The puck dropped on the 2014-15 season and it feels so good to finally have hockey back.
Spoiler alert: not much changes on this list after two or three games. Most movements are up or down one spot because the teams were so even in the preseason and I am using week one as a tiebreaker. The other reason is that one team moved way, way down, meaning all the teams below them had to move up.
Five teams made jumps purely on their own accord, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Montreal, Minnesota and New Jersey and one team (Colorado) fell way down the charts, barely staying on this list.
Remember these rankings reflect which team I believe would win a seven-game series on neutral ice at this moment. Without further ado, the first set of regular season power rankings:
1. — Chicago Blackhawks (2-0-0) LW: 1
This just in: The Blackhawks are still good. They can score goals, their goaltending is fine and the loss of Nick Leddy will not cause irreparable harm. They remain my Stanley Cup favorite.
2. — Los Angeles Kings (0-1-1) LW: 2
Not a great start for the Kings, but they will still be there in the end. Losing two division games to begin the season is never good, but it's only two games. Too much talent to stay down too long.
3. ↑ Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-0) LW: 5
That Sidney Crosby fella is pretty good, eh? Three goals, six points in two games. Their defense and goaltending has not been bad either. I always thought they were good, but they may be better than I thought.
4. ↓ Boston Bruins (1-2-0) LW: 3
A very up and down week for Boston. It started off well with a win over Philadelphia, then a close loss to Detroit gave way to a blowout loss at home to Washington. They'll get back on track, but maybe they are not better than the Pens.
5. ↓ St. Louis Blues (1-1-0) LW: 4
Someone had to fall as the Penguins rose and it was St. Louis. The lost a close game to the Rangers then owned the Flames, both at home. Nothing changes here, they are still very good.
6. ↑ San Jose Sharks (2-0-0) LW: 7
It's hard to lose if you never give up a goal. Everyone knew San Jose had plenty of firepower, but the bottom-four on defense was considered shaky and there was a goalie controversy in net. If the Sharks defense can play half this good the rest of the season, they could very well win the Pacific Division.
7. ↓ Anaheim Ducks (1-1-0) LW: 6
Tasked with a road trip to begin the season, the Ducks recovered from a 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh to beat the Red Wings. Their goalie situation may become clearer after a road back-to-back to start next week before returning home for a five-game homestand.
8. ↑ Montreal Canadiens (3-0-0) LW: 11
No team has had a better start to the season than the Habs with three road wins, all by one goal, to begin the season. They may have all been against the middle class of the East, but collecting two points on the road is never an easy task.
9. ↓ New York Rangers (1-1-0) LW: 8
A good first game with Lundqvist, a bad second game with Talbot. New York opened the season on the road against two playoff caliber teams and earned a split. Nothing to worry about.
10. ↓ Tampa Bay Lightning (1-0-1) LW: 9
Tampa earned three out of four points from their two home games against poor divisional opponents. If they struggle against better teams they may fall out of the top 10, but for now they are in.
11. ↑ Minnesota Wild (2-0-0) LW: 12
The Avalanche now have nightmares about playing the Wild. After the Wild owned the Avs 5-0 in Minnesota, they went into Colorado and shut them out 3-0. Minnesota is a good team that will compete for that third Central Division playoff spot.
12. ↓ Dallas Stars (0-1-1) LW: 10
After hanging tough with the No. 1 team on this list, a disastrous third period in Nashville left the Stars with only one point in the standings. Their offense will come around. When it does, look out.
13. — Columbus Blue Jackets (2-0-0) LW: 13
Two wins, one against a good team, one against an awful one, leaves the Blue Jackets in the same spot as last week. Glad they came to an agreement with Ryan Johansen.
14. ↑ Nashville Predators (2-0-0) LW: 15
The Preds fell behind in their first two games only to rally back for Ws. They remain a borderline playoff team out West and are the first of a handful of teams to move up one slot in the rankings purely to replace the Avalanche.
15. ↑ New York Islanders (2-0-0) LW: 16
They took care of business with back-to-back games against the Hurricanes. Defense and goaltending have been just OK, but the offense has been really good.
16. ↑ Washington Capitals (1-0-1) LW: 17
I may be too low on the Caps after a shootout loss to Montreal and a blowout of the Bruins in Boston. I think they are an underrated playoff team, something that certainly could not be said about past Washington teams.
17. ↑ Detroit Red Wings (1-1-0) LW: 18
Facing Boston and Anaheim to start the season is no easy task, even at home. The Red Wings split and have plenty of hope for later this season when Pavel Datsyuk makes his season debut.
18. ↑ Vancouver Canucks (2-0-0) LW: 19
The did what they were supposed to do, beat the two worst teams in the Pacific Division. Radim Vrbata is fitting in nicely. They will continue to be a borderline playoff team in the Western Conference.
19. ↑ New Jersey Devils (2-0-0) LW: NR
Where did this offense come from? We knew Jersey would be a strong possession, goaltending and defensive team, but they were also supposed to be pretty anemic offensively. Eleven goals in two games to start the season is shocking and unsustainable, but if the Devils can be a little better offensively than last season, they have a chance to sneak into the playoff picture.
20. ↓ Colorado Avalanche (0-2-0) LW: 14
Regression is now! Yet to score a goal this season, the Avs find themselves with a pair of losses and a four-game eastern road trip staring them in the face. Their defense has been atrocious, their goaltending inconsistent -- they could easily end October with a 3-8 record.
Fell out: Arizona Coyotes (1-1-0) LW: 20