But there’s also another big celebration coming up. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we found something to love this week in the rankings of each team’s power play.
How we stand: The ESPN editors present a compilation of the teams ranked from 1 to 31 – taking into account game results, injuries and upcoming schedules – and those results are listed here.
Note: The previous rankings for each team are from our Week 3 edition, which was published on February 2. The percentage of points is per game on February 9.
3 points Percentage: 0.808
This week: @ MTL (February 10); vs. MTL (February 13); vs. OTT (February 15).
Who has a better start: Austin Matthews, who leads the NHL with 11 goals in 12 games, or Mitchell Marner, who has 21 points in 13 games? It’s a trick question, it doesn’t matter. It’s amazing to see a pair of 23-year-old stars shine together.
4 points Percentage: 0.818
This week: NYR (February 10, 12); NYI (February 13).
The Bruins’ culture is commendable. At a time when Boston is expected to be in full regression – the end of an era for its veteran core – the Bruins are proving that other teams will find it difficult to destroy what they have built.
Previous score: 5 points
This week: against ANA (2/11); @ SJ (2/13); against COL (2/14, 2/16).
There is still much to like about the Golden Knights’ start, but perhaps the best part is the way they close out games. Despite a slight advantage in the second period, Vegas scored the most goals in the third period this season, 15-8.
1 Points Percentage: .864
This week: @ FLA (Feb. 11, 13); vs. FLA (Feb. 15).
As field hockey fans, we know that as fun as the Tompa Bay story is – assuming the city was a winner when Tom Brady came to town – the Lightnings were building a juggling act in the right direction long before the quarterback arrived.
2 Points Percentage: .750
This week: vs. TOR (Feb. 10); vs. EDM (Feb. 11); @ TOR (Feb. 13).
Habs love each other this season – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But last week’s loss against the lowly Senators has helped keep their egos in check. “It keeps us humble,” Philip Danault said. “It shows us that any team can beat us – any team that works harder.”
Previous score: 8 points
This week: NYR (February 14).
We are obsessed with all the great returns to Philadelphia: Oscar Lindblom (beat cancer this summer), Nolan Patrick (missed all of last season due to migraines), James van Riemsdyk (scraped the qualifiers to become the team’s top scorer) and Sean Couturier (two goals, one assist in the first game after tearing his bone marrow).
Previous score: 11 points
This week: @ VGS (February 14, 16).
Phillip Grubauer is operating at a whole new level at the start of the season, but let’s face it, the guy who broke his ankle and stole the Avs’ spotlight was sophomore Cale Makar.
Cale Makar has been pretty good this season pic.twitter.com/MpiEJGYKz6
– Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 5, 2021
Previous score: 10 points
This week: @ ARI (February 12, 13, 15).
Robert Thomas will be absent at least until March (broken thumb), which is unfortunate. But that reminds us why we admire the blues: it’s their commitment to a new generation mentality. “That’s what this team is built on,” Brayden Schenn said this week. “Depth.
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Previous score: 6 points
This week: @ PIT (February 14, 16).
What we admire about the Capitals: no matter how perfect they are or how serious their expectations are, they are always ready to have fun. It’s like wearing that Cobra Kai patterned headband your coach ordered online and totally embracing it.
Previous score: 9 points
This week: @ DAL (Feb. 11, 13); vs. CBJ (Feb. 15).
The Canes are a flagship team under coach Rod Brind’Amour. Vincent Trocheck, acquired at the end of last season, seems to be in good spirits; he got the puck in his face and then scored two goals on Saturday.
Previous score: 12 points
This week: against CAR (February 11 and 13); against NSH (February 15 and 16).
We love Anton Khudobin – the Stars’ intelligent and skilled goalkeeper – as much as anyone, but that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the classic sleepy training bench. Fortunately, it was a one-time discipline.
7 points Percentage: .800
This week: @ TB (Feb. 11, 13); @ TB (Feb. 15).
Carter Verhaeg was on course for Tampa Bay, which gave him the chance to sign with Florida for a great opportunity. Verhaeg has nearly doubled his ice time this season, scoring nearly as many goals in his first 10 games (six) as he did in 52 games last season (nine).
14 points Percentage: 0.625
This week: vs. OTT (Feb. 11, 13); @ EDM (Feb. 15).
There is something admirable about a coach defending his players, especially in the face of perceived injustice. Find someone to talk about you the way Paul Maurice talks about Blake Wheeler when the media comes to question him.
“We’re 10 games down, we’re 6-3-1, and you’re flirting with my captain. Yeah, I’m offended by that.”
Paul Maurice responds to criticism of Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler. He says he admires Wheeler’s work ethic and character since he’s been here pic.twitter.com/Tlx5KHuDuG
– Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 3, 2021
Previous score: 15 points
This week: @ CHI (February 11, 13); @ CAR (February 15).
I love that the Blue Jackets are responsible for their share of juicy drama. The NHL admits to accidentally awarding a goal to a Columbus rival, John Tortorella benches another star (Patrick Laine, who just brought the team in via a blockbuster) and Mikko Koivu suddenly…. resigns, all in one week.
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16 points Percentage: .500
This week: @ NYI (Feb. 11); vs. WSH (Feb. 14, 15).
For the second season in a row, the Penguins saw a young defenseman blossom before our eyes. In 2019-20, it was John Marino. Today, it’s 21-year-old Pierre-Olivier Joseph making great strides on the blue line.
Previous score: 17 points
This week: @ MTL (Feb. 11); vs. WPG (Feb. 15).
As much as you love the hubris in the team’s superstar duo, you also love the fact that two of the world’s best players are at every game. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were on the ice at 5:45 p.m. Saturday for the Battle of Alberta, first-round final.
Previous score: 21 points
This week: against PIT (February 11); against BOS (February 13); @ BUF (February 15, 16).
I love that the Islanders are so easy to shut down after a bad start (as they did), while knowing full well that in the spring they will look like a dangerous defensive juggler ready to make the playoffs. It’s like clockwork.
26 Points Percentage: .542
This week: against STL (February 12, 13, 15)
Conor Garland is a small winger who was a first-year draft pick, made less than $800,000 last season and still leads the Coyote rankings thanks to his tenacious work ethic. You’ll love this.
Previous score: 13 points
This week: Los Angeles (February 16).
The Wild are taking a COVID break this week with a bunch of business. So let’s take a look at how Jordan Greenway started. The 23-year-old has won and leads his team in points (10).
Previous score: 20 points
This week: NYR (February 16).
We will always love a team that works hard but doesn’t take itself too seriously, like the Devils. Lindy Ruff is a hero, rewarded by defenseman P.K. Subban for his “first game without less” after the last game in New Jersey.
ICYMI: Our coach is a savage. pic.twitter.com/InKKphxlPu
– New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) February 1, 2021
19 points Percentage: 0.542
This week: @ VAN (February 11, 13, 15).
Things don’t always go well in Calgary, but we love good stories of redemption. After a disappointing 2019-20 season, Johnny Gaudreau looks like Johnny Hockey again, with seven goals in his first 11 games.
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Previous score: 25 points
This week: against CBJ (Feb. 11, 13); @ DET (Feb. 15).
Here’s what we didn’t think we’d say about the Blackhawks: Their power play is good. Maybe really good. Chicago ranks fourth in efficiency (31.6%) and has already scored 18 goals on the power play.
29 points Percentage: 0.464
This week: @ VGS (February 11); @ SJ (February 15).
Let’s think of one duck in particular: John Gibson, who is often bullied and has little help. But at the beginning of the season, the 27-year-old goalkeeper seemed to be keeping the team going on his own.
Rankings to date:
27 Points Percentage: .500
This week: against New York (February 15-16)
The Sabres don’t know when they’ll play field hockey again after a ninth player (plus coach Ralph Krueger) landed on the COVID-19 minutes list. So it’s a good time to read this story by Chris Peters about expectations and reality with spikes like Rasmus Dahlin. Spoiler: He’s still on his way to being great!
Previous score: 23 points
This week: against BOS (February 10-12); against IHP (February 14); against NJ (February 16).
The Rangers scored just 17 goals this week in a 5-on-5 game against the Islanders. The upside? Newcomer K’Andre Miller was on the ice for nine of them.
Previous score: 28 points
This week: @ LA (Feb. 11); vs. VGS (Feb. 13); vs. ANA (Feb. 15).
It’s nice to see a young defender develop on his own. That’s exactly what’s happening with Mario Ferraro (formerly known as UMass defender Kale Makar). The 22-year-old is playing an increasingly important role.
22 Points Percentage: .385
This week: vs. DET (Feb. 11, 13); @ DAL (Feb. 15, 16).
Surprisingly, coach John Hines was able to pinpoint the team’s scoring problems: the team is sixth in penalty kill, but 31st in goals against. More pucks in the net, more goals, a win. It’s that simple.
18 points Percentage: 0.375
This week: vs CGY (Feb. 11, 13, 15)
You have to love the passion of a Canuck fan. Vancouver may be running a little on the D, but the fear fan is at a level where he believes the Canucks will never, ever struggle again in their existence as a team.
Previous score: 24 points
This week: against SJ (February 11); against MIN (February 16).
The Kings have shown promise, but have been slowed by injuries, so it’s hard to see their true potential. Still, Cal Petersen has gotten off to a great start; at 26, he undoubtedly looks like the future goalie of Los Angeles.
30 points Percentage: .286
This week: @ NSH (Feb. 11, 13); vs. CHI (Feb. 15).
Brutal Honesty: The Detroit Red Wings are not very popular this season, except that they are not as bad as last season. But they do have a sick set of uniforms.
31 points Percentage: 0.179
This week: @ WPG (February 11, 13); @ TOR (February 15).
Even if the Senators feel like they are the only team in the Canadian league with no chance of qualifying for the playoffs, they are still worth watching every night. One of the reasons for this success is that we have seen rookie Tim Statzel shine.
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