Power Rankings: Failure in 140 characters


Say, are you a Twitter user? Did you happen to experience a seismic shift this week, where something that was easily digestible (but a frequent cause of heartburn) was transformed into an unreadable mess, filled with users overcome with a sudden sense of supremacy because they could now express their inane thoughts in 280 characters?

Yeah, so did I.

For this week’s Power Rankings — voted, as always, by ESPN’s panel of experts — we honor the ethereal concept of brevity by offering pithy observations in 140 characters or fewer. Hashtag: blessed.

How we rank: We use a panel of voters, and these rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams are favored over lower-ranked teams. A run of wins doesn’t guarantee a jump, and a couple of losses doesn’t guarantee a fall.

Previous rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

Record: 12-2-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 2

Can Nikita Kucherov score 50 goals in 50 games? Everyone who’s done it has had an elite playmaker with them, and Steven Stamkos is one.

Record: 12-3-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 1

The Blues drop from the top spot, as our voters are clearly bracing themselves for some sort of regression. We debated their realness here.

Record: 11-2-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 3

Two things are clear: Jonathan Quick is playing out of his gourd (.937 save percentage), and Ducks vs. Kings is the NHL’s best rivalry, full stop.

Record: 8-5-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 6

The Islanders are one of only three teams this season undefeated in regulation at home (5-0-2). Alas, they’re also 30th in average attendance (11,700).

Record: 8-3-3
Week 4 ranking: No. 9

Connor Hellebuyck has a .949 save percentage at even strength, better than any other goalie with at least 10 appearances. Steve Mason, meanwhile, does not.

Record: 8-7-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 27

Our biggest mover of the week, the Rangers are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games and have won five straight. Call off the Alain Vigneault watch!

Record: 8-5-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 19

The Predators have won three in a row. Not rolling? No. 1 center Ryan Johansen, who has no goals and just 19 shots on goal despite 209 shot attempts.

Record: 10-7-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 7

The Leafs are second in goals per game with 3.76 in 17 games, after averaging 3.05 last season. The bad news? They’re averaging 3.53 goals against.

Record: 9-6-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 5

Seth Jones is off to a brilliant start: 12 points in 16 games, tied for the team lead with Artemi Panarin. He averaged 0.56 points per game in 2016-17.

Record: 9-6-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 10

While plus/minus is a flawed stat and all of that, please note that after 17 games, the Penguins don’t have any players with a positive one.

Record: 9-4-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 4

The Devils are on a 0-2-1 skid, but remain fifth in the NHL in points percentage at .678. Fabulous start, even with the recent stumble.

Record: 6-3-5
Week 4 ranking: No. 12

Matt Duchene, acquired in that blockbuster trade with Colorado, was second on the Avs in even-strength points over the last two seasons (40).

Record: 8-6-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 14

After their 5-1 waxing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Sharks’ team goals-against average jumped from 2.31 to 2.50. Thanks, Kucherov.

Record: 6-5-3
Week 4 ranking: No. 22

David Pastrnak continues his strong season with nine goals. Brad Marchand has eight in 12 games. No other Bruin has more than three.

Record: 8-7-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 20

Alex Ovechkin has goals in three straight games and 13 goals in 16 games. Four of them have come on the power play.

Record: 8-5-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 17

Derek Dorsett leads the Canucks with seven goals, after scoring six goals in his last 85 NHL games. We live in interesting times.

Record: 8-7-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 24

Dylan Larkin has 14 points to lead the Wings, and is heating up with five points in his last five games. Yet he has only two goals.

Record: 7-8-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 29

The Canadiens have won three in a row, including a 2-0 shutout of the Blackhawks by Charlie Lindgren, who is now 5-0-0 in his NHL career.

Record: 9-5-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 11

Look, we just follow the votes. The Knights are 5-4-1 in their last 10, and are still second in the Pacific. Yet the voters are unimpressed.

Record: 8-7-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 8

The Stars have the NHL’s best power play, with a conversation rate of 31.8 percent, despite having the second-fewest opportunities (44).

Record: 7-6-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 13

Brandon Saad has cooled off considerably: No goals in his last nine games, and just one assist in that span. He’s scoreless in five straight.

Record: 8-7-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 16

Mike Smith has a spiffy .936 save percentage at even strength, having faced the third-most shots at EV (358) in the NHL.

Record: 8-6-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 23

After Duchene was traded, Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie are tied for the team lead in even-strength points at eight.

Record: 7-6-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 18

Shayne Gostisbehere leads all defensemen with nine power-play points. He finished seventh in that category last season with 23 points.

Record: 6-6-3
Week 4 ranking: No. 15

Our voters obviously think the Ryan Getzlaf injury is finally one too many for the Ducks, who drop 10 spots in the Rankings.

Record: 5-8-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 28

This Connor McDavid overtime winner vs. New York is one of Edmonton’s season highlights and an argument for regulation 3-on-3 play.

Record: 5-7-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 25

The Wild have lost three straight and have a .428 points percentage which is — wait for it — 27th in the NHL.

Record: 5-5-3
Week 4 ranking: No. 21

The Canes’ offense continues to sputter along at a 2.62 goals-per-game average clip, despite being second in shots on goal per game (37).

Record: 5-8-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 30

Evander Kane is a point-per-game player for the Sabres, which means that he’s probably at the front of the trade-bait line.

Record: 4-8-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 26

The Panthers are on a 2-6-2 skid, and have the NHL’s worst defense in averaging 4.14 goals-against per game.

Record: 2-13-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 31

We’d recap all the ways Arizona is terrible, from its ghastly regulation record to its minus-26 goal differential, but alas we only have 140 characte

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