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NHL Power Rankings Week 4: Time to Panic for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Hockey fans, we have a new champion! After leading the NHL Power Rankings three weeks running, the Colorado Avalanche have stepped aside to let the Boston Bruins take over the number one spot.

It’s been a busy week all throughout the standings as a couple of other teams off to amazing starts, the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues, went 0-4 to put an end to their early season dominance. The Blues only managed to score seven goals in their four games, while the Penguins’ offense dried up a bit too with just six goals in their four losses.

The subject of last week’s recap, the Vancouver Canucks, finally won a game! Two, in fact! They went 2-1 this week, defeating the Seattle Kraken and the aforementioned Penguins. Despite some major injury issues hampering their defense, the Canucks’ offense and powerplay, which went 5/8 on the week, led the way.

On the backs of some incredible goaltending by Logan Thompson and Adin Hill, the Vegas Golden Knights are off to a roaring start, leading the Pacific Division with a 7-2 record. But with 30 goals in nine games, the offense is definitely doing its part too.

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The story of the week, however, is the Boston Bruins" hot start. They headline this week’s recap, along with the disappointing migration south down the standings by the Anaheim Ducks and a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs and whether or not its time to panic.

Did the Boston Bruins Win? Probably

The Boston Bruins are now off to their best start in franchise history with an 8-1-0 record. This comes after some began to write the team off, citing their aging roster, depth concerns, and injury issues. But with David Pastrnak leading the way (and at times the entire league in scoring), the Bruins are showing that their competitive window is not done yet.

What is contributing to this blistering start? Well, the aforementioned Pastrnak is a big reason. He is second in the league in goals and points at the time of writing with seven and 17 respectively. This type of performance in a contract year will bode well for the scoring winger, but might make it even more difficult for the Bruins to retain him.

Behind him, the Bruins’ depth has been a huge factor this season. David Krejci, in his return to the NHL, had eight points in eight games before getting injured. Jake DeBrusk has seven points in eight games. Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle, A.J. Greer, and Pavel Zacha all have over five points already as well. To have that many players scoring at over a half a point per game pace is a huge contributor to team success.

Linus Ullmark tending the goal for Boston has been nothing short of incredible. A 6-0 record with a 1.7 GAA, a .945 SV%, and an 8.1 GSAA. Just as important to the team’s success has been this performance by the clear starting goalie moving forward.

Now, with Brad Marchand back in the lineup and Charlie McAvoy getting closer and closer to returning, the Bruins are well prepared to stay competitive in the Atlantic Division through the season.

Did the Anaheim Ducks Win? Probably Not

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the start the Anaheim Ducks are having. An NHL worst 1-6-1 through their first eight games. The only game the Ducks have won was their opening night match against the Kraken.

They’ve only managed to score 16 goals, but have given up 36. To have a negative goal differential larger than the amount of goals the team has even scored is quite an impressive feat.

So far, nothing is going right for the Ducks. Troy Terry leads the team with nine points, and him and Trevor Zegras with four goals each have scored half of the team’s 16 goals. There is no scoring depth on this team.

But beyond that, the defense and goaltending have been simply awful. John Gibson, once one of the league’s best goalies, has struggled mightily. He currently has an .884 SV% and 4.45 GAA in seven games played.

The Ducks were one of the teams people had started looking at to take a step forward with all their young talent, but this middling start to the season makes it look like they’re destined for the Connor Bedard sweepstakes instead.

ALSO: Check the latest power rankings below!

Is it Time to Panic in Toronto?

Let’s be honest, it’s always time to panic in Toronto. But as the seasons go by with this core and the Maple Leafs continue to underperform, the panic button is getting pushed sooner and sooner in the season. This year, with a 4-4-1 start and sitting seventh in the Atlantic Division, it might be getting scarily close to panic time in Toronto.

What is even going wrong for the Maple Leafs this season? It’s surprisingly not that much on goaltending, as Ilya Samsonov has been solid enough to post a respectable stat line thus far. Backup Erik Kallgren would like to be a bit better but he has only played in two games.

One of the biggest issues facing the Leafs right now is actually the performance of reigning Hart Trophy winner Auston Matthews, who is currently scoring at a 20-goal pace after his 60-goal season in 2021-22.

Is this a case of a slow start, getting the slump out of the way early? After all, Toronto did start last season with a 4-4-1 record as well. Or, is it time for a big trade to shake up the core and try to push them past the first round of the playoffs? How about a coaching change? Sheldon Keefe was on the hot seat heading into the season after failing to get his team on a playoff run the last few years.

That’s all for this week, make sure to check out the NHL Power Rankings and drop a comment down below with who is ranked too high (or too low)!

main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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