NHL Power Rankings: Bruins climb to the top, Canucks stumble to bottom

Once again, we are caught up in the lavender haze of yet another Taylor Swift album, listening day and night, through sunshine or midnight rain. “Midnights” is perfect for every mood.

That means it’s time for yet another labyrinth of Taylor Swift references littered throughout the power rankings, with Dom of course being the mastermind of that. Don’t question it, just go with it or you’ll be faced with bad karma for the rest of your life.

Sean, ever the anti-hero on his vigilante s––, said “you’re on your own, kid” for this one, refusing to participate. In terms of Taylor Swift content, he provided sweet nothing for this gimmick – but he’s still here for actual hockey talk for those who aren’t as bejeweled by Dom’s obsession with Taylor Swift.

His efforts to maroon Dom’s gimmick this week were thwarted though with the addition of Hailey Salvian, our resident Taylor Swift expert. Whether she’s trudging through Canadian snow, on the beach in the summer, or just lounging at home watching TikToks – she’s always game to talk Swift.

So that’s the deal this week: One lyric from Midnights for every team plus Sean providing a one-sentence review for each team to go along with his one-sentence review for Taylor Swift’s new album: “I refuse to engage with this.”

Last Week: 5
Record: 7-1-0
Dom rank: 1
Sean rank: 1
Hailey rank: 1

Pierced through the heart but never killed

Dom: So many people wanted to bury the Bruins in the offseason because they were old and would be missing Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk to start the season. What did we learn? This team can’t die. Patrice Bergeron will be a Selke-calibre center until he’s 47 years old.

I expected the Bruins to be great again but after a middling start as they dealt with injuries. To start 6-1-0 without two franchise players and then get Marchand back earlier than expected to make it 7-1-0 speaks volumes about where this team is heading this season. The Bruins are a legitimate Cup contender.

Sean: The season-opening injury list was ridiculous and made for an easy target, but my biggest reason for skepticism — the idea that David Krejci was going to jump back in the deep end after a year in the Czech league — seems to have an answer. He’s still good.

2. Carolina Hurricanes

Last Week: 1
Record: 4-1-1
Dom rank: 2
Sean rank: 2
Hailey rank: 2

Uh oh, I’m falling in love

Oh no, I’m falling in love again

Oh, I’m falling in love

Hailey: This is the year where I go from being on the fence about the Hurricanes as a top-tier contender to picking them as my Stanley Cup winner in my (way too early) preseason predictions. Andrei Svechnikov looks great thus far. Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin are a great top pair. And they’ll get a nice trade deadline boost when Max Pacioretty comes off LTIR.

So yes, you could say that I am falling in love with Carolina this season.

Dom: The Hurricanes have burned us before, leading to some trepidation, but damn, they look for real this season.

Sean:  I’m just going to use this space to say that anytime you folks see the term “oomph per 60” pop up regarding this team — that’s Dom, not me. But yes, it seems like there’s an uptick in finishing ability down there.

Dom: Safe to assume that anything awesome and fun was coined by me, yes.

Last Week: 6
Record: 5-1-0
Dom rank: 5
Sean rank: 3
Hailey rank: 3

Lately I’ve been dressing for revenge

Dom: After a breakup, the best thing to do is show how much better off you are without them. Calgary had two very high-profile breakups this summer – but Hot Girl Fall has gone extremely well for the vengeful Flames. A 5-1-0 start screams “we don’t need you.”

Sean: After a shaky start, Jacob Markstrom has stopped 57 of the last 60 shots he’s faced. If he’s fresh come spring, he’s a league-wide X-factor.

Last Week: 3
Record: 4-2-1
Dom rank: 3
Sean rank: 4
Hailey rank: 4

Summer went away, still the yearning stays

I play it cool with the best of them

Hailey: The Avalanche had a long summer of Stanley Cup parties and celebrations. They’re back now, and haven’t exactly had a hot start to the season, but we know that they’re still hungry for another championship and – barring disaster – should be right in the mix once again.

Sean: The five-on-five numbers are middling, but it’d take Alexandar Georgiev turning out to be an upturned mop wearing an Avs jersey for me to worry all that much about this team.

(Stephen R. Sylvanie / USA Today)

Last Week: 8
Record: 6-2-0
Dom rank: 4
Sean rank: 5
Hailey rank: 5

Best believe I’m still bejeweled when I walk in the room

I can still make the whole place shimmer

Dom: This lyric was tailor-made for the Golden Knights. There were some writing the team off after last season’s disaster, but they’ve clearly still got the goods to be an elite team.

Hailey: They also have shimmery helmets and their jerseys sparkle.

Dom: Last year the Golden Knights were in their Mirrorball era. They’ve upgraded.

Sean: Given what Vegas has riding on him, we might as well just start doing a weekly check-in on Logan Thompson. He’s doing just fine (1oth league wide in GSAx, .931 save percentage).

Last Week: 7
Record: 4-2-1
Dom rank: 6
Sean rank: 6
Hailey rank: 7

Picture me, thick as thieves with your ex wife

Hailey: The Flames might be doing well post breakup, but Florida still got Matthew Tkachuk. He’s playing on the top line with Aleksander Barkov, leading the Panthers in scoring, and has been very effective at five-on-five with three goals and seven points in seven. That’s an area where Jonathan Huberdeau (one five-on-five point) and the Flames’ new top line (zero goals) are still trying to figure out.

Sean: Aaron Ekblad is targeting a Nov. 12 return, which should help prevent the Panthers from humiliations like “losing to the Flyers.”

Last Week: 2
Record: 4-2-1
Dom rank: 7
Sean rank: 7
Hailey rank: 6

Ask me what I learned from all those years

Ask me what I earned from all those tears

Ask me why so many fade, but I’m still here

Dom: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang – still elite. As long as they are, so are the Penguins.

Sean: It’s a big drop from last week, but I’m still not willing to read all that much into one horrific period against Edmonton immediately followed by a game in Calgary.

Last Week: 11
Record: 4-2-1
Dom rank: 8
Sean rank: 8
Hailey rank: 8

You know how much I hate that everybody just expects me to bounce back

Just like that

Hailey: An ode to Tyler Seguin who barely had a quad muscle in 2021 and everyone expected to just be OK?

Dom: He’s got six points in eight games. Not a bad start.

Hailey: It’s almost like we expected him to bounce back too soon.

Sean: Top 10 in expected goal percentage, top 10 in points percentage, elite players at each position.

Last Week: 4
Record: 3-3-2
Dom rank: 9
Sean rank: 9
Hailey rank: 9

I think I’ve been a little too kind

Didn’t notice you walking all over my peace of mind

Dom: A little behind-the-scenes from Power Rankings HQ: Last week, Sean and I were absolutely ready to rank the Rangers second (!) after a strong start. Whoops! The Power Rankings Curse strikes again as the Rangers drop four straight. Just as we were ready to go all in on them.

Hailey: I do think some of their issues in their last four games are a matter of puck luck. Mika Zibanejad has zero goals on 18 shots. The team had 87 shots on goal in their last two games and only scored twice. Those have to bounce back eventually. Jaroslav Halak played in two of the four losses, he’ll (obviously) need to be better whenever Igor Shesterkin gets a rest.

Sean: The Rangers, after aaaaaall that, having solid five-on-five numbers and lousy goaltending would be very, very funny.

10. Edmonton Oilers

Last Week: 13
Record: 4-3-0
Dom rank: 10
Sean rank: 10
Hailey rank: 10

You say ‘what a mind’

This happens all the time

Hailey: Taylor Swift actually wrote this song for Connor McDavid.

Sean: Hey, uh, should Stu Skinner start stealing starts from Jack Campbell? The latter was rough yet again on Thursday against Chicago, and Skinner is fourth leaguewide in GSAx with a .957 save percentage.

Last Week: 12
Record: 4-4-0
Dom rank: 11
Sean rank: 11
Hailey rank: 11

Does it feel like everything’s just like second-best after that meteor strike?

Hailey: Steven Stamkos on losing in the Stanley Cup Final after winning back-to-back championships: “It’s crushing.”

Dom: High bar in Tampa Bay – one the Lightning are struggling to come close to meeting so far. Still early.

Sean: Tampa opens November with Ottawa, Carolina, Buffalo, Edmonton, Washington twice, Dallas and Calgary. We’ll know by then whether it’s time to wonder.

Last Week: 10
Record: 4-3-1
Dom rank: 12
Sean rank: 13
Hailey rank: 12

It’s me


I’m the problem, it’s me

At teatime

Everybody agrees

I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror

It must be exhausting always rooting for the anti-hero

Dom: The chorus to Anti-Hero feels like it was written specifically about the Leafs, especially if you think of it as “tee time” rather than teatime. And yes, it is exhausting rooting for this team.

Sean: Everything will be fine, so long as Ilya Samsonov keeps this up for several more months.

Last Week: 15
Record: 3-3-1
Dom rank: 14
Sean rank: 12
Hailey rank: 14

Do I really have to tell you how he brought me back to life?

Hailey: I don’t know about you guys, but watching Kirill Kaprizov gives me life. This can also be applied to Marc-Andre Fleury turning things around and bringing life back into the Wild.

Sean: Maybe those first two games were a blip on the radar for Fleury. He had another good night on Thursday against Ottawa (27 saves on 29 shots).

Dom: Vintage.

14. Ottawa Senators

Last Week: 20
Record: 4-3-0
Dom rank: 16
Sean rank: 14
Hailey rank: 13

I searched the party of better bodies

Just to learn that my dreams aren’t rare

Dom: Ottawa spent all summer attempting to turn the corner by acquiring Alex DeBrincat, Claude Giroux and Cam Talbot – and so far it’s working well. The problem? The Senators play in the very deep Atlantic where there are four contenders, plus the rising Sabres and Red Wings. It’s going to be an uphill battle.

Sean: Josh Norris might be out for the season. That’s a huge loss and the main reason I couldn’t bring myself to put them any higher.

Last Week: 17
Record: 4-3-0
Dom rank: 13
Sean rank: 15
Hailey rank: 15

I can’t speak, afraid to jinx it

I don’t even dare to wish it

Hailey: Two years in a row, I’ve said the Devils are going to turn things around. They’ve had some shaky games due to goaltending, but there are a ton of reasons to be optimistic about New Jersey, including a league-leading 69 percent expected goal rate at five-on-five. I don’t want to get ahead of myself though. I refuse to be a jinx.

Dom, on the other hand, had a different idea. Care to explain?

Dom: I’m thinking of another J-word: Juggernaut. Although, in Swiftlore… J-words are a bad omen.

Sean: Once again, we’re assuming that a goaltender dumped by the Capitals is going to be good enough for another Model-approved Eastern Conference contender.

Last Week: 9
Record: 3-3-0
Dom rank: 15
Sean rank: 16
Hailey rank: 16

Trick me once, trick me twice

Don’t you know that cash ain’t the only price?

It’s coming back around

Dom: Three straight multi-goal losses and the Blues are suddenly a middling 3-3-0. The big thing is that last year’s magic – outscoring expectations – hasn’t quite manifested for St. Louis yet. Once again, the Blues are struggling to out-chance opponents with a 47 percent expected goals rate… but this time the actual goal rate is even worse at five-on-five at 37 percent. Isn’t that something?

Sean: If Jordan Binnington keeps this up (.936 save percentage, 10th-best GSAx in the league), he’ll offset a chunk of whatever regression the Blues wind up facing.

17. Buffalo Sabres

Last Week: 19
Record: 4-3-0
Dom rank: 17
Sean rank: 17
Hailey rank: 17

My smile is like I won a contest

And to hide that would be so dishonest

And it’s fine to fake it ’til you make it

Til you do

Til it’s true

And it’s like snow at the beach

Weird but f–––– beautiful

Dom: Once again, the vibes in Buffalo are pretty incredible. Should this team be any good based on the roster? Probably not, but hey, it’s working and it’s beautiful. Sabres fans have every right to be happy with the team right now – no need to hide it – and even if they aren’t for real yet, that time is coming. Soon.

Sean: They’ve got talent at the top of the roster and two decent goaltenders. Might end up being a little realer than we thought.

Last Week: 21
Record: 3-4-1
Dom rank: 18
Sean rank: 19
Hailey rank: 18

God rest my soul, I miss who I used to be

Hailey: The Predators played well against St. Louis on Thursday. But, they’re still not the contender they were three years ago.

Sean: They scored five unanswered goals against the Blues, their underlyings are half-decent and Juuse Saros hasn’t quite found his form. I’m less worried about them than I thought.

Last Week: 16
Record: 4-5-0
Dom rank: 19
Sean rank: 18
Hailey rank: 19

Take the moment and taste it

You’ve got no reason to be afraid

Hailey: The Kings looked promising in their taste of the playoffs last season. Then they added Kevin Fiala and locked up Adrian Kempe – after having a good offseason the year before too! – it’s time to take the next step.

Sean: Jonathan Quick and Calvin Petersen have been brutal. Combining for the 26th-best save percentage in the league, regardless of how much there is to like about the rest of the roster, is not going to work.

20. Washington Capitals

Last Week: 22
Record: 4-4-0
Dom rank: 20
Sean rank: 20
Hailey rank: 20

Sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby

And I’m a monster on the hill

Dom: This much-discussed line from “Anti-Hero” fits perfectly with the NHL’s resident senior’s home who will spend the season thwarting off up-and-coming teams like Ottawa, New Jersey, Buffalo and Detroit. The NHL’s sexy babies.

Sean: This is the one time I’m going to acknowledge the bit — it’s a “30 Rock” quote. There’s nothing to discuss. Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom are skating a bit, so that’s nice.

21. Detroit Red Wings

Last Week: 18
Record: 3-2-2
Dom rank: 22
Sean rank: 21
Hailey rank: 21

I laid the groundwork and then, just like clockwork

The dominoes cascaded in a line

Dom: This line worked a little better before the Red Wings got throttled by the Bruins, a measuring stick game that showed just how far Detroit still has to go. Still, everything is going according to plan thanks to the foundation Steve Yzerman has built here, Detroit’s mastermind.

Hailey: I still liked the offseason moves they made. Just because they might need one more year of seasoning and drafting high doesn’t mean the Yzerplan isn’t going exactly according to plan.

Sean: They got worked by the Devils the night before, too. The Wings went in the tank a few different times last season. Time to see if things are actually much different.

Last Week: 23
Record: 4-3-0
Dom rank: 21
Sean rank: 24
Hailey rank: 23

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

Dom: Honestly, we don’t really know what the Jets are doing. It doesn’t really feel like they do either.

Sean: I just hope Rick Bowness is feeling better.

Last Week: 14
Record: 3-4-0
Dom rank: 23
Sean rank: 23
Hailey rank: 22

So scarlet, it was maroon

Hailey: *Gestures wildly at the Islanders’ five-on-five defensive impacts*

Their expected goals against per 60 (3.45) is second last in the league. Who would have thought the Islanders would be a leaky defensive team when they fired Barry Trotz?

Sean: Maybe that Mathew Barzal-Kyle Palmieri-Zach Parise line will work, after all. Through seven games, they’ve got an expected goals percentage of about 73.

24. Philadelphia Flyers

Last Week: 24
Record: 5-2-0
Dom rank: 25
Sean rank: 22
Hailey rank: 24

And then someone screams out

“She’s laughing up at us from hell!”

Hailey: Are the Flyers…good? 

Dom: No.

Hailey: Looks like the joke is on you.

Sean: And now they’re bailing out Carter Hart. God bless them. I hope it lasts forever.

25. Seattle Kraken

Last Week: 25
Record: 3-4-2
Dom rank: 24
Sean rank: 25
Hailey rank: 25

Did all the extra credit then got graded on a curve

I think it’s time to teach some lessons

Dom: In expansion terms, the Golden Knights were a very tough act to follow – everything Seattle did would be compared. Opposing front offices smartened up and Seattle did the best it could, but that obviously wasn’t good enough in Year One. Year Two is showing some promise though as Seattle already has a more respectable record and excellent underlying numbers in the early goings.

Of course, they also lost to the Canucks despite dominating the shot clock… so… maybe it’s the same old Kraken after-all.

Sean: Matty Beniers had six points in his first eight games with underlying numbers that suggest even better things on the horizon, then beat Thatcher Demko on Thursday night. Calder stuff.

Last Week: 27
Record: 4-4-0
Dom rank: 27
Sean rank: 26
Hailey rank: 26

‘Cause there were pages turned with the bridges burned

Everything you lose is a step you take

Hailey: The Canadiens have lost a lot of key players in the last year leading to a somewhat unexpected rebuild. But what they’ve gotten back is continuing to stock their prospect cupboard and draft capital. What more do you really want in a rebuild?

Sean: This is going to be one of the best bad teams we’ve seen in years.

Last Week: 26
Record: 3-5-0
Dom rank: 26
Sean rank: 27
Hailey rank: 28

My town was a wasteland

Full of cages, full of fences

Pageant queens and big pretenders

But for some, it was paradise

Dom: To Johnny Gaudreau, Columbus was exactly where he wanted to be. To the rest of us, it was an odd choice going to a very thin team (a wasteland) that wasn’t as good as their record (big pretenders). So far so good for Gaudreau who’s scoring at a point-per-game, but not so much for the 3-5-0 Blue Jackets.

Sean: I dunno, I’ll throw on the Blue Jackets if the rest of the games are lame. Patrik Laine is back. David Jiricek is already on the roster.

28. Chicago Blackhawks

Last Week: 29
Record: 4-3-0
Dom rank: 28
Sean rank: 28
Hailey rank: 27

I should not be left to my own devices

They come with prices and vices

I end up in crisis

Dom: As spooky season comes to an end, there is perhaps no scarier duo than “the Chicago Blackhawks” and “have traded.” The first domino to this crisis was the Seth Jones trade, but they’ve only dug bigger holes since – and now they might not even be bad enough to fully tank.

Hailey: My favorite thing to happen this week was Blackhawks fans trying to galaxy-brain an Alex DeBrincat trade back to Chicago.

Sean: Alex Stalock had a rough Thursday night — Connor McDavid, things of that nature — but he came into the game with a .938 save percentage and the sixth-best GSAx in the league. That’s how this is happening, in other words.

Last Week: 28
Record: 1-5-1
Dom rank: 29
Sean rank: 29
Hailey rank: 30

And the voices that implore

“You should be doing more”

To you I can admit

That I’m just too soft for all of it

Dom: Really expected more out of the Ducks to start the season – they look awful. They’re also one of the least physical teams in the league which may be a problem if any of their young players want to “skill it up” this season.

Sean: Whatever — Trevor Zegras has a one-timer now.

Last Week: 31
Record: 3-7-0
Dom rank: 31
Sean rank: 30
Hailey rank: 29

I have this thing where I get older but just never wiser

Hailey: Are we talking about the previous management group who kept signing aging players to long contracts? Or the aging players on long-term contracts? Choose your own adventure!

Sean: Congrats to Kevin Labanc and Matt Benning, the only two guys on this roster with an expected goals percentage above 50.

Last Week: 32
Record: 2-4-0
Dom rank: 32
Sean rank: 31
Hailey rank: 31

And every single one of your friends was making fun of you

But 15 seconds later they were clapping too?

Then what did you do?

Dom: The whole “playing in a college arena” thing is one big joke, a Mickey Mouse operation for what should be a major-league team. It’s getting routinely made fun of for good reason.

On the other hand, it’s also going to rule. A college atmosphere is going to make Coyotes home games actually fun this year, especially with tickets set aside for a students section. And a drumline! Neat!

Sean: It’s unfair that we have to think critically each week about a team that doesn’t take this season seriously. Just speed-run this whole thing.

32. Vancouver Canucks

Last Week: 30
Record: 1-5-2
Dom rank: 30
Sean rank: 32
Hailey rank: 32

You know how scared I am of elevators

Never trust it if it rises fast

It can’t last

Hailey: Did we all put too much trust in the 103-point pace Canucks under Bruce Boudreau? Did Thatcher Demko create a mirage with excellent goaltending? Do I have trust issues?

Dom: Some Canucks fans certainly did, but hey – they got their first win of the season! Good for them, it only took a couple weeks.

Sean: If you look at certain numbers, you may think that the Canucks don’t deserve to be down here. Do not look at those numbers.

(Top photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

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