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NHL Power Rankings

(Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHL Power Rankings: Vendetta’s March 2021 Edition

NHL Power Rankings
Captain Aleksander Barkov has led the Panthers to their second best start in franchise history. (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s officially no longer early. Welcome back to the second edition of Vendetta’s monthly NHL power rankings! February’s inaugural edition was more of a feeling-out process, with most teams having played 10 games or less. However, the shortened 56-game NHL season means it’s already starting to get somewhat late, especially for some teams.

For the second straight month, I (a Flyers fan), Gavin Daly (Avalanche fan), and Emma Brown (an Islanders fan) have ranked every team 1-31. The official ranking for each team averaged out between us, but you can see where each of us ranked every team. These rankings are a mix of teams’ short and long-term outlook. Last month’s ranking is also included to give you an idea of what direction each team is trending.

Recent performance, notable individuals, stats of all kinds, the eye test, and injuries are all taken into account. These lists were submitted around March 1, so the last few days of games aren’t taken into account. You can view the stats I use to guide my decisions here. With that being said, let’s get started!

31. Buffalo Sabres (6-13-3, February: 18)

Andrew: 31, Gavin: 29, Emma: 31

Andrew – I’m so genuinely sorry, Sabres fans. This year has been an unmitigated disaster for Buffalo. Taylor Hall has one goal. Jeff Skinner has one point and has been healthy scratched multiple times. Starting goalie Linus Ullmark will miss most if not all of March with a lower-body injury. The team with one of the deadliest top-sixes coming into the year simply cannot score. Their NHL-leading 9-year playoff drought is looking likely to reach double digits.

Gavin – You could make a case that Buffalo is the worst team in the NHL right now. Trey “I’m a hockey guy now” Daubert has been making that case for a while in the company Slack and initially I laughed it off, but honestly he’s not that far wrong. The only reason I don’t have them last is Jack Eichel, but you have to wonder how much longer they are going to waste his generational talent or cash in. FREE JACK EICHEL!!!

T-29. Ottawa Senators (8-17-1, February: 31)

Andrew: 29, Gavin: 30, Emma: 29

Andrew – The Senators are a not totally terrible 7-10-0 since the last iteration of these rankings, which is good. Matt Murray still not being able to figure it out is very bad, as is losing Derek Stepan for the year with an injury. It’s good to see some of the kids lighting it up, but with last offseason’s reinforcements largely underachieving, will Melnyk even allow the Senators to swing big again in the summer?

Gavin – I just couldn’t put them last after the month they had. A 6-5 comeback win after being 5-1 down against the Toronto Maple Leafs added to putting 11 goals past the Calgary Flames over two recent games has shown there is a fight in the dog. I’m not expecting them to all of a sudden be playoff contenders but the signs are there for a bright future in Ottawa. A lot of that has to do with the progression of Drake Batherson who has 18 points on the season.

T-29. Detroit Red Wings (7-16-3, February: 30)

Andrew: 30, Gavin: 31, Emma: 27

Andrew – The Yzerplan is in full swing for the Wings, who aren’t historically bad like last year but are unsurprisingly near the bottom of the NHL. With the trade deadline approaching, Yzerman should be planting the seeds in hopes of garnering strong returns for guys like Bobby Ryan, Patrick Nemeth, and Jonathan Bernier. It’s the only thing Wings fans have to look forward to until the draft.

Gavin – This has less to do with the Red Wings and more to do with the Ottawa Senators, but any time there’s a chance to put Detroit last you take it. Bobby Ryan is proving to be Detroit’s biggest points driver with 13 and could be flipped before the deadline with the Red Wings expected to continue struggling. The rebuild continues for the Detroit Red Wings and it could be a while before the once-great franchise returns to glory.

28. New Jersey Devils (7-11-2, February: T-21)

Andrew: 24, Gavin: 28, Emma: 30

Andrew – The Devils were one of the NHL’s pleasant surprises a month ago, but after shutting down due to a COVID break they’re starting to fall back to earth. Mackenzie Blackwood is still a beast, and Jack Hughes looks legit after a rough rookie year. Keep an eye on defenseman Ty Smith – with 11 points in 18 games, he’s a dark horse for the Calder.

Gavin – If there is one team who couldn’t be happier that the Buffalo Sabres suck, it’s the New Jersey Devils. 2015 first-round pick Pavel Zacha has shown improvement with 14 points in 18 games, but a shooting percentage of 18.2% is not sustainable. Five of his six goals have come at even strength but with only one win in their last five, the Devils need to find a way to stop the skid.

27. Anaheim Ducks (6-12-6, February: 27)

Andrew: 28, Gavin: 27, Emma: 24

Andrew – The odds of John Gibson dragging this team to the playoffs are falling faster than Adam Henrique’s prime. The NHL call-up of Trevor Zegras is off to an exciting start, but this appears to be another punt year for the Ducks.

Gavin –  The Mighty Ducks ride or die with John Gibson. The problem is he’s only human and when you are as bad defensively as the Anaheim Ducks are it’s more than a little unfair. Somehow he still has an above .900SV% despite the Ducks giving up 99 High danger chances compared to the NHL average of 62.

26. New York Rangers (10-9-3, February: 25)

Andrew: 27, Gavin: 25, Emma: 26

Andrew – Losing Jacob Trouba to a broken thumb and Artemi Panarin on an indefinite leave of absence adds salt to the Rags’ already massive wound. The fastest rebuild ever has hit another snag (although this time, it’s somewhat out of their hands). With their playoff hopes diminishing, it will be interesting to see what David Quinn’s future is; he’s currently tied for the fourth most likely coach to be fired next.

Gavin – Talk about a team with problems. Losing your best player in Artemi Panarin because of off-ice issues and having the Tony DeAngelo fiasco play out in public has just added to the Rangers season of woes. They won’t make the playoffs, but with Panarin, Kakko, and Lafreniere, the future is bright in the Big Apple.

25. San Jose Sharks (8-10-3, February: 29)

Andrew: 26, Gavin: 26, Emma: 25

Andrew – The Devan Dubnyk moved has worked out as well as most of us predicted: very poorly. Erik Karlsson still looks like a ghost of his former self; his days as an elite NHLer may be over. And the Sharks also don’t have the outstanding forward depth they did in their glory days. That 2016 Final run seems so distant right now.

Gavin – I wrote about how the San Jose Sharks were between a rock and a hard place. Then they went and embarrassed my Colorado Avalanche. So I’m moving them up and talking nice about them. Logan Couture and Evander Kane are leading the way with 19 and 18 points respectively in 19 games, but yet again goaltending is their demise with both Martin Jones and Devan Dubnyk posting below .900 SV%.

24. Vancouver Canucks (10-15-2, February: T-14)

Andrew: 25, Gavin: 19, Emma: 23

Andrew – I began by February analysis of the Canucks with “things were very close to reaching rock bottom here.” This is rock bottom. Hopefully. It’s hard to imagine the Canucks taking more of a step back from last year’s surprise run than they already have. The team is a one-line pony thanks to Jim Benning ruining their depth situation with a plague of awful contracts.

Gavin – The Canucks have lost four of their last five as goaltending continues to be a problem. Braden Holtby is having a horrific time with his new team and has won only one of 11 games, sporting a .893 SV%. Thatcher Demko fared better lately, shutting out the Jets, but has also struggled at times this year.

23. Nashville Predators (10-14-0, February: T-21)

Andrew: 22, Gavin: 22, Emma: 22

Andrew – Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that every player not named Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Pekka Rinne is available in a trade right now. The Predators do have tremendous underlying numbers and are one big streak from creeping back into the playoff picture. But with only two players scoring above .5 points per game and Jusse Saros struggling, it seems like Smashville is more likely to end up sellers.

Gavin – The Predators are listening to offers for their players, that should tell you everything you need to know about how their season has gone. The hope was for young goaltender Juuse Saros to take the reins from Pekka Rinne but it hasn’t gone well as he’s posted a .895 SV% through 13 games. They also aren’t getting points production from anyone other than Filip Forsberg or Roman Josi with no other player in double digits for the season as of yet.

22. Calgary Flames (11-11-2, February: 19)

Andrew: 20, Gavin: 23, Emma: 21

Andrew – Just as these rankings were about to come out, the Flames became the second team in the NHL to fire their head coach. The old-school Darryl Sutter, coach for Calgary’s run to the Final in 2004, is back in town in what feels like the last chance for the Flames core to show something. Montreal’s slump means the fourth spot in the North is within reach, but the Flames need to find another level if they’re going to snatch it.

Gavin – I don’t know what else to say except meh! The Flames are just one of those teams that are neither good nor bad. At 11-11-2 on the season, they have not found their groove, yet could still find themselves in the playoffs if they string a few results together.

T-20. Columbus Blue Jackets (10-10-5, Feb: 17)

Andrew: 23, Gavin: 21, Emma: 19

Andrew – Columbus’ usual formula of hard work and sturdy defense hasn’t produced the same strong results as the last few years. John Tortorella appears to be well on his way to alienating Patrik Laine, the star they acquired for the star they alienated. Laine (6 goals, 4 assists in 15 games) has been good but hasn’t provided the huge boost to the Blue Jackets’ offense they desperately need. Jarmo Kekalainen has shown he’s not afraid to be aggressive at the trade deadline in the past; we’ll see if he goes all out again.

Gavin – The past four seasons the Blue Jackets have been in the top half of goals against and last season in particular they were the third-best defensive team in the NHL. Coach John Tortorella is known for setting up defensively minded teams who are hard to beat, so what is happening this season must have him pulling his hair out. Only the Senators, Red Wings, and Canucks have a worse defensive record as the Blue Jackets currently sit out of a playoff place in the Central Division.

T-20. Arizona Coyotes (10-10-3, Feb: 24)

Andrew: 21, Gavin: 24, Emma: 18

Andrew – Meh looked like be good enough to sneak into a playoff spot in the Pacific early in the year. But with the Kings surging and the Wild on fire, the respectable Coyotes are still underdogs. The duo of Conor Garland and Christian Dvorak has surprisingly been one of the NHL’s best so far. If Antti Raanta or Darcy Kuemper can get back to their elite level from years past, there’s an outside chance of a return to the playoffs. I’m not betting the farm on it, though.

Gavin –  I want the Coyotes to make the playoffs if for no other reason than they’ve become the Avalanche’s whipping boys. However, the longer goaltender Darcy Kuemper remains sidelined the more that playoff dream fades away. Backup Adin Hill performed admirably against a bad Anaheim Ducks team but was found out against the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-2 loss.

19. Dallas Stars (6-8-4, Feb: 13)

Andrew: 19, Gavin: 13, Emma: 28

Andrew – They’ve had to stop their season twice; once due to a COVID outbreak, and again due to the recent massive winter storm in Texas. They have a lot of games to make up. Chicago is due for regression. Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop could return relatively soon. But the Stars desperately need to get going. They haven’t been able to carry over the offensive boon from the bubble, especially with one of their other top forwards Alex Radulov missing time.

Gavin – Ok hands up who had 36-year-old Joseph Pavelski as the Dallas Stars stand-out player this season? With 20 points in 18 games, Pavelski has been leading the line while Tyler Seguin is injured and Jamie Benn continues to struggle. Dallas is at the bottom of the Central Division but has played fewer games due to their season starting later.

18. Los Angeles Kings (9-8-5, Feb: 26)

Andrew: 18, Gavin: 20, Emma: 20

Andrew – Credit where credit’s due; the Kings are watchable again. Maybe even more than that. Anze Kopitar (24 points) and Dustin Brown (10 goals) are turning back the clock. Cal Petersen (.928 save percentage) is leading the charge. If the Kings can play like this with most of their outstanding prospects still in the minors, imagine how good they’ll be when kids like Quinton Byfield enter the NHL ranks.

Gavin – The Kings have a bright future with some awesome prospects but it’s the old guard that is currently getting it done for the Los Angeles team. Anze Kopitar has 23 points in 20 games while Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown both have 17 in the same number of games. While the Kings still believe they are in rebuild mode, a playoff place is not out of the question should this form continue.

17. Montreal Canadiens (10-6-6, Feb: 6)

Andrew: 17, Gavin: 16, Emma: 16

Andrew – I believe the Canadiens are a better team than where I have them ranked. That being said, any time a club fires their head coach, they get seriously docked in my books. We’ll see if first-time head coach Dominique Ducharme is the right answer; the Habs are just 1-2-1 since he’s taken over, but that’s a small sample size. They’re a great 5-on-5 team, but special teams and Carey Price (yes, Carey Price) are holding them back.

Gavin –  I had the Canadiens in my top ten last go-round. My bad. They’ve gone 3-4-3 in their last ten games and are only occupying a playoff place because the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Ottawa Senators don’t seem to want to. Jonathan Drouin has eight points in his first eight games but has only five in his following thirteen.

16. Pittsburgh Penguins (13-9-1, Feb: 10)

Andrew: 15, Gavin: 15, Emma: 15

Andrew – The Penguins are the one team I probably should have higher on my list. They’re finding ways to win even with players like Jason Zucker, Brian Dumoulin, and even Sidney Crosby missing some games. Speaking of Crosby, he played his 1000th NHL game last month, another milestone in his storied career.

Gavin – The Penguins are picking up the pace having gone 7-3-0 in their last ten games. So why aren’t they in the top ten? Goaltending issues. Tristan Jarry is barely breaking a .900 SV% while backup Casey DeSmith is at a .893 SV% through his seven games played.

15. Chicago Blackhawks (13-7-5, Feb: 28)

Andrew: 16, Gavin: 18, Emma: 11

Andrew – Kevin. Lankinen. His gaudy .924 save percentage makes him a Calder contender and has the Hawks firmly in a playoff spot right now. Patrick Kane just scored his 400th NHL goal and is emerging as a threat for the Hart. That being said, no team allows more shots per game than the Blackhawks, something they’ll need to fix if they hope to remain in playoff position.

Gavin – I had the Blackhawks on 28th last month and thought the organization was a dumpster fire. One month later they are in a playoff spot in the Discover Central Division and 7-3-0 in their last ten. All this without leader Jonathan Toews.

14. Minnesota Wild (13-7-1, Feb: 16)

Andrew: 10, Gavin: 14, Emma: 17

Andrew – Controversial healthy scratch of Zack Parise aside, things seem to be going pretty well for the Wild right now. Mats Zuccarello has found chemistry with Kirill Kaprizov since he returned from injury and Kappo Kahkonen is the latest young European goaltender to make waves in the NHL.

Gavin – The COVID break seemed to work wonders for the Wild as they have gone 6-2-0 since their forced stoppage. That has propelled them to third in the Honda West Division. Kirill Kaprizov has been a revelation in his rookie season with 17 points in 19 games and is an early candidate for the Calder Trophy.

13. New York Islanders (14-6-4, Feb: 23)

Andrew: 14, Gavin: 17, Emma: 7

Andrew – It’s status quo right now for the Islanders; they’re not scoring very much, but their lockdown defense means they don’t really have to face. Semyon Varlamov and rookie Ilya Sorokin have both been great between the pipes. They’re right in the thick of the playoff hunt in the East, just as was expected.

Gavin – Question time: should I be taking the Islanders more seriously? They are 7-2-1 in their last ten games, second in the East Division, and Mathew Barzal has 19 points in 22 games. They also made the Eastern Conference Finals last season, yet I’m not convinced they are in any way a contender.

12. St. Louis Blues (14-8-2, Feb: 9)

Andrew: 11, Gavin: 11, Emma: 12

Andrew – One of the NHL’s best offenses (top 10 in goals and shots per game) should get a shot in the arm soon with Vladimir Tarasenko close to returning. St. Louis remains a very deep team up front and their back-end looks good thanks to Justin Faulk’s bounce-back year. They might even be able to snatch first-round home-ice from the Avs or Vegas if everything breaks right.

Gavin – Did everyone see Jordan Binnington trying to fight the complete San Jose Sharks team? Maybe put more effort into stopping the puck and less into being a douche would help your team more Jordan! He’s running a .909 SV% and has let in three or more goals in 8 of his 17 starts.

11. Colorado Avalanche (13-7-1, Feb: T-3)

Andrew: 8, Gavin: 9, Emma: 14

Andrew – The Avalanche have had to deal with a fair amount of injuries, but I have to say I expected a little bit more from them. No one has taken a major leap forward like Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin did last year. Philip Grubauer is playing great, and I’m still not wavering on the Avs long term. Let’s wait for everyone to get healthy before we judge them too harshly.

Gavin – The dream is dead. Ok, I may be overreacting here a bit, but for a team deemed favorites at the start of the season, everything that could go wrong has. Your backup goaltender is out, as is half of your defensive core, while Nathan MacKinnon has been struggling mightily. He still leads the team with 21 points but also has a shooting percentage of 6.6%. That can’t last forever and teams should be on red alert for when he goes off, but I’ve been saying that for a month and it’s not gotten any better.

Emma – Colorado’s defense has fallen apart in the last few games. They’re missing Cale Makar, Bowen Byram, and Eric Johnson, who are arguably their top defensemen. They’re a Cup favorite team but are not playing like one.

10. Philadelphia Flyers (12-6-3, Feb: 8)

Andrew: 9, Gavin: 8, Emma: 13

Andrew – A COVID outbreak quelled their momentum for a moment, but it looks like the Flyers are finally finding their stride. The Flyers were outshot in almost every game during the first month a half, but they’ve put at least 35 shots on goal in each of their last five games. They’ve won four of those, in large part thanks to James van Riemsdyk’s revenge tour (T-9th in NHL in points). Philly is a deep team up front when healthy, but they’ll probably look to add another defenseman even with Shayne Gostisbehere looking better.

Gavin – Joel Farabee’s point per game production is a huge jump from his rookie year and he is only two points away from matching his total of 21 points last season. You’ve got to think he won’t maintain a 20% shooting percentage through the rest of the season, but you kept running it for as long as possible. Carter Hart has been hung out to dry at times but his .893 SV% needs to improve for the Flyers to challenge.

March is not off to the greatest start for the Flyers, however, despite an epic comeback victory Thursday night.

9. Winnipeg Jets (15-7-1, Feb: T-14)

Andrew: 14, Gavin: 10, Emma: 6

Andrew – Have to admit, I’m not totally sold on these guys. They’re second in the somewhat weak North Division, and they deserve credit for it. However, their weak defense still gives up a ton of shots, and they’re dead last in the NHL with a sub-44% expected goals at 5-on-5. I think they’ll make the playoffs, but I’m not convinced they’ll go deep.

Gavin – Connor Hellebuyck has been solid if not fantastic, but the Jets’ top-end forward core has come through big. Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, and Nikolaj Ehlers are all averaging a point a game or better with Scheifele leading the way with 31 (5th in NHL). Who needs Patrik Laine?

8. Edmonton Oilers (14-11-0, Feb: 20)

Andrew: 12, Gavin: 7, Emma: 10

Andrew – So they couldn’t even come close to usurping the Maple Leafs atop the North. Truth be told I probably should have flipped them with a team like Pittsburgh in my rankings. Mike Smith has been a surprise success since returning from injury, throwing up a strong .923 save%. Getting good goaltending from him or Mikko Koskinen moving forward is crucial to avoid wasting another dream season for McDavid and Draisaitl.

Gavin – The Oilers are 7-3-0 in their last ten games, although two of those losses were shutouts to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They are still leaning on the Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl duo, but what team wouldn’t if they had that quality? Defending is still an issue and a reason I don’t see the Oilers as Cup contenders, but with McDavid and Draisaitl there’s always the possibility they’ll just outscore you.

7. Florida Panthers (15-4-4, Feb: 12)

Andrew: 6, Gavin: 12, Emma: 5

Andrew – No NHL team has been a bigger pleasant surprise than the Panthers. Florida has been at or near the top of the Central all season. Newcomers Patric Hornqvist, Carter Verhaeghe, and Anthony Duclair are all producing tremendous clips. Aleksander Barkov is probably my current Selke pick. It will be very interesting to see how aggressive the Panthers get if their success continues.

Gavin – Chris Driedger has worked his way through the ECHL and AHL back to the NHL after initially being released by the Ottawa Senators. Last season he proved to be a more than capable backup in Florida to star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. This season he has not only played more games than the Russian; he’s outperforming him by a country mile. He has a .926 SV% through 11 games to Bobrovsky .899 SV%. It’s such a feel-good story you kinda want it to continue.

6. Boston Bruins (13-5-3, Feb: T-3)

Andrew: 5, Gavin: 4, Emma: 9

Andrew – They’re virtually unbeatable against the Flyers (much to my dismay), but “just” really good against everyone else. Nick Ritchie has been great, but they need more offense out of Jake DeBrusk. Betting on unproven blue-liners like Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon has worked so far, but I’d expect Boston to add on D at the deadline.

Gavin – It’s a case of steady as you go for the Bruins who have played only 6 home games so far this season. With games in hand, the Bruins will feel comfortable about their position especially considering David Pastrnak is back and already has 18 points in 12 games. The only concern has been goaltending with Tuukka Rask propping up a .896 SV%.

5. Washington Capitals (13-6-4, Feb: 1)

Andrew: 7, Gavin: 6, Emma: 2

Andrew – I don’t if the Capitals are in my top tier of Cup contenders, but they’re at least in the ballpark. They’ve moved from the bottom of the NHL barrel to solid in terms of play-driving (28th to 18th in Corsi, 25th to 16th in xG). With Ilya Samsonov coming back, we should get a good look at Washington’s full potential. And congrats to Nick Backstrom on reaching the illustrious 700 NHL assists mark. Tom Wilson may not be joining them for a while, though.

Gavin – Goaltender Vítek Vaněček is having a decent rookie season after learning his trade in the AHL. While a .909SV% doesn’t jump off the page as exceptional, he’s won nine of the seventeen games he’s started and helped Washington towards the top of the East Division. The 25 points in 21 games form of Nicklas Backstrom has helped too.

4. Carolina Hurricanes (16-6-1, Feb: 11)

Andrew: 4, Gavin: 5, Emma: 4

Andrew – I was easily the highest on the Canes last month, and it’s good to see my fellow panelists have come around on them. They’re surviving the loss of starter Petr Mrazek. Their usual stars are producing at an elite level, but so are Vincent Trocheck (21 points), Jordan Staal (20 points), and Martin Necas (17 points). This is a scary team to play against.

Gavin – What a fun team to watch! Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov in particular are stars in the making and it’s no surprise they are above the NHL average of 61 in goals scored. Goaltender James Reimer has been asked to play a lot in the absence of Petr Mrazek, and while a .902 SV% is not great, it has been enough to give his team a chance and they have repaid that faith with a 6-3-1 record in their last ten games.

Special Guest Adam Kreiger – The Canes are a wagon. Their young defensemen have grown up on the ice together, and their duo of Svech and Aho are lethal. They are in a tough division but have held their own. They are a team that has proven they can go on a playoff run after beating the Caps and Islanders two years ago, and they’ll only get healthier down the stretch. Getting Mrazek back will be huge in goal. Brett Pesce is shooting the puck, and when he shoots good things happen (biased of course). Their PK is elite and the powerplay is only getting better. If Dougie (Hamilton) and Slavin can start scoring goals as well, this team is destined to make some noise down the stretch.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning (16-4-2, Feb: 7)

Andrew: 1, Gavin: 1, Emma: 8

Andrew – Make it back-to-back months I’ve had Tampa in my top spot. Andrei Vasilevskiy (.942 SV%) is playing at Vezina level. The big boys Stamkos, Hedman, and Brayden Point are playing as they should; like some of the best players in the NHL. They’re very close to being ready to hit cruise control until the playoffs.

Gavin – The Tampa train just keeps on rolling. Easy when you have the best goaltender in the game right now putting up a .942 SV% through 17 games played. Veterans Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos are also coming up big with 20 points in 20 and 18 games respectively.

2. Vegas Golden Knights (15-4-1, Feb: 2)

Andrew: 2, Gavin: 3, Emma: 3

Andrew – They looked a bit overmatched in some head-to-head games against Colorado, but overall Vegas is rolling. Marc-Andre Fleury is back to being not just the starter but a legit Vezina contender. Alex Tuch is in the midst of a breakout year and has a goal-of-the-year candidate to his name. But they’ll need more of the St. Louis version of Alex Pietrangelo and less of whatever this is.

In fairness, I don’;t think anyone was stopping Nathan MacKinnon there.

Gavin – Not many teams can lose their starting goaltender and go 7-3-0 in their last ten games. Then again, not many teams have high-priced, Stanley Cup winner Marc Andre Fleury as their backup. The 36-year-old has posted a .935 SV% through 13 games. Meanwhile at the other end forward, Mark Stone has 22 points in 18 games, including a five-point night against the Minnesota Wild.

Here’s a much shorter (but still very good) article about hockey to read out, courtesy of Gavin.

1. Toronto Maple Leafs (18-5-2, Feb: 5)

Andrew: 3, Gavin: 2, Emma: 1

Andrew – Even adjusting for competition, the Maple Leafs are playing at an amazing level right now. Their stars are playing great (though maybe John Tavares could produce just a little bit more), and the depth is shining as well. They’re surviving simultaneous injuries to goalies Frederik Andersen and Jack Campbell. I think we’re all a little sick of this team holding the second-longest active drought in the NHL for winning a playoff series. These Leafs look for real, but they won’t be able to truly earn their stripes until the playoffs.

Gavin – Mitchell Marner and Auston Matthews. That is the story for the Toronto Maple Leafs with 64 points between them so far this season. However, two shutouts in their two games against the Edmonton Oilers on February 27th and March 1st have shown a necessary improvement on defense. They are currently at 55 goals against in the season which is below the NHL average of 61.

Emma – The goaltending in the North Division is less than stellar this season. If this season were like any other, I don’t think Toronto would be on top. Top 10 probably, but not number one in the NHL.

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