This season hasn’t looked more wide open than it does right now. Many of the league’s top teams have started to level off, while teams from the middle of the pack have begun to pick up steam. Right now, it’s anybody’s Stanley Cup to win, but we’ll try to make sense of which teams have the best shot at the championship in this week’s edition of Power Monday.
- Vegas Golden Knights (39-15-4. Last week’s rank — 3)
The Knights, miraculously, are one of the few teams that have kept a consistent pace all season. They’ve remained near the top of the standings all season. Having never lost more than three games in a row, they’ve shown that even for an expansion team, this team has the resilience it takes to make a playoff run.
- Boston Bruins (35-13-8. Last week’s rank — 2)
While, yes, this team did just get smacked in the mouth by the Vancouver Canucks, the Bs have still won seven of their last 10 games. Boston rattled off two impressive wins immediately after their loss to the Sabres last week, so there’s no reason to believe that this Canucks loss was anything more than just an off night.
- Winnipeg Jets (35-15-9. Last week’s rank — 6)
The Jets have a combined margin of victory of 10 goals over their last two games. While they’re without top-four defenseman Jacob Trouba for a few more weeks due to an ankle injury, that certainly hasn’t slowed down this explosive offense.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (39-17-3. Last week’s rank — 1)
Their fall down the rankings has been on the horizon since the start of 2018. Posting nearly a .500 record (11-9-1) since the start of January, this Lightning team just hasn’t been able to sustain its early season domination.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (36-20-5. Last week’s rank — 5)
The Maple Leafs’ offense is clicking. Auston Matthews has 16 points in his last 14 games, Nazem Kadri has 16 points in his last 12 games and Mitch Marner has nine points in his last five games. William Nylander and Patrick Marleau are firing on all cylinders as well. Defenses can only hope to contain this team.
- Nashville Predators (34-14-9. Last week’s rank — 4)
This Predators team has one of the best defensive units in the league. However, Nashville has a bit of a scoring problem. P. K. Subban, a defenseman, is their leading scorer. Filip Forsberg, who’s missed 14 games, is still second on the team in scoring. They’ve got find more consistent production from their forwards in order to ease the burden that’s on their defense.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (35-22-4. Last week’s rank — 10)
The Pens are back to looking like their old selves as they’ve won their last five games all by a multi-goal margin, and have taken down the likes of the Blues, Kings and Maple Leafs. Evgeni Malkin has a four-game point streak going and has seven points in his last four, taking the team lead for points.
- St. Louis Blues (34-22-4. Last week’s rank — 7)
Yes, the Blues have lost three games in a row. But those losses have come against the Stars, Predators and Penguins. However, this team, like the Preds, needs help scoring goals.
- San Jose Sharks (32-19-8. Last week’s rank — 12)
After losing three straight when Joe Thornton went down, this team has bounced back and won six of its last nine games. Interestingly, the top six scorers on this team each have a negative plus-minus. San Jose’s top lines will have to step up their game headed toward spring.
- Dallas Stars (34-21-4. Last week’s rank — 8)
Dallas has the tendency to win big or lose big, as they suffered a 6-0 loss to Vancouver to put an end to the Stars’ impressive five-game win streak.
- Washington Capitals (33-18-7. Last week’s rank — 9)
The Caps have hit a bit of a rough patch, losing five of their last eight. Washington may need to pick up a lockdown defenseman like Ryan McDonagh at the deadline to strengthen their struggling blue line. But who knows, maybe hitting this rough stretch now will benefit them in the long run, since them winning the President’s Trophy has never translated to postseason success.
- Philadelphia Flyers (30-19-10. Last week’s rank — 15)
The Flyers have been awfully streaky this season, starting with a 10-game losing streak that ended at the the beginning of December. They’re definitely trending in the right direction, though, as they’ve had three separate four-game win streaks since the start of January. They’ll need to go after a goaltender at the deadline, as Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth are both struggling with injury, and aren’t that great to begin with.
- Anaheim Ducks (29-20-11. Last week’s rank — 14)
The Ducks are the best team in the league with a negative goal differential (-1). That’s mostly because of the injuries struggles this team faced early on. Still, this veteran group keeps games close, but knows how to win. Each of their last six contests have been decided by one goal and they’ve posted a 4-1-1 record in those games.
- Minnesota Wild (31-20-7. Last week’s rank — 11)
The Wild, on the other hand, have been involved in plenty of blowouts — for better or for worse. With Eric Staal and Mikael Granlund leading a mediocre Minnesota offense, I’m not sure this team has what it takes to compete come spring time.
- New Jersey Devils (31-20-8. Last week’s rank — 18)
The Devils are the streakiest team in hockey. Even though they’ve won four in a row, they can’t reach any higher in the rankings until they prove they can consistently win games over a sustained period. The only Devil who seems to know something about sustained success is Taylor Hall, who’s riding a miraculous 18-game point streak and deserves to be talked about as this year’s MVP.
- Los Angeles Kings (31-22-5. Last week’s rank — 13)
There’s only one player on this team with more than 41 points, and that’s veteran center Anze Kopitar. While this team’s blue line is stout, their offense is lacking.
- Calgary Flames (30-21-8. Last week’s rank — 16)
Despite having one of the most dynamic duos in hockey, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, this team is still only 19th in the league in goal scoring. Their lack of scoring depth is the reason that this team is decidedly mediocre.
- New York Islanders (29-25-6. Last week’s rank — 20)
After going without a shutout all season, the Isles have blanked their opponents in back-to-back games. Having Johnny Boychuk back on the blue line certainly helps, and if their explosive offense can continue to get help, this team will be incredibly dangerous down the stretch.
- Colorado Avalanche (31-23-4. Last week’s rank — 17)
This team was a shell of itself without superstar Nathan MacKinnon. His return dramatically boosts this team’s chances of making the postseason. As long as Jonathan Bernier is able to return to the ice on Tuesday, this team has a shot.
- Carolina Hurricanes (27-23-10. Last week’s rank — 19)
This team’s future looks bright with youngsters like Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho and Noah Hanifin leading the way. However, it won’t be this season that they find the success they’re looking for.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (29-25-5. Last week’s rank — 21)
Early on in the season, the Jackets were relying on close, low scoring contests to turn in their favor, and they did. Now, those games are going the other way, they still can’t score goals, and their defense has been having frequent lapses. It’s all starting to fall apart for Columbus.
- Florida Panthers (26-24-6. Last week’s rank — 24)
The Panthers have won seven of their last nine and are clinging to whatever playoff hope they have left. However it turns out this season, Florida has promise for the future in some exciting young forward talent.
- New York Rangers (27-28-5. Last week’s rank — 22)
Time to jump ship in New York. The Rangers already announced that they will be sellers at the deadline and their horrendous play of late only solidifies that. This team is going to go from bad to worse to finish out the season.
- Detroit Red Wings (24-25-9. Last week’s rank — 25)
The Red Wings are another team expected to sell heavy at the deadline, with Mike Green and Jimmy Howard being the most attractive players for sale. It’s time for this team to bring in some youth and rebuild, anyways.
- Chicago Blackhawks (25-26-8. Last week’s rank — 23)
What a fall from grace. The Blackhawks will almost surely miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
- Ottawa Senators (21-27-9. Last week’s rank — 29)
The Sens have won six of their last nine games. However, it looks like Ottawa — having already traded defenseman Dion Phaneuf — are going to sell at the deadline and look to start fresh.
- Vancouver Canucks (23-30-6. Last week’s rank — 27)
Despite blowing out the Bruins and the Stars in the past eight days, the Canucks haven’t had much to celebrate throughout this season.
- Edmonton Oilers (24-30-4. Last week’s rank — 28)
Coming in as a Cup favorite, the Oil just haven’t been able to find their footing this season. They likely won’t look to sell at the deadline, as they still have impressive talent on their roster, but they’ll have to think of something to try to improve their squad next season. I’d start with scoring depth.
- Arizona Coyotes (17-32-10. Last week’s rank — 31)
Just look at what I said about this team in last week’s Power Rankings. I knew Arizona had it in them. They’ve won four in a row. Watch out for the ‘Yotes.
- Montreal Canadiens (22-29-7. Last week’s rank — 26)
When your top scorer only has 35 points at this point in the season, it’s time to head back to the drawing board. Look for Montreal to sell at the deadline.
- Buffalo Sabres (17-31-11. Last week’s rank — 30)
Jack Eichel will be out for at least three more weeks. There’s officially one reason to watch this team anymore and that’s if you’re related to any of the players.