With Olympic hockey underway, the NHL is continuing on. Even though we all would like NHL players at the Olympics, the playoff races this season could not be more exciting. February will certainly sort out who the contenders and pretenders are for the Stanley Cup.
The top of the power rankings remains unchanged. Even though Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins have not looked as dominant as before, there is no reason to panic. Both teams are still amongst the elite in the NHL. These teams will are slowing down. With points so critical a multiple game winning streak could elevate any team into a playoff position.
Let’s take a look where every team stands for this week.
NHL Power Rankings
- Tampa Bay Lightning – While the Lightning have come back to Earth just a bit, their offense could strike at any point. No need to panic here. Other teams have to be worried as Andrei Vasilevskiy is heating up.
- Boston Bruins – A minor slip up against the Buffalo followed by a grueling win over New Jersey has shown Boston there will be no easy nights. Being a better team Boston has to know they have a target on their back.
- Vegas Golden Knights – Even with a couple of loses this week, Vegas is still one of the better teams in the West. The Golden Knights are just biding their time until the playoffs start.
- Nashville Predators – Not the greatest week for Nashville, but adding Mike Fisher back to the fold has made them even tougher to beat. Also, let’s not forget about Pekka Rinne, he is playing another level right now.
- Winnipeg Jets – A couple of tough pills to swallow this week. With Mark Scheifele re-adjusting to the lineup, look for Winnipeg to get back playing the way they did prior to his injury.
- Toronto Maple Leafs – The kids are finding their groove again especially Mitch Marner. Auston Matthews and William Nylander have been put back together and with Frederick Anderson stealing games, the Leafs are a formidable foe.
- Dallas Stars – There was a space in the top 5 for Dallas if they continued their winning ways. However an embarrassing loss vs. Vancouver keeps them on the outside looking in.
- St. Louis Blues – Despite not playing their best hockey of late, the Blues are still a tough team to play against especially inside the Central Division. If the Blues can get their act together again they could skyrocket back to the top.
- Washington Capitals – It is just remarkable how well the Capitals have been playing as of late. Even with early season struggles and no expectations, the Capitals are at the top of the Metro Division.
- Pittsburgh Penguins – The boys are back in town. As Phil Kessel continues to have an MVP type season, the rest of the lineup is starting to play better. With Matt Murray back, look for the Penguins to go even higher.
- Minnesota Wild – What a great week for Devan Dubnyk. Named the third star of the week by the NHL. He is the reason why the Wild have been playing more consistently over the past two weeks.
- Los Angeles Kings – Really good week for the Kings. If they could have won against Tampa Bay, the Kings would be spot higher. Anze Kopitar is putting together a great bounce-back season. Just need more secondary scoring.
- San Jose Sharks – Still not sold on what this team can do without Joe Thornton in the lineup, but the team has done an admirable job in his absence.
- Philadelphia Flyers – After a rocky start, the Flyers are winning again. Even with Brian Elliott out of the lineup again, the Flyers are playing with more confidence in front of Michael Neuvirth.
- Calgary Flames – Flames are back in the playoff picture, but any long-term injury to Mike Smith could be costly for a team finding its stride again.
- Anaheim Ducks – A round of applause has to go to the Anaheim Ducks. Despite all the early season injuries, the Ducks still find themselves in the hunt for the playoffs.
- Colorado Avalanche – Nathan MacKinnon could be back sooner than expected. Even with him out of the lineup Colorado has not missed a beat thanks to Mikko Rantanen.
- New Jersey Devils – October was a long time ago for the Devils. Too many inconsistencies have reared their ugly head. New Jersey needs to find the magic real quick.
- Columbus Blue Jackets – The Blue Jackets need to start finding ways to win against the Metro Division. With most of their schedule still to be played against their division, Columbus needs to be gaining ground.
- Carolina Hurricanes – After another slow start, the Hurricanes are starting to make their annual late-season push. Will it again be too little too late with Carolina playing the role of spoiler?
- New York Islanders – When it comes to offense you have to put the Islanders right up there. They sure can put the puck in the net. Stopping pucks from going in their net is a whole different story.
- New York Rangers – Still right in the thick of things in the Metro, New York has put a couple of nice wins together. Even with the team coming out telling their fans they are in rebuild mode, the Rangers will compete on most nights.
- Chicago Blackhawks – Speaking of rebuilding, Chicago might have to consider that route sooner rather than later. Hampered by two contracts, Chicago’s window for winning has closed at least for now.
- Florida Panthers – Another team to watch in the offense will be the Panthers. A very young and talented roster will be core for this team to build around going forward.
- Edmonton Oilers – The glory days have certainly passed this team by. Even with Connor McDavid scoring four-goals in one game, the problems go deeper than just on the ice.
- Detroit Red Wings – Despite being so bad, the Red Wings still have fight left in them. Detroit will compete every night and make the other team earn their victory.
- Montreal Canadiens – Fans of the Canadiens should be happy with how the youth of the organization is playing. Do not be surprised if this team makes a move at the deadline to better themselves in the future.
- Vancouver Canucks – Despite a blowout victory over Dallas, the Canucks continue to struggle. There are assets on this team that could be moved come the trade deadline.
- Ottawa Senators – How did a team go from being within one goal of the Stanley Cup Final to a doormat for teams in the Eastern Conference?
- Buffalo Sabres – Things have gone from bad to worse for the Sabres. Jack Eichel is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain. No reason for him to see the ice the rest of the season.
- Arizona Coyotes – Things cannot get any worse for the Coyotes. At least they are competing on a daily basis. Still, this is a bad team with changes on the way.