1 New Jersey Devils (3-0-0)
I know what you’re thinking, but through one week of play the Devils have looked like a fast, skilled and competent team and lead the Eastern Conference at the time of this article’s writing. The Devils look like they could be a surprise team this year.
They met up with another early season leader in the Maple Leafs last night and came out with a 6-3 win, moving the needle in their favor for first place in the power rankings.
2 Toronto Maple Leafs (3-1-0)
Despite a loss last night, the Maple Leafs have scored a league best 22 goals through four games and are primed to be even more potent offensively than last season. Their only weak spot so far has been their defensive play but Mike Babcock won’t allow such play to stick around.
3 Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-0)
After two losses to begin the season which included a 10-1 loss at the hands of Chicago, the Penguins have rebounded nicely to put up back-to-back wins as they entertain aspirations of a three-peat this season.
4 Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0)
It was a tough choice this early on between Tampa and Washington’s place so I let their recent matchup on Monday do the talking, a 4-3 overtime win for Tampa Bay has them within a point of Washington in the standings. Tampa is hungry this year and has a full, healthy roster so be warned NHL.
5 Washington Capitals (2-1-1)
After posting back-to-back wins to begin the season, the Capitals have seen a recent slip losing their last two games. This veteran group however won’t let this last too long and will rebound accordingly in what is a make or break season for the team.
6 Columbus Blue Jackets (2-1-0)
The Blue Jackets have begun the season in fairly sound fashion, picking up two solid wins sandwiched around an awkward 5-1 decision to the Blackhawks. Sonny Milano has been a nice surprise and is inserting his name into the Calder discussion.
7 Ottawa Senators (1-0-2)
Picked by many pundits to regress in 2017/18, Ottawa has managed points in all of their games so far this season to show they are not a shadow of last year’s team. The Sens will remain a competitive bunch in the Eastern Conference, just wait until Erik Karlsson returns.
8 Philadelphia Flyers (2-2-0)
The Flyers emerged 2-1 on a season opening California road trip which is a tough three-game stretch for any Eastern Conference team. Their overall road trip ended with a tough overtime loss in Nashville but the Flyers are again looking like a competitive club in the East.
9 Detroit Red Wings (2-1-0)
Detroit picked up some big early wins to position themselves better than many expected even early on this season. This team is now in the midst of a transitional era and it will be interesting to see if these new players can begin anew after this franchise’s first post-playoff miss season since 1990/91.
10 Carolina Hurricanes (1-0-1)
This team has been picked by many to have a resurgent year in the Eastern Conference. They showed good form in a season opening win against Minnesota but lost to divisional opponent Columbus in game two. After only two games, we need to much more to determine whether Carolina is for real or not.
11 New York Islanders (1-2-1)
A 1-3 start is not the record the Islanders want to get off to in John Tavares’ contract year because this team has enough hanging over their heads whether it's JT's contract or their new arena pursuit. This roster has just barely enough to compete in the East and will have to scratch and claw for every point.
12 Florida Panthers (1-1-0)
A season opening home and home with the Lightning has Florida 1-1. This early on, everyone is in the race and Florida has it in their hands to keep themselves in it if they play to their true potential, which is something they barely did last year.
13 New York Rangers (1-3-0)
The Rangers already have a losing record on home ice this season (1-2) and will need to play much better than they currently are to stay competitive in the East.
Goal scoring has not been the issue, but usually solid netminder Henrik Lundqvist is showing signs of age as the team have allowed the 5th most goals in the NHL at 15.
14 Montreal Canadiens (1-3-0)
This was another team that faced an off-season of change and has merited many varying takes on how they will fare this season. So far this year, the Habs have lost three straight after opening the season with a win. Montreal are already -8 in goal differential, an area they usually excel in. This team can rebound, but through one week, it's not been good.
15 Boston Bruins (1-2-0)
A season opening win was followed up by getting swept in a home and home with the Avalanche who were the worst team in the NHL last year. Boston has added some young pieces, but it will be tough for this year's squad to compete in the Eastern Conference.
16 Buffalo Sabres (0-2-1)
The Phil Housley Era in Buffalo is underway and so far the results have not been in the Sabres favor as they find themselves with one point through three games played. This has also included back-to-back losses where they surrendered six goals. Buffalo is still an interesting case study with their young pieces but the youth could also make it a long year in Buffalo.
What do you think of the NHL power rankings for the Eastern Conference after the first week? Let us know in the comments section below.
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