffrey Lupul, who one-timed it home from just in front of the right faceoff circle for the Leafs’ first goal.

Why so neat, you say?

Lupul shot it right off the goal-cam, in one of the craziest and most awesome videos you’ll see today. Behold, at the 0:16 mark:

As Puck Daddy points out, Lupul is not the only one to destroy a camera with a shot. Michael Del Zotto of the Rangers did it last year, too. Over at PD they seem to favor Del Zotto’s camera smash over Lupul’s. I think Lupul’s is more exhilarting, and therefore superior. Del Zotto’s was cool because it was the above-ice camera, on the netting over the boards behind the net, so the puck was flying up at you. But I like Lupul’s because it is a full-power one-timer–you get to see the puck flying directly at you, in a straight line, at speeds of 90+ miles per hour. Plus, since the puck bounced right off the camera and out of the goal, everyone at the arena and the War Room in Toronto had to watch that in order to review the goal.

And here’s the picture of the lifeless camera, via Sara Orlesky of TSN:

What say you–Lupul or Del Zotto?

Follow Stu Krantz on Twitter @puckschmuck