Power Rankings: Each team has at least one reason to be thankful

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One of the true joys of the NHL having seven franchises in Canada means that Thanksgiving is constantly referred to as "American Thanksgiving" to differentiate from "Canadian Thanksgiving," which is celebrated on "American Columbus Day." A Canadian friend of mine this week said he always liked "American Thanksgiving" because there would be NFL games on television when he got home from school on that Thursday, as a fan of "American football."

For this week's Power Rankings, we took a Turkey Day angle, listing what each team should be thankful for as the tryptophan works its magic. Enjoy!

How we rank: We use a panel of voters, and these rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams are favored over lower-ranked teams. A run of wins doesn't guarantee a jump, and a couple of losses doesn't guarantee a fall.

Previous rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: 16-3-2
Week 6 ranking: No. 1

The Lightning should be thankful for being as dominant on the road as they are at home, going 7-1-1 away from their sunny environs this season.

2. St. Louis Blues

Record: 16-5-1
Week 6 ranking: No. 2

The Blues should be thankful for the low-key brilliance of general manager Doug Armstrong in making the Brayden Schenn trade, as he has found his 5-on-5 game with Jaden Schwartz and is playing like a No. 1 center. Oh, and those first-rounders in the deal appear to both be in the bottom five picks.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets

Record: 14-7-1
Week 6 ranking: No. 6

The Blue Jackets should be thankful for Seth Jones and Zach Werenski, the kind of young defensemen eventual Stanley Cup champions are made from. (Now, about that center position...)

4. Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 14-8-1
Week 6 ranking: No. 3

The Leafs should be thankful for having Connor Brown, who is the kind of worker who never takes a vacation day and shames you when you do.

5. Winnipeg Jets

Record: 13-5-3
Week 6 ranking: No. 9

The Jets should be thankful for Blake Wheeler, who is fifth in points for any player from 2015-16 to now. And, no, I didn't realize that, either.

6. Los Angeles Kings

Record: 12-8-2
Week 6 ranking: No. 5

The Kings should be thankful that they've been able to generate enough offense without Jeff Carter to avoid wasting their sterling Jonathan Quick efforts.

7. New Jersey Devils

Record: 12-5-4
Week 6 ranking: No. 8

The Devils should be thankful for Cory Schneider, or, as he's more commonly known in New Jersey, "their defense."

8. Nashville Predators

Record: 13-6-2
Week 6 ranking: No. 4

The Predators should be thankful for the nonstop parties that are home games in Nashville, as the fans' (inebriated) enthusiasm has powered their dominance at home.

9. Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 11-9-3
Week 6 ranking: No. 10

The Penguins should be thankful for Phil The Thrill, as Kessel leads them in points and has two overtime goals this season. Heh.

10. Vegas Golden Knights

Record: 13-6-1
Week 6 ranking: No. 16

The Knights should be thankful for what $500 million and a desire to have an immediately competitive team in a new market does to expansion-draft rules.

11. Calgary Flames

Record: 12-8-1
Week 6 ranking: No. 18

The Flames should be thankful for Matthew Tkachuk, who is third on the team in points and without question makes life interesting in every game. Ask the Red Wings.

12. New York Islanders

Record: 12-7-2
Week 6 ranking: No. 13

The Islanders should be thankful for Mathew Barzal, who appears to be the kind of dynamic offensive force they've needed to take the pressure off the John Tavares line.

13. New York Rangers

Record: 11-9-2
Week 6 ranking: No. 7

The Rangers should be thankful for the outstanding play of Pavel Buchnevich. And perhaps show their appreciation with some dang ice time for the guy.

14. Washington Capitals

Record: 12-10-1
Week 6 ranking: No. 11

The Capitals should be thankful for having Todd Reirden on their bench, as he'll probably take over as head coach after Barry Trotz is fired.

15. Anaheim Ducks

Record: 10-8-3
Week 6 ranking: No. 20

The Ducks should be thankful for the advancements in modern medicine that will hopefully heal the half of the roster that's been injured here and there for the first two months of the season.

16. Dallas Stars

Record: 11-10-1
Week 6 ranking: No. 19

The Stars should be thankful that John Klingberg is apparently having the bounce-back season everyone hoped he would.

17. Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 10-8-3
Week 6 ranking: No. 14

The Blackhawks should be thankful for those state-of-the-art heated benches they use at outdoor games because otherwise Jonathan Toews would have wicked bum-bum frostbite, given that they play in every outdoor game.

18. Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 9-7-4
Week 6 ranking: No. 23

The Hurricanes should be thankful for being such well-behaved boys, having spent the least amount of time in the penalty box in the NHL this season.

19. Boston Bruins

Record: 9-7-4
Week 6 ranking: No. 24

The Bruins should be thankful for the continued offensive mastery of Brad Marchand, who is a point-per-game player and has more goals and points than any other Bruin in the past three seasons.

20. Ottawa Senators

Record: 8-6-6
Week 6 ranking: No. 15

The Senators should be thankful for that kindly old farming couple that found a baby Erik Karlsson inside his space capsule and raised him into the NHL defenseman we see today.

21. Minnesota Wild

Record: 10-8-3
Week 7 ranking: No. 17

The Wild should be thankful for having given Eric Staal a chance to prove himself after that debacle with the Rangers, as he leads the team in points since his signing.

22. Detroit Red Wings

Record: 10-9-3
Week 6 ranking: No. 26

The Red Wings should be thankful for goalie Jimmy Howard. Hey, remember when Petr Mrazek was totally stealing Howard's job and he was going to be expansion-draft fodder? Yeah, neither do I.

23. San Jose Sharks

Record: 11-8-1
Week 5 ranking: No. 12

The Sharks should be thankful that Brent Burns does more than score goals because, wow, what is going on there, huh?

24. Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 8-9-5
Week 6 ranking: No. 25

The Flyers should be thankful for hanging on to Sean Couturier when the rest of the hockey world was all like, "Hey, they're totally going to trade Sean Couturier at some point."

25. Vancouver Canucks

Record: 11-8-3
Week 6 ranking: No. 21

The Canucks should be thankful for Brock Boeser, whose point-per-game season has him squarely in the Calder conversation.

26. Colorado Avalanche

Record: 11-8-1
Week 6 ranking: No. 29

The Avalanche should be thankful for a top-six offense, which helps balance out that bottom-five defense.

27. Edmonton Oilers

Record: 8-12-2
Week 6 ranking: No. 22

The Oilers should be thankful that Connor McDavid is 20 and Leon Draisaitl is 22 because this apparently is going to take a while.

28. Montreal Canadiens

Record: 8-12-3
Week 6 ranking: No. 27

The Canadiens should be thankful that there are at least three or four qualified bilingual candidates for an open general manager's job.

29. Florida Panthers

Record: 8-11-2
Week 6 ranking: No. 28

The Panthers should be thankful for Aleksander Barkov, Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Huberdeau for giving us any reason to watch their team this season.

30. Arizona Coyotes

Record: 5-16-3
Week 6 ranking: No. 31

The Coyotes should be thankful for ... a sudden burst of wins that actually elevated them from the basement of our rankings?!

31. Buffalo Sabres

Record: 5-13-4
Week 6 ranking: No. 30

The Sabres should be thankful for these sweet Winter Classic jerseys, if nothing else.