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Power Five: Leafs, Capitals, Oilers a cut above the rest

In this week's edition of the NHL Power Five, the Toronto Maple Leafs continue their ascent, the Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals remain as steady as ever, while the streaking New York Rangers crack the list for the first time this season.

Video Transcript

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: OK, time now for the Power Five, where I determine the best teams in the NHL right now. And a couple notes before we get into it, first being the Carolina Hurricanes. Not a part of this list. Two straight losses. Five wins from their last 10 games. I believe this is the first time Carolina is not involved. They're still up there, but they're going through it a little bit. I believe a loss to the Kraken was in there. Not great.

And the Minnesota Wild-- they're knocking on the door here. They're not in the top five either. But not Edmonton, not Toronto, not Florida, not Washington-- it's the Minnesota Wild with the most goals in the NHL right now, at 83. So a little bit of a surprise there. Maybe next week. And I believe they play the Leaf, so they'll have an opportunity for a statement win.

But let's get into it. Number five is the New York Rangers. Four straight W's for the Blue Shirts. They outscored the Flyers and Bruins 9 to 3 this week. Chris Kreider, he won the Cy Young here, the unofficial Cy Young. But Igor Shesterkin for me, number two behind Jack Campbell for the Vezina. Just an unbelievable performance from him so far this season. And he's probably the main reason why the Rangers make their first appearance here on the Power Five.

Number four is the Florida Panthers. Like the Hurricanes, they're cooling off a bit as well. Those were kind of far and away the number one and two teams through the first, I'll say, four or five weeks of the season. They lost to the Kraken. Maybe it was them that lost the Kraken. Maybe I'm getting those two mixed up. But that was their first home loss on the season, just recently, to the expansion team. Not great. Excuse me.

But a remarkable comeback over Washington this week prevents a slide out of the top five. I believe they scored four unanswered in the third period in that game to beat a really good team after seemingly being down and out. And they've done this without Sasha Barkov, so they're dealing with a bit of a shorthanded situation right now, with their captain out. They need him back if they're going to stay at that very top of the league.

But pretty impressive to still get wins-- and big wins over good teams without him in the lineup.

Number three is the Edmonton Oilers. They are the number one team in terms of points percentage right now. The 16 and 5 record that they have, after a big win on TNT over the Pittsburgh Penguins, is the best in the NHL. I mentioned Barkov. I mean, the Oilers are not missing a superstar right now, unless you want to call Darnell Nurse that, but probably shouldn't.

But they are missing a lot. Their defense is gutted. They're rolling with a lot of players that were not even under consideration, coming into the season back there. Mike Smith, of course, is still out. And yet, the Oilers continue to roll. If there's a dip from Draisaitl, it produces a run from Connor McDavid. And as long as one of those players is going, it seems like the Oilers are just fine.

Number two is the Washington Capitals-- number 1 right now, if it wasn't for that aforementioned collapse versus Florida. Only Calgary has a better goal differential, so far, than the Capitals, who, again-- I continue to say it-- have been as consistent as any team from the very start of the season. And perhaps surprisingly so, they've got a Hart Trophy contender. And Alex Ovechkin at 36, who has just been incredible powering that team.

But number one-- you guessed it-- the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have not been on this list for very long, but they have ascended to the top because no other team has won 14 of 16. They are on pace, the Leafs now, for 119 points, which would smash their franchise record. After losing five of their first 17 games, they are now on pace to threaten 120. It's been a remarkable turnaround for Sheldon Keefe and this group, which does not have a single area of which you can nitpick right now. They are playing that well.

That was the Power Five. That was the best teams-- or those were the best teams in the NHL right now. And that'll do it for this week's solo edition of the Yahoo Sports Hockey Podcast. A reminder, I will have Julian back on the weekend before zone time next week. And all the other content we produce on YouTube, and on network, and on your favorite podcast streams, here at Yahoo Sports.

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