NHL Power Rankings: Boston back on top
Trades have caused some changes to our NHL Power Rankings. There’s even a new team atop the leaderboard. Here are the 16 best teams in hockey.
1. Boston Bruins (38-11-12)
Previous rank: 2
At 10-1 since Jan. 19, the Bruins would be the hottest team in hockey, if not for the exploits of the Lightning (more on them in a bit). Tuukka Rask has been a brick wall in net lately, with a .959 save percentage since he returned from a minor injury Jan. 31 (seven starts).
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (40-16-5)
Previous rank: 3
The Lightning had an 11-game win streak snapped Thursday, in the inhospitable T-Mobile Arena against the Golden Knights. However, Steven Stamkos’ 13-game point streak was not halted. He tallied a pair of goals in the defeat. The sniper has 20 points in that span.
3. Washington Capitals (37-17-6)
Previous rank: 1
A 2-5-1 start to the month of February has seen the Capitals lose their grip on the President’s Trophy. The acquisition of gritty defenseman Brenden Dillon was well-advised, as they surrendered 30 goals during that eight-game stretch.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (37-16-6)
Previous rank: 5
Jason Zucker has three goals in five games as a Penguin, and Sidney Crosby (three goals and nine assists in eight games this month) provided a helper on all three.
5. Dallas Stars (35-19-6)
Previous rank: 7
The Stars are last in goals among playoff-eligible teams, but their solid defensive play has guided them to a 5-0-1 record over their last six games and has them within two points of the Central Division lead.
6. St. Louis Blues (34-17-10)
Previous rank: 4
Even with back-to-back shutout victories (albeit against the Devils and Coyotes) over the last two nights, the Blues’ 4-7-3 record since Jan. 15 is nothing to brag about.
7. Colorado Avalanche (34-18-7)
Previous rank: 6
The Avs are 9-3-1 since Jan. 14 and have the third-best goal differential in the NHL, but injuries are wreaking havoc with their roster. They need Philipp Grubauer (day-to-day) back between the pipes as quickly as possible. Colorado could also use a replacement for Mikko Rantanen and Nazem Kadri at forward.
8. Carolina Hurricanes (34-21-4)
Previous rank: 10
The Hurricanes are a respectable 7-3-1 over their last 11 games, but they’re coming up to a make-or-break portion of their schedule that begins Saturday. Six of Carolina’s next eight games will be against playoff contenders, and four will be on the road.
9. Edmonton Oilers (32-21-7)
Previous rank: 12
Anyone who thought the Oilers would fall off without Connor McDavid was mistaken. They’re 3-1-1 without him, with those losses occurring against Boston and Tampa. Six of Edmonton’s next eight opponents are out of the playoff picture.
10. Philadelphia Flyers (34-20-7)
Previous rank: 16
The Flyers are 7-3-1 since the All-Star break, and their offense has been firing on all cylinders in that span (44 goals). Claude Giroux has 12 points in his last seven games.
11. Vegas Golden Knights (32-22-8)
Previous rank: 15
Four straight wins over playoff contenders was good enough to vault Vegas to the top of the Pacific Division, though the Golden Knights may cede the advantage back to the Oilers by Friday night (they’ll be idle while Edmonton hosts the Wild). Defenseman Alec Martinez, brought in from the Kings on Thursday, had a goal and an assist in his first game as a Golden Knight.
12. Vancouver Canucks (32-22-6)
Previous rank: 9
Acquiring Tyler Toffoli was a sign of good intentions for the stretch run, but it remains to be seen if the Canucks will be able to weather the loss of Brock Boeser (45 points through 56 games).
13. New York Islanders (33-20-6)
Previous rank: 8
The Islanders offense has looked helpless in its last four games, with just two goals. If New York can’t get back on track at home against the Red Wings on Friday night, the alarm bells will ring even louder.
14. Toronto Maple Leafs (32-22-8)
Previous rank: 13
One of the few Maple Leafs not struggling with consistency this year is Auston Matthews, who has jumped into a tie with David Pastrnak for the league lead in goals (43).
15. Florida Panthers (32-23-6)
Previous rank: 14
A 4-7-1 run since the All-Star break has the Panthers on the playoff bubble. They need to decide whether to buy or sell at the deadline, with forwards Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov due to become free agents.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets (30-19-13)
Previous rank: 11
As quickly as the Blue Jackets jumped into the playoff picture, they appear to be falling out of the equation, following an 0-3-4 run and long-term injuries to Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones.