Despite the early season injuries, the Penguins have shown that their depth and experience from last year have paid off so far. The team has won the opening two games on their schedule and top the latest power rankings after the first week of action.
It hasn’t hurt that the defending champs have opened at home to start the year and won both contests by a score of 3-2. The fact they’re winning without one of the game’s biggest stars is also a testament to just how good this franchise is and what can be expected when Crosby and Murray return.
St Louis was picked by several hockey experts to be improved and possibly the top team in the Western Conference. The Blues are showing those projections could come true with a 3-0-0 record heading into week two. This franchise is the first squad to win three games on the year, and yes it is still early, but 11 goals scored and a group that plays solid defense and this team could be at the start of a special season.
Florida and Tampa Bay are both 2-0-0 on the year and off to a quick start. The Panthers are also banged up to begin the year, but have allowed just two goals and with their style of play, defending well will be key to success throughout the year. The Lightning, when healthy, are among the upper echelon of teams in the NHL and according to Sports Net possibly the best team in the league, but until they knock Pittsburgh down, they will remain in the top-5, but not on top of the rankings.
San Jose is the only other team in the west with two wins. Much like the Penguins, their experience from last year should help with momentum this season. The Sharks are expected to challenge for the top spot in the Western Conference and with one of the best defensive units in hockey, should be tough to beat all year and a squad to watch come playoff time.