Power Rankings: The top worry for every team

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The NHL has rolled through the midpoint of the season, so it’s time to start worrying about what each team still needs to challenge for a playoff spot down the stretch … or just find some respectability. This week’s Power Rankings — voted on, as always, by ESPN’s panel of experts — are full of concerns and consternations.

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 don’t guarantee a fall.

Previous rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13

Record: 29-10-2
Week 13 Ranking: No. 2

You’d think, with all the bottom-six forwards the Golden Knights were able to select in the expansion draft, that their penalty killing would be better. Alas, they’re 15th in the league, at 81.3 percent, through 41 games. That drops to 78.7 percent on the road.

Record: 31-9-3
Week 13 Ranking: No. 1

Alex Killorn is playing reduced minutes this season but has been dynamite from a point-production standpoint, at 0.56 per game, a career high. Even so, he is on pace for his lowest goal production season since his rookie season, with five in his first 43 games.

Record: 26-11-7
Week 13 Ranking: No. 4

Hey, we love Patrik Laine. We’d also love him to be a wee bit more consistent in the goal-scoring department, as Laine recently had a goal drought of seven games. Still, 19 goals puts him close to the rookie pace that netted him 36 last season.

Record: 24-13-5
Week 13 Ranking: No. 8

It’s strange to see the Kings near the top of their division while being a middling possession team (49.69 through 42 games), but here we are.

Record: 27-13-3
Week 13 Ranking: No. 5

All due respect to Andre Burakovsky, who has had injury issues this season, but he has points in only two of his past 12 games.

Record: 25-11-6
Week 13 Ranking: No. 3

Hey, remember when Kyle Turris was scoring a point per game and making Ottawa fans cry in their beers? We’d like to see more of that and less of the one goal and one assist in his past 10 games.

Record: 23-10-7
Week 13 Ranking: No. 10

The good news is that the Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak troika has been the best line in hockey. The bad news is that only two of the rest of the Bruins’ forwards have north of 20 points.

Record: 26-17-3
Week 13 Ranking: No. 6

This being the St. Louis Blues, let’s just cut to the chase: H-E-A-L-T-H.

Record: 25-17-3
Week 13 Ranking: No. 9

A goal for the Leafs in the second half: that Roman Polak can be an effective player without his apparent addiction to taking penalties.

Record: 24-16-3
Week 13 Ranking: No. 14

Find some way, some how to get Jason Spezza going again. He has 16 points in 43 games, which has him on track for the worst offensive season of his career.

Record: 22-11-8
Week 13 Ranking: No. 7

They need to pick up the points they’re leaving in overtime. The Devils were in a 5-2-3 rut that saw them leave points on the table in overtime and the shootout. Their eight OT losses are the most by any team currently in a playoff spot.

Record: 25-16-3
Week 13 Ranking: No. 13

Pray that their offensive studs stay healthy. Having guys such as Cam Atkinson, Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Dubinsky miss significant time in the first half wasn’t easy. Here’s hoping the Jackets keep their offensive weapons healthy for the stretch run.

Record: 21-16-6
Week 13 Ranking: No. 19

This one’s easy and also health-related: Corey Crawford played Vezina-quality goaltending early in the season but has been out since Dec. 23. The Blackhawks have done surprisingly well in his absence, but they need him back to make an assault on the wild card.

Record: 22-15-5
Week 13 Ranking: No. 12

How about some help for Henrik Lundqvist? He has faced the third-most shots in the NHL among goalies, and many of them have been of a high quality.

Record: 21-13-6
Week 13 Ranking: No. 15

I love Joe Pavelski. You love Joe Pavelski. But Joe Pavelski should have more than eight goals in 40 games. He must catch fire in the second half.

Record: 22-19-3
Week 13 Ranking: No. 17

As every Penguins fan knows, scoring from the bottom six is the priority. Maybe Daniel Sprong helps? But, most likely, a trade helps more.

Record: 19-15-9
Week 13 Ranking: No. 18

Look, injuries happen. But the number of Ducks players with double-digit goals and a goals-per-game average about 0.30 is … two.

Record: 23-17-4
Week 13 Ranking: No. 11

Look, Corsi isn’t the be-all and end-all of stats, but the Wild are 31st in the league in possession, at 46.29 percent at five-on-five.

Record: 22-16-3
Week 13 Ranking: No. 25

It’s a crazy thought, but some secondary scoring behind the Nathan MacKinnon line would be optimum.

Record: 19-15-8
Week 13 Ranking: No. 20

The Hurricanes’ power play is 23rd in the NHL. The good news is that it is better than the team’s penalty kill, which is 24th.

Record: 19-15-8
Week 13 Ranking: No. 27

Stop us if you’ve heard this one: It’s a one-line team that could really use some secondary scoring.

Record: 21-18-4
Week 13 Ranking: No. 16

It would be nice if either Thomas Greiss or Jaroslav Halak grabs the reins and rolls with it for a few weeks.

Record: 19-16-4
Week 13 Ranking: No. 23

The Flames are, at the very least, consistent: 22nd overall on the power play and the kill.

Record: 16-21-6
Week 13 Ranking: No. 28

Honestly? Hang tough, keep the positive moment going and hope that GM Jim Benning has as successful a deadline as he had last season.

Record: 17-17-5
Week 13 Ranking: No. 21

Once again, the top line? Super great. The rest of the offense … well, it sure could use Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, huh?

Record: 16-16-7
Week 13 Ranking: No. 24

The Wings are hanging tough, but the hope here is that GM Ken Holland makes some moves to improve Detroit’s cap situation for next season.

Record: 18-20-4
Week 13 Ranking: No. 26

The Habs’ big hope for the rest of the season: Um … uh … getting a great haul for Max Pacioretty?

Record: 17-20-3
Week 13 Ranking: No. 22

This season is becoming all but lost, so the hope here is that Connor McDavid both stays healthy and continues his full-on pursuit of the Art Ross trophy.

Record: 15-18-9
Week 13 Ranking: No. 29

Ottawa’s goal? That the team remains terrible because top prospect Rasmus Dahlin and Erik Karlsson on the same defense would be incredible.

Record: 9-27-5
Week 13 Ranking: No. 31

That the team remains terrible because Rasmus Dahlin and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the same defense would be incredible.

Record: 10-24-9
Week 13 Ranking: No. 30

That the team remains terrible because Rasmus Dahlin and Jack Eichel on the same power play would be incredible.



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