Sports NHL Power Rankings: Lightning, Bruins hungry for redemption

15:10  01 october  2019
15:10  01 october  2019 Source:   thescore.com

Ranking the NHL's 5 best offenses

Ranking the NHL's 5 best offenses The NHL saw an uptick in scoring last season for a variety of reasons. Sure, goaltenders were forced to wear smaller equipment, but the overall speed and skill of the game are at an all-time high - and it's arguably never been more fun to watch. With a new season just around the corner, we rank the top five offenses in the league. If you're a fan of high-scoring hockey, the following teams make for can't-miss TV. GF = Goals For PP% = Power Play

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This is the first edition of theScore's NHL Power Rankings for 2019-20. Check back for updated rankings every second Monday during the regular season.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

Last year's infamous first-round sweep was a massive disappointment, but the Lightning remain as deep and dangerous as they were during a historically dominant 2018-19 regular season. Tampa Bay still boasts the NHL's most potent roster, and thus begins the season as the prohibitive Stanley Cup favorite.

2. Boston Bruins

The Bruins came within one win of the Stanley Cup in June and return for 2019-20 with the core intact. After extending blue-liners Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, the reigning Eastern Conference champions are well-positioned for another deep run.

RFA defensemen signings now lay groundwork for Lightning signings later

  RFA defensemen signings now lay groundwork for Lightning signings later Ivan Provorov, Zach Werenski, Charlie McAvoy, and Brandon Carlo signings give basis for Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak contracts next summerDefensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak will both be restricted free agents following this season. Sergachev will be completing his third season in the NHL. Through his first two seasons, he had put up a 40 and 32 point season and should be expected to be back in that range for a third straight season. Cernak will be completing his second full NHL season and posted 16 points last season.

3. St. Louis Blues

Though few expect the Blues to repeat, the defending champs also enter the new campaign with virtually the same core that won a title this past spring. The acquisition of Justin Faulk raises some questions, but it does give the team even more defensive depth. St. Louis remains a well-rounded club with strength in all three positional groups.

4. San Jose Sharks

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San Jose lost some firepower over the summer but still has plenty of it. With Erik Karlsson now signed for the long haul and Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc both inked at reasonable rates, the Sharks are once again poised to be one of the NHL's top clubs.

5. Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights will be as motivated as any team in 2019-20 after last season's controversial first-round exit. Trading away cap casualties Nikita Gusev and Colin Miller might sting, but Vegas still boasts a dangerous top six, a solid top four on the blue line, and the ever-dependable Marc-Andre Fleury in the crease.

Canucks' Brock Boeser, Oscar Fantenberg placed in concussion protocol

  Canucks' Brock Boeser, Oscar Fantenberg placed in concussion protocol The Vancouver Canucks have announced that both Brock Boeser and Oscar Fantenberg have been placed in the concussion protocol, but gave no update on their recovery timeline. Boeser was crunched into the boards by Ottawa Senators forward Chris Tierney Tuesday night, which is likely when he suffered the concussion. The Ottawa player received a two-minute minor, but Boeser did return to the game. This is terrible news for a team looking to compete for the playoffs this season and a player that has struggled with injury throughout his young career.

6. Toronto Maple Leafs

With Mitch Marner's contract situation resolved, the Maple Leafs again enter the season with one of the league's most talented stables of forwards. Will the defense-bolstering addition of Tyson Barrie and continued development of the young core be enough to get them over the first-round hump this spring?

7. Calgary Flames

The Flames got their own high-profile restricted free agent, Matthew Tkachuk, signed to a new deal last week, but a few questions loom large: Can David Rittich shoulder a starter's workload in net? Can Mark Giordano avoid a big regression? Will Milan Lucic make a positive impact following the worst season of his NHL career?

8. Nashville Predators

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Matt Duchene should help improve the league's worst powerplay of 2018-19. P.K. Subban is gone, but Predators general manager David Poile felt comfortable making that trade partly because of what he's seen from Dante Fabbro. Nashville's vaunted blue line likely won't be significantly worse this season.

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang named in NHL Network’s ‘Top 50 Players Right Now’

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9. Colorado Avalanche

An utterly fearsome top line, a potential Calder Trophy candidate in Cale Makar, and some new depth up front have the Avalanche poised to take a big step forward in 2019-20. Philipp Grubauer is going to exceed last season's career-high 37 appearances; if he can provide stability over the course of a full schedule, Colorado should be one of the NHL's most dangerous teams.

10. Carolina Hurricanes

There's been some turnover for the Hurricanes following their run to the Eastern Conference Final. The team will still ice one of the NHL's deepest defensive groups, however, as well as a trio of promising young forwards. "Storm Surge" or not, Carolina will be a tough out once again.

11. Washington Capitals

A first-round playoff exit followed by a fairly uneventful offseason in D.C. has cast some doubt on the Capitals' chances of returning to their 2017-2018 championship form. They'll be more intimidating, with Radko Gudas joining a team that already features Tom Wilson, but will that ultimately matter?

12. Dallas Stars

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The Stars could be legitimate contenders in 2019-20. If Jamie Benn can get back on track and Miro Heiskanen takes another step forward in his development, Dallas should improve on last season's wild-card finish and make some noise come playoff time.

NHL top 25 under 25​​: Ranking hockey's best young stars for 2019-20

  NHL top 25 under 25​​: Ranking hockey's best young stars for 2019-20 The NHL's youth movement is here and these young guns are set to carry the NHL for the next two decades.The players listed below belong to an elite group of performers who bear the responsibility of carrying the league to greater heights. They draw crowds, sell jerseys, dominate late-night highlights and stretch the history of their profession from common to legendary. Each player has shown their warts, but those shortcomings far outweigh their excitability, dynamism and most importantly, their production.

13. Florida Panthers

What a difference an offseason makes. Sure, the Panthers didn't get Artemi Panarin, but Sergei Bobrovsky and new head coach Joel Quenneville should turn Florida into a quasi-contender before long, especially considering the talent already on the roster.

14. Pittsburgh Penguins

Changes were clearly coming for the Penguins after they were swept out of the first round in the spring, but general manager Jim Rutherford raised eyebrows when he traded Phil Kessel for Alex Galchenyuk and signed Brandon Tanev to a six-year deal. The Penguins' window isn't closed yet, but it's starting to slide shut.

15. New Jersey Devils

The Devils already possessed a solid collection of talent before putting together an incredible offseason. Adding P.K. Subban, Jack Hughes, and Nikita Gusev to a group that includes Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, and Kyle Palmieri all but ensures this New Jersey squad will be much better than the one that finished with the NHL's third-worst record in 2018-19.

16. Winnipeg Jets

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Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor are back in the fold, but Dustin Byfuglien's future is still up in the air and the Jets' defense is depleted regardless of whether the hulking blue-liner returns. Winnipeg has the talent to remain competitive, but this team will be in tough keeping pace in the ultra-tight Central Division.

Edmonton Oilers linked to Hurricanes’ Julien Gauthier

  Edmonton Oilers linked to Hurricanes’ Julien Gauthier Edmonton Oilers might have their mindset on acquiring the up-and-coming power forward Julien Gauthier.The Edmonton Oilers may have a solution to the situation: a trade. The Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins reports that there continues to be interest out of Edmonton in acquiring Gauthier. This is not the first time that his name has come up as an Oilers target, as it was previously noted that his name popped up as a possible swap for divorced prospect Jesse Puljujarvi.

17. Montreal Canadiens

Montreal only missed the playoffs by two points and had incredible underlying numbers throughout the year. An infusion of new young talent in Nick Suzuki and Ryan Poehling combined with healthy seasons from Carey Price and Shea Weber could be enough to get the Habs over the hump this time around.

18. New York Islanders

The Islanders had a relatively quiet summer - aside from losing their best player from a season ago. Is Semyon Varlamov reliable enough to mask New York's deficiencies as effectively as Robin Lehner did? Time will tell.

19. New York Rangers

Artemi Panarin, Kaapo Kakko, Jacob Trouba, and Adam Fox. How the Rangers' new players impact their playoff chances remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Things just got way more entertaining on Broadway.

20. Philadelphia Flyers

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It was a busy offseason in Philly. The Flyers hired a new coach, signed Kevin Hayes to one of the summer's most lucrative free-agent contracts, and made a pair of trades to shore up the blue line. Most importantly, though, goaltender Carter Hart had a .982 save percentage in the preseason and remains this squad's best hope for a postseason appearance.

21. Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks will be an interesting team to watch this year. Jeremy Colliton has a full season to make his mark and a few new pieces at his disposal. That said, he has his work cut out for him as this aging roster eyes a playoff berth in the stacked Central.

NHL 2019-20 season: Best shots from the action on the ice

  NHL 2019-20 season: Best shots from the action on the ice The 2019-20 NHL season is underway. The best photos from every night as teams begin the quest for the Stanley Cup.

22. Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes came within four points of the playoffs in 2018-19 despite being ravaged by injuries. With a healthy roster and Phil Kessel in the mix, Arizona might be good enough to squeak in this time.

23. Vancouver Canucks

Expectations are high in Vancouver as the Canucks look to take a step forward this season. The young core is talented, and the front office added J.T. Miller, Micheal Ferland, and Tyler Myers to help build a more complete roster. Anything less than a stake in the wild-card race will be a disappointment.

24. Buffalo Sabres

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General manager Jason Botterill has made a series of shrewd moves to bolster the Sabres' blue line, but offensive depth remains a serious concern. It's tough to see how this club makes noise in the Atlantic relying solely on the contributions of Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner.

25. Edmonton Oilers

Speaking of lackluster offensive depth, the Oilers seemed destined to repeat last year's playoff miss unless Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl (once again) put together some truly stellar numbers.

26. Minnesota Wild

Minnesota is a team stuck in the middle, but with good health, the Wild could be sneaky. The club's veteran forwards are still quietly productive and the blue line remains solid. The lack of star power might be an issue, though, especially in the Central.

27. Columbus Blue Jackets

If the Blue Jackets are to make the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year, they'll have to do so through hard work and grit. Columbus lost too much talent this summer to be considered a true threat, but it'd be unwise to discount John Tortorella's ability to rally his troops.

28. Anaheim Ducks

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The Ducks are in the midst of a retool but still have a handful of quality pieces. If Dallas Eakins is the right fit behind the bench and John Gibson does what John Gibson does in goal, maybe Anaheim can surprise.

29. Los Angeles Kings

Outside of Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty, the Kings are running seriously low on talent. Another high draft pick is the best-case scenario in Hollywood this season.

30. Detroit Red Wings

Steve Yzerman's first year back in Motown is likely to be a long one as the Red Wings' rebuild is still in its infancy. At least Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha should be fun to watch.

31. Ottawa Senators

The Senators sold all their veterans last season and enter the 2019-20 campaign in true scorched-earth form. The wins will be few and far between, but there are some nice pieces to develop this year. Brady Tkachuk, Erik Brannstrom, Thomas Chabot, and Drake Batherson comprise a genuinely promising young core in Ottawa.

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Canadiens squander strong start, fall 3-1 to Lightning at the Bell Centre .
The Canadiens played 16 minutes of inspired hockey, but that’s not nearly enough when they’re matched against the high-octane Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay spotted the Canadiens a 1-0 lead, but roared back to score three unanswered goals en route to a 3-1 victory Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens came out strong in the first period and used an aggressive forecheck to keep the play in the Lightning zone. The shots were 8-2 in Montreal’s favour when Yanni Gourde was sent off for slashing Joel Armia and the new and improved Montreal power play went into action.

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