Super 16: Only constant is change

Friday, 01.29.2016 / 3:00 AM
Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer

Not counting the preseason poll, this week marks the 16th Super 16 of the season. The weekly poll made its 2015-16 debut Oct. 16 and has been a staple of your weekly reading on NHL.com every Friday.

With it being 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, the break in the action provides the time to look back at how the rankings have played out this season.

To say they've been steady would be, well, incorrect.

Twenty-five of the 30 teams have been ranked at one point or another this season. Five teams have been ranked in every Super 16.

Here is a look at the week-by-week rankings for those five teams:

Washington Capitals: 9, 2, 2, 6, 5, 5, 3, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

Chicago Blackhawks: 7, 8, 7, 10, 10, 7, 7, 7, 5, 5, 3, 5, 2, 2, 2, 2

Dallas Stars: 15, 7, 6, 2, 4, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 5, 4, 6, 5

St. Louis Blues: 10, 3, 5, 4, 2, 8, 5, 6, 6, 7, 4, 3, 9, 7, 4, 7

New York Rangers: 5, 11, 11, 5, 3, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 14, 8, 7, 6, 9, 9

The Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota Wild made it into 15 of the 16 Super 16s.

The Kings and Islanders weren't ranked in the Oct. 16 poll. The Lightning dropped out of the poll Jan. 8 after being ranked in the first 12 polls. The slumping Wild are not ranked this week after being in there for 15 straight weeks.

The teams that have not been ranked at any point this season are the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets. It should be noted the Blue Jackets were No. 14 in the preseason poll that came out Oct. 2.

Of the 25 teams that have been ranked, three have been at the top as the No. 1 team. Washington was ranked No. 1 seven times; the Montreal Canadiens six games; and Dallas three times.

The Capitals not only lead the League in most times being No. 1, they also lead in consecutive weeks at the top spot; this is their seventh consecutive week at No. 1. They were No. 3 in the preseason poll.

The Canadiens were No. 1 five times in a row from Oct. 16 through Nov. 13. But it shows how fleeting success can be because this is their second straight week out of the Super 16.

The Stars lead in total times being ranked second in the poll with five. They were ranked first or second in seven consecutive polls from Nov. 20 through Jan. 1.

The Capitals have been ranked in the top five a League-high 14 times, including each of the past 12 weeks. The Stars have been ranked in the top five 12 times. The Kings have been a top-five team 10 times. The Blackhawks have been in the top five for eight consecutive weeks.

And now check out this week's poll.

DISCLAIMER: Though the Super 16 is NHL.com's weekly power rankings, the focus will be more on the "power" than the "rankings" when determining the order. It's not always going to look like the League standings. If two teams are close, the tiebreaker almost always is this: If the two teams started a seven-game series right now, who would prevail?

1. Washington Capitals (35-8-4)

Last week: No. 1

Good: They have a 15-point lead in the Metropolitan Division. The biggest lead any team had at the All-Star break last season was the Anaheim Ducks' eight-point lead in the Pacific Division.

Not so good: Alex Ovechkin will not participate in All-Star Weekend because of a nagging lower-body injury. Per NHL rules, he isn't eligible to play in Washington's game on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.

2. Chicago Blackhawks (33-16-4)

Last week: No. 2

Good: They lead the League with 21 wins and 43 points on home ice.

Not so good: Jonathan Toews has to miss the All-Star Weekend because of an illness and will not be eligible to play Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche.

3. Florida Panthers (29-15-5)

Last week: No. 7

Good: They have 14 goals in their past three games (3-0-0), including wins against the teams that played in the Stanley Cup Final last season.

Not so good: Things have gone quite well since a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) Jan. 11-18.

4. Los Angeles Kings (30-16-3)

Last week: No. 3

Good: With four goals and six points in 10 games since being traded to the Kings on Jan. 6, Vincent Lecavalier has looked like a different player than when he was with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Not so good: Jonathan Quick has lost three consecutive starts (0-3-0) and has allowed 10 goals on 71 shots (.859 save percentage).

5. Dallas Stars (31-14-5)

Last week: No. 6

Good: They've outshot the competition 108-64 in their past three games, including allowing a season-low 15 shots against the Colorado Avalanche in what was a 3-1 loss.

Not so good: They've scored 16 goals in their past nine games (1.78 per game) after scoring 143 goals in their first 41 games (3.49 per game).

6. Tampa Bay Lightning (27-18-4)

Last week: No. 5

Good: They went 6-0-0 at home in January after going 9-8-2 at home through the first three months of the season. In addition, five of their next seven games are at home.

Not so good: The hope has to be their offense isn't going into another prolonged slump; they have five goals in the past three games after scoring 24 in their previous six.

7. St. Louis Blues (28-16-8)

Last week: No. 4

Good: Brian Elliott has a .940 save percentage in nine games since replacing an injured Jake Allen on Jan. 8. Elliott had a .915 save percentage in his first 15 games of the season.

Not so good: All-Star forward Vladimir Tarasenko has one goal in his past nine games.

8. New York Islanders (25-16-6)

Last week: No. 8

Good: John Tavares has five points in his past five games after he had seven in his previous 16, including 11 games without a point.

Not so good: They've played the fewest road games of any team in the Eastern Conference (21), which means they have the most road games remaining (20) of any team.

9. New York Rangers (27-17-5)

Last week: No. 9

Good: Henrik Lundqvist has a .938 save percentage (13 goals-against on 209 shots) in his past seven starts. He had an .886 save percentage (54 goals-against on 473 shots) in his previous 17 games.

Not so good: Rick Nash has no goals in his past nine games and missed the two games before the break because of a bone bruise in his left leg.

10. San Jose Sharks (26-18-4)

Last week: No. 11

Good: They're 8-0-2 and have outscored the opposition 39-20 since Jan. 9.

Not so good: Patrick Marleau has two goals and seven points in his past 17 games.

11. Pittsburgh Penguins (24-17-7)

Last week: NR

Good: Sidney Crosby has 32 points in his past 29 games, including goals in seven straight home games.

Not so good: Their top scorers are scoring. They're getting good goaltending. Kris Letang is back. All in all, things have been pretty good of late.

12. Detroit Red Wings (25-16-8)

Last week: No. 10

Good: Petr Mrazek enters the break with a .932 save percentage in 33 games, tops among all goalies with 30 or more games.

Not so good: Gustav Nyquist has one goal in the past 16 games.

13. Colorado Avalanche (27-22-3)

Last week: No. 15

Good: They have the second most points (38) in the Western Conference since Dec. 1, just behind the Blackhawks (41).

Not so good: Puck possession remains a problem as the Avalanche are last in the NHL with a 44.10 SAT percentage, and they're 27th in shots-against per game (31.3).

14. Boston Bruins (26-18-5)

Last week: No. 12

Good: Ryan Spooner has an assist in four straight games and 15 points in the past 14 games. He's third on the Bruins with 37 points.

Not so good: They've had issues at home, going 11-13-2 at TD Garden. With 24 points in 26 home games, they're 27th in the League in points per game at home (.923).

15. Nashville Predators (24-18-8)

Last week: NR

Good: Pekka Rinne has allowed three goals in his past three starts (3-0-0) after allowing 18 in his previous five (0-4-1).

Not so good: They're back in the poll this week because generally things have been good of late.

16. Arizona Coyotes (24-20-5)

Last week: No. 14

Good: Goalie Louis Domingue arguably has been the best of the surprising success stories this season with nine wins, a .924 save percentage and a 2.31 goals-against average since making his season debut Dec. 17.

Not so good: They are 2-4-1 with 10 goals in their past seven games.

Out From last week: Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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