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State of NHL forces: Panthers dislodge Avalanche; the CH play better

SPECIAL COLLABORATION

It may have taken 50 games, a change of coach and two consecutive overtime decisions, but the Canadiens finally won back-to-back games for the first time this season. The change of coach has been good for training. The effort is much better and the CH no longer give up after giving up a goal. Cole Caufield in particular seems to love playing under Martin St-Louis. Caufield has 4 goals and 5 points in as many games and is much more dynamic, not hesitating to shoot when the opportunity arises. It’s not enough to take the CH out of 32nd place in the State of forces, but there is no doubt that Montreal is playing much better. It remains to be seen how long the effect of the new coach will last.

 

The Panthers and Avalanche are in a heated battle for the President’s Trophy and although the standings advantage goes to Colorado, it’s Florida that takes first place in the State of Forces after a perfect week of 3-0-0. The Panthers notably beat the Hurricanes and the Wild, two clubs that were in the top-10 last week. They have the best expected goal and goal differentials in the NHL, but the Avalanche aren’t far behind and are ready to reclaim the top spot at the slightest sign of the Panthers slowing down.

 

Pardon the pun, but the Flames are on fire having won their last 9 games and are just one win away from tying the franchise record of 10 straight wins. They’re only 10th overall, but everything about their game says they should keep climbing. Jacob Markstrom leads the NHL with 8 shutouts while no one else has more than 4. Offensively, the trio of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Matthew Tkachuk lead the charge. The Flames have scored 48 even-strength goals when all three players are on the ice. No other three unit has more than 33. Calgary more than deserves to be the highest-ranked Canadian club in the State of Forces.

 

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Toronto maintains its place in the top-5 after a week of 2-1-0. Toronto stood out off the ice this week as well, sending Nick Ritchie and a conditional 2nd round pick to the Coyotes for Ryan Dzingel and defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin. With Dzingel already on waivers, Lyubushkin was clearly the key piece of the deal for Toronto. It just adds depth to the blue line, something Toronto seeks every year. Toronto has four games this week, three of them on the road, but with the exception of the Wild, are not facing clubs in the State Forces top-16. A perfect opportunity to gain ground on the Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

 

The Oilers are slowly recovering from their spectacular slide that led to a coaching change. A Sunday loss to the Wild ended a 5-game winning streak since the coaching change. Despite everything, the Oilers remain in full playoff contention and are currently ranked 3rd in the Pacific Division. They climb 6 places in our ranking and knock on the door of the top-10.

 

The playoff race is hotly contested in the West and the Jets and Canucks are struggling to gain ground. They both have fairly ordinary records in February (4-3-1 for Winnipeg, 3-3-0 for Vancouver) and are tied in the standings, despite the Jets having two games in hand. Both clubs need winning streaks if they are serious about a chance of making it into the spring tournament. It will be interesting to see if they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

 

A 1-2-1 record for the Senators this week, but that’s enough to move up one position in the State of Forces. Ottawa pushed the Bruins into overtime and gave the Rangers a hard time in a 2-1 loss. They’re still a long way from being a playoff club, but there are definitely plenty of long-term hopeful signs in the nation’s capital.

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1. Florida Panthers

Last week: No. 4 | 35-10-5

  • Avg. dif. goals+1.28 (1)
  • dif. Xgoals+.92 (1)
  • Dot %.750 (2)

2. Colorado Avalanche

Last week: No. 1 | 36-9-4

  • Avg. dif. goals+1.18 (2)
  • dif. Xgoals+.86 (3)
  • Dot %.776 (1)

3. Calgary Flames

Last week: No. 2 | 29-13-6

  • Avg. dif. goals+1.06 (4)
  • dif. Xgoals+.74 (4)
  • Dot %.667 (9)

4. Carolina Hurricanes

Last week: No. 6 | 34-11-4

  • Avg. dif. goals+1.108 (3)
  • dif. Xgoals+.56 (5)
  • Dot %.735 (3)

5. Toronto Maple Leafs

Last week: No. 5 | 32-13-3

  • Avg. dif. goals+.85 (5)
  • dif. Xgoals+.90 (2)
  • Dot %.698 (5)

6. Tampa Bay Lightning

Last week: No. 8 | 32-11-6

  • Avg. dif. goals+.65 (9)
  • dif. Xgoals+.36 (9)
  • Dot %.714 (4)

7. Pittsburgh Penguins

Last week: No. 3 | 31-13-8

  • Avg. dif. goals+.69 (8)
  • dif. Xgoals+.56 (6)
  • Dot %.673 (8)

8. St. Louis Blues

Last week: No. 11 | 29-14-6

  • Avg. dif. goals+.78 (7)
  • dif. Xgoals+.06 (15)
  • Dot %.653 (10)

9. New York Rangers

Last week: No. 9 | 32-13-5

  • Avg. dif. goals+.44 (11)
  • dif. Xgoals-.05 (17)
  • Dot %.690 (7)

10. Washington Capitals

Last week: No. 13 | 28-15-9

  • Avg. dif. goals+.5 (10)
  • dif. Xgoals+.17 (12)
  • Dot %.625 (11)

11. Edmonton Oilers

Last week: No. 17 | 28-19-3

  • Avg. dif. goals.08 (15)
  • dif. Xgoals+.54 (7)
  • Dot %.59 (15)

12. Minnesota Wild

Last week: No. 7 | 31-13-3

  • Avg. dif. goals+.83 (6)
  • dif. Xgoals+.15 (13)
  • Dot %.691 (6)

13. Los Angeles Kings

Last week: No. 10 | 26-17-7

  • Avg. dif. goals+.12 (14)
  • dif. Xgoals+.27 (11)
  • Dot %.59 (15)

14. Dallas Stars

Last week: No. 16 | 27-20-2

  • Avg. dif. goals-.08 (19)
  • dif. Xgoals+.37 (8)
  • Dot %.571 (17)

15. Winnipeg Jets

Last week: No. 15 | 22-20-8

  • Avg. dif. goals0 (17)
  • dif. Xgoals+.06 (16)
  • Dot %.531 (19)

16. Vegas Golden Knights

Last week: No. 12 | 29-14-4

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  • Avg. dif. goals+.31 (12)
  • dif. Xgoals+.13 (14)
  • Dot %.608 (13)

17. Boston Bruins

Last week: No. 14 | 29-17-4

  • Avg. dif. goals+.06 (16)
  • dif. Xgoals+.29 (10)
  • Dot %.612 (12)

18. Columbus Blue Jackets

Last week: No. 20 | 25-23-1

  • Avg. dif. goals-.39 (22)
  • dif. Xgoals-.44 (26)
  • Dot %.52 (20)

19. New York Islanders

Last week: No. 21 | 18-20-7

  • Avg. dif. goals-.27 (21)
  • dif. Xgoals-.13 (20)
  • Dot %.478 (24)

20. Detroit Red Wings

Last week: No. 19 | 23-22-6

  • Avg. dif. goals-.61 (25)
  • dif. Xgoals-.54 (27)
  • Dot %.510 (21)

21. Vancouver Canucks

Last week: No. 22 | 23-22-6

  • Avg. dif. goals-.22 (20)
  • dif. Xgoals-.37 (25)
  • Dot %.510 (21)

22. Nashville Predators

Last week: No. 18 | 28-18-4

  • Avg. dif. goals+.22 (13)
  • dif. Xgoals-.24 (22)
  • Dot %.6 (14)

23. Anaheim Ducks

Last week: No. 23 | 24-19-9

  • Avg. dif. goals-.02 (18)
  • dif. Xgoals-.33 (24)
  • Dot %.548 (18)

24. New Jersey Devils

Last week: No. 27 | 17-28-5

  • Avg. dif. goals-.66 (26)
  • dif. Xgoals-.01 (19)
  • Dot %.39 (29)

25. Ottawa Senators

Last week: No. 26 | 18-26-5

  • Avg. dif. goals-.53 (24)
  • dif. Xgoals-.66 (29)
  • Dot %.418 (26)

26. Chicago Blackhawks

Last week: No. 28 | 18-26-8

  • Avg. dif. goals-.98 (30)
  • dif. Xgoals-.01 (18)
  • Dot %.423 (25)

27. San Jose Sharks

Last week: No. 24 | 22-22-5

  • Avg. dif. goals-.47 (23)
  • dif. Xgoals-.29 (23)
  • Dot %.5 (23)

28. Seattle Kraken

Last week: No. 25 | 16-31-4

  • Avg. dif. goals-.92 (29)
  • dif. Xgoals-.15 (21)
  • Dot %.353 (30)

29. Buffalo Sabers

Last week: No. 29 | 16-27-8

  • Avg. dif. goals-.88 (28)
  • dif. Xgoals-.84 (30)
  • Dot %.392 (28)

30. Philadelphia Flyers

Last week: No. 30 | 15-25-10

  • Avg. dif. goals-.88 (27)
  • dif. Xgoals-.56 (28)
  • Dot %.398 (27)

31. Arizona Coyotes

Last week: No. 31 | 13-33-4

  • Avg. dif. goals-1.38 (31)
  • dif. Xgoals-1.11 (32)
  • Dot %.3 (31)

32. Montreal Canadiens

Last week: No. 32 | 10-33-7

  • Avg. dif. goals-1.7 (32)
  • dif. Xgoals-.92 (31)
  • Dot %.27 (32)

 

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