Last remaining undefeated team debated by writers


Four NHL teams are undefeated entering the third week of the regular season.

The Carolina Hurricanes (4-0-0), Edmonton Oilers (5-0-0), Florida Panthers (5-0-0) and St. Louis Blues (4-0-0) are the remaining four after the Minnesota Wild lost 5-2 to the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks were defeated 4-3 by the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

We asked eight writers which team will be the last remaining undefeated team this season. Each of the four teams received at least one vote of confidence.

Here is the case for each team (listed alphabetically):

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have tied the 1995-96 team for the second-longest winning streak to start a season in their history (5-0-0 to begin 2019-20). There’s depth at center with Sebastian Aho, Vincent Trocheck, Jordan Staal and Derek Stepan. The defense, led by Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce and Ethan Bear, is allowing an NHL-low 1.75 goals-against per game. Goalie Frederik Andersen, who agreed to a two-year contract July 29, has won his first four games (.944 save percentage). Carolina begins a four-game homestand against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday (7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, BSSO, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) — Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

The Hurricanes have scored 18 goals and allowed seven for an impressive plus-11 goal differential. Their four-game homestead begins Monday against the Maple Leafs, who have been outscored 12-4 in their past two games, losses to the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins. If they can get past the always formidable Boston Bruins on Wednesday, they have home dates against the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes before playing the Blackhawks in Chicago. The Blackhawks (0-5-1) and Coyotes (0-4-1) are without a victory in 11 combined games this season. When all is said and done, there is a realistic chance Carolina starts 9-0-0. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

I’m with the Mikes here. We’ve watched coach Rod Brind’Amour seize this team and mold it in his image to become one of the best coaches in the NHL. What I’ve found interesting that even as Brind’Amour has watched the Hurricanes jump out to this early success, they haven’t stood pat. They’ve made changes, shuffling forward lines to generate more offense. This is a team that has its sights set on success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs by making it out of the first two rounds and back to the Eastern Conference Final, where it was swept by the Bruins in 2019. The Hurricanes have big dreams and is starting to see how good they can be. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers lead the Pacific Division in part because of captain Connor McDavid (13 points; six goals, seven assists) and forward Leon Draisaitl (11 points; four goals, seven assists), which was to be expected. But another key element has been forward Zach Hyman, who signed a seven-year contract July 28, and his five goals are second on the Oilers behind McDavid. Mikko Koskinen (2.03 GAA, .943 save percentage) and Mike Smith (3.08, .920) have provided solid goaltending. Edmonton visits the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday. — Dave Stubbs, columnist

Florida Panthers

The Panthers have scored first in each of their games. Though rookie forward Anton Lundell is day to day with an upper-body injury, he’s fit in and is one of five skaters tied for second on the Panthers with five points (two goals, three assists). Goalies Sergei Bobrovsky (1.99 GAA, .942 save percentage) and Spencer Knight (1.01 GAA, .968 save percentage) have been good. That first loss is going to come at some point, but I think the Panthers could get more wins before it happens. It won’t be easy this week. They play the Coyotes on Monday (7 p.m. ET; BSFL, BSAZ, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) before facing the Bruins twice and then the Detroit Red Wings. I think the Panthers remain undefeated until the weekend. — Tracey Myers, staff writer

The Panthers have looked impressive with wins against the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning (who eliminated Florida in six games in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup First Round in May) and 2021-22 playoff contenders in the Penguins, New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and Flyers. Florida has the best goaltending among all the undefeated teams. Sam Bennett leads Florida in goals (four) and captain Aleksander Barkov (five points; two goals, three assists) has been a force after signing an eight-year contract extension Oct. 8. — William Douglas, staff writer

St. Louis Blues

The Blues are my pick here because of their dominance so far and favorable upcoming schedule. They have outscored opponents 22-11 and lead the NHL with an average of 5.50 goals per game. St. Louis has goals from 12 players, five from David Perron, who scored a hat trick in a 7-3 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday that began a stretch of four consecutive home games. Goalie Jordan Binnington has a 2.75 GAA and .919 save percentage. The Blues host the Kings again Monday (8 p.m. ET; BSMW, BSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) before playing the Avalanche on Thursday and the Blackhawks on Saturday to complete their homestand. St. Louis already defeated Colorado 5-3 and Chicago is still looking for its first win. The Blues have a chance to be 7-0-0 before heading on a four-game road trip that begins at the Kings on Nov. 3. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer

St. Louis has three home games this week against the Kings, Avalanche and Blackhawks. The toughest opponent among the three is the Avalanche, who have not found their best game. The Blues are playing at peak efficiency with their combination of offense, defense, special teams and goaltending. Their power play is 6-for-14 (42.9 percent) and their penalty kill is 12-for-13 (92.3 percent). The Blues are playing like they have something to prove. There were question marks about them going into the season. Are they still a legit Stanley Cup contender after winning it in 2019? Can they get out of the middle of the pack in the Central Division? They have a lot more to prove but a 7-0-0 start is certainly realistic and that should open a lot of eyes across the NHL. — Dan Rosen, senior writer

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