Surprising teams to start the list
SPOILER ALERT! The Chicago Blackhawks are not in the top eight. At least, not right now. Sorry, Chicago. You are fifth in the division, and are playing .500 hockey at home. And, you have a losing record for the last two games. Sure, things are really close in the division, but right now, you are on the outside looking in.
Number 8: Dallas Stars
Special teams are leading the charge for the Stars. With the best power play percentage and third best penalty kill in the NHL. the Stars are showing their potential to be a great team. But, how long can they rely on special teams?
At even strength, they are being outscored by opponents, 36 to 31. While they have the pieces for a potent offense, their goaltending is struggling to start. Right now, Ben Bishop‘s save percentage is .908. That is tied for 17th for net-minders whom have started 12 or more games. Eleven starting goalies in the west alone have better percentages. That could be the reason the Stars fall.
Number 7: Calgary Flames
This is where the rankings get tough, because the Flames are red-hot right now. Since the calendar turned to November, Calgary’s record is 4-1-0. Two other teams in our rankings match that. I guess we will need to get a bit picky.
Their scoring differential is +1. Good, but not great. Ten of their goals come on the power play, which is in the bottom half of the league. And, their penalty kill is 29th overall. But, what I think is most concerning moving forward is their record against the Western Conference.
As it stands now, the Flames are 6-5-0 in their conference. That is respectable; however, it serves as our tie-breaker for this discussion. Keep that in mind.