NHL Power Rankings: Maple Leafs take over top spot

The first week of the season is always difficult to determine the NHL power rankings

For example, the expansion Golden Knights have won their first three games. The Devils, a last-place team a year ago, are 2-0, while the Penguins opened up defense of their Stanley Cup title with a pair of ugly losses.

So, how do you make sense of that when it comes to ranking the best teams? By factoring in the team's current play, as well as the talent on its roster, and not discounting recent past success.

Here's the breakdown on the first NHL power rankings of the 2017-18 regular season.

SN PREDICTIONS: Atlantic | Metro | Central | Pacific | Stanley Cup

NHL power rankings 1.0

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

3-0-0, 6 pts (last week: 6)

The firepower on this team — 19 goals in three games — is jaw-dropping, and that comeback, overtime win over the Blackhawks was as impressive as it was thrilling. So, the Leafs take over the top spot in the power rankings, despite some ugly defensive play at times. Can see the headlines now in Toronto: Leafs Dethrone Pens!

2. Washington Capitals

2-0-1, 5 pts (last week: 7)

Alex Ovechkin scored seven goals in the first two games, a pair of Caps' victories, as he and his team stormed out of the gates. 

MORE: Nathan Walker, NHL's first Australian, took 'long, tough' road to improbable debut

3. Chicago Blackhawks

3-0-1, 7 pts (last week: 10)

A rousing season debut, a 10-1 thumping of the Penguins, certainly caught everyone's attention. Should be unbeaten and maybe atop power rankings this week if not for late stumble and OT loss to Maple Leafs.

4. St. Louis Blues

4-0-0, 8 pts (last week: 21)

So many injuries, yet no excuses. The Blues just keep winning games.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning

2-1-0, 4 pts (last week: 5)

OK, Andrei Vasilevsky has been hung out to dry by his defense a ton already, but remaining bullish on this team, which can outscore most of its mistakes with a silly good offense.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins

1-1-1, 3 pts (last week: 1)

Yes, their defense was brutal the first two games, but Matt Murray and Co. rebounded with a 4-0 shutout over the Predators. They are the defending champs and earned some leeway in these power rankings, especially in the season's first week.

MORE: Penguins celebrate Cup with Donald Trump at White House

7. Anaheim Ducks

1-1-1, 3 pts (last week: 2)

The Ducks fall five spots in the rankings, but not overlooking this is a really good team despite injuries and scoring woes marring the season's first week.

8. Edmonton Oilers

1-2-0, 2 pts (last week: 3)

Similar to the Ducks, the Oilers did not have a great week, despite a 3-0 Connor McDavid hat trick-inspired win on opening night. But still too good a team to drop from top 10.

9. Columbus Blue Jackets

2-1-0, 4 pts (last week: 8)

Sonny Milano has four goals in the first three games of the season, including a pair and the OT game-winner Tuesday.

10. Calgary Flames

2-1-0, 4 pts (last week: 15)

The defense has been as advertised with only six goals allowed in the first three games, coming off a 2-0 shutout win over the Ducks. Love Mike Smith's battle level which was on full display during season opener against Oilers.

11. Minnesota Wild

0-1-1, 1 pt (last week: 4)

Some uncharacteristic shoddy defensive play and goaltending in the first two games. This is a good team. Probably dropped too far in rankings.

12. Los Angeles Kings

2-0-0, 4 pts (last week: 25)

Jonathan Quick is healthy and looked terrific, so far, stopping 59 of 60 shots in first two games.

13. Philadelphia  Flyers

2-2-0, 4 pts (last week: 22)

Took two out of three on the West Coast and then rallied for late two-goal lead in Nashville Tuesday before caving, and losing to the Predators, 6-5, to close out road trip.

14. New York Islanders

1-1-1, 3 pts (last week: 16)

A win and an overtime loss that featured a rousing late-game rally followed an ugly opener in Columbus.

MORE: John Tavares leads offensive surge in home opener

15. Nashville Predators

1-2-0, 2 pts (last week: 11)

Not a pretty start to the season, and were blanked by the Penguins in a Stanley Cup rematch, but what a comeback in the home opener to beat the Flyers Tuesday night.

16. Dallas Stars

1-2-0, 2 pts (last week: 9)

Lost their first two, but looked hungry in a 4-2 win over the Red Wings on Tuesday.

17. Winnipeg Jets

1-2-0, 2 pts (last week: 17)

Nikolaj Ehlers' hat trick highlights the week. Gotta be better in own end as a whole, however.

18. Ottawa Senators

1-0-2, 4 pts (last week: 18)

A couple of overtime losses to start out, and then went past 60 minutes again to earn first win.

19. New Jersey Devils

2-0-0, 4 pts (last week: 27)

Give the Devils their due after pair of impressive season-opening wins — albeit against two of the league's weaker teams. This team is morphing into a fun-to-watch offensive show. Rookie Jesper Bratt has three goals already.

MORE: Hischier, Butcher, Bratt shine in debuts for new-look Devils

20. Carolina Hurricanes

1-0-1, 3 pts (last week: 19)

Not much to go on here, but did win opener, 5-4, over the Wild and earned a point on a late Jeff Skinner goal that forced overtime Tuesday.

21. Vegas Golden Knights

3-0-0, 6 pts (last week: 31)

Best story in the NHL. First expansion team to ever win first three games. Incredible.

MORE: Golden Knights come home to help Las Vegas 'grieve, heal and persevere'

22. Detroit Red Wings

2-1-0, 4 pts (last week: 28)

Not expecting this to continue, but Red Wings started with two well-played wins in which Jimmy Howard stopped 74 of 77 shots.

MORE: David Booth, with new perspectives, cherishing comeback with Red Wings

23. New York Rangers

1-3-0, 2 pts (last week: 12)

Slow starts in every game, so far, plus struggles to score consistently at even strength, and the Rangers have lost three of their first four.

MORE: Rangers send Filip Chytil to AHL after two-game experiment

24. Boston Bruins

1-1-0, 2 pts (last week: 20)

Injuries are an early concern. Not the deepest roster.

25. Colorado Avalanche

2-1-0, 4 pts (last week: 30)

Start the season with three-game road trip and win a pair. Not bad at all for the worst team in the NHL a year ago.

26. Montreal Canadiens

1-3-0, 2 pts (last week: 14)

Gruesome Saturday, then some bad luck and shut out Sunday, and beaten by a real good Blackhawks team Tuesday.

MORE: Claude Julien still trying to make Habs' blue line golden

27. Florida Panthers

1-1-0, 2 pts (last week: 24)

Lost to Lightning, then beat the Lightning.

28. San Jose Sharks

0-2-0, 0 pts (last week: 13)

A couple of home losses to get the season underway.

29. Vancouver Canucks

1-1-0, 3 pts (last week: 29)

Nice opening-night 3-2 win over Oilers for new coach Travis Green.

MORE: Travis Green opens up about playing career shaping coach

30. Arizona Coyotes

0-2-1, 1 pt (last week: 24)

Seeking first win still. Run out of Las Vegas in first period Tuesday.

31. Buffalo Sabres

0-2-1, 1 pt (last week: 26)

Putrid defensively, allowing 15 goals in three games. Looked inept trying to contain Devils Monday when New Jersey scored six goals in first two periods.

Source : http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/news/nhl-power-rankings-toronto-maple-leafs-take-over-top-spot/143waqd9a4ombzwuzre19hxe0

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