Monday, November 27, 2023

Weekend rankings: It's time to be scared of Tampa and worried about New Jersey

The NHL makes no sense.

What happens today doesn’t seem to have all that much to do with what happens tomorrow. Two weeks ago? Forget it. Teams get hold and cold, seemingly at random, and you never know when you’re going to get a result that nobody expected.

You know this. Depending on what kind of fan you are, it might be a big part of the product’s appeal. It’s any given Sunday, seven days a week.

But part of the fun of a league like this is that you can always look back at certain results and say, well, that just shouldn’t have happened. We may have had a few of those games this weekend, with a flatlining Oilers team that can’t get a save shutting out a Capitals team that was red hot, the usually tidy Hurricanes giving up eight to the Lightning, and a historically bad Sharks team dropping a big bag of regression on the feel-good Canucks. Will we look back on either of those games as turning points for any of the teams involved? Maybe. But there’s a good chance they’ll just be weird outliers in a league full of them.

So before we get to this week’s rankings, let’s look back at five games from the first two months that, in hindsight, don’t make a damn bit of sense.

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