NHL Power Rankings: Penguins getting hot right on schedule
NHL Power Rankings: Week 20
The Penguins are 16-4-1 since the calendar flipped to 2018 and have moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division. Do they have a three-peat run in them?
31. Buffalo Sabres (17-31-11, 45 points)
Will the Sabres' asking price for Evander Price prove to be too high for contending teams to bite? They might have to lower it a bit or else they'll risk losing him for nothing. But maybe not yet.
(Last week: 30)
30. Montreal Canadiens (22-29-7, 51 points)
The Canadiens have allowed at least five goals in a game 14 times this season, including three of their past five games.
(Last week: 27)
29. Arizona Coyotes (17-32-10, 44 points)
The Coyotes have picked up 11 out of a possible 12 points in their last six games, and have a plus-10 goal differential during their four-game winning streak. Their season goal differential was minus-64 before that.
(Last week: 31)
28. Ottawa Senators (21-27-9, 51 points)
A report surfaced over the weekend that nobody should be surprised if Erik Karlsson is traded before the Feb. 26 deadline. Can't remember the last time a player of this magnitude was moved at the deadline with another year left on his contract.
(Last week: 29)
27. Edmonton Oilers (24-30-4, 52 points)
Connor McDavid recorded his third hat trick of the season and second this month in a 4-2 win over Colorado on Sunday. He trails Nikita Kucherov by eight points in the NHL's scoring race, but would anybody bet against McDavid to make a run down the stretch to defend his title?
(Last week: 26)
26. Vancouver Canucks (23-30-6, 52 points)
Daniel Sedin has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past four games after going the previous four without one. He also matched his goal total from last year (15) and did so in 24 fewer games.
(Last week: 28)
25. Detroit Red Wings (24-25-9, 57 points)
Mike Green missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury on Sunday, but he is expected to return this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday. That would've been a tough situation for a Red Wings team looking to coup draft picks and prospects if the injury was longer term and took him off the trade market.
(Last week: 25)
24. Chicago Blackhawks (25-26-8, 58 points)
After scoring two goals or fewer in eight of their previous nine games, the Blackhawks had an offensive breakout with seven different players scoring in a 7-1 win over Washington to snap an eight-game losing streak. It was also their first home win since Jan. 12, a span of seven games (0-6-1).
(Last week: 23)
23. New York Rangers (27-28-5, 59 points)
Since Dec. 10, the Rangers have a minus-28 goal differential. Before that, they were at plus-10.
(Last week: 22)
22. Florida Panthers (26-24-6, 58 points)
Roberto Luongo returned between the pipes on Saturday and stopped 30 of 33 shots in a 6-3 win over Calgary. The Panthers have won seven of their past nine games, and are only six points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. They're surprisingly still very much in it.
(Last week: 24)
21. Columbus Blue Jackets (29-25-5, 63 points)
The Blue Jackets recorded a season-high 57 shots on goal and allowed only 28 but lost to Toronto 6-3 on Wednesday. They're now 2-6-2 in their past 10 games, and are reaching the territory where they need some help to get back into the playoff picture.
(Last week: 20)
20. Carolina Hurricanes (27-23-10, 64 points)
After winning three in a row, the Hurricanes have dropped their last three (0-2-1) despite owning a plus-51 shot differential across those three games. Wonder if they will consider moving a defenseman for a scoring forward.
(Last week: 18)
19. New York Islanders (29-25-6, 64 points)
The Islanders picked up back-to-back shutout victories thanks to a 50-save performance by Jaroslav Halak in a 3-0 win over the Rangers and a 45-save outing by Thomas Greiss in a 3-0 victory over the Hurricanes. They had went the previous 58 games without a whitewash.
(Last week: 21)
18. Colorado Avalanche (31-23-4, 66 points)
Semyon Varlamov had a 44-save shutout in a 2-0 win over Montreal on Wednesday. In his four other appearances this month, he has an .882 save percentage.
(Last week: 14)
17. New Jersey Devils (31-20-8, 70 points)
The inconsistency continues for the Devils, who are on a roll right now led by Taylor Hall, who has registered at least a point in 18 consecutive appearances. But check out their win/loss pattern since Dec. 15: W, W, W, W, W, L (OT), L, L (SO), L, L (SO), L, W, W, L, L, L, L, W, W, W, L, L, L, L, W, W, W, W.
(Last week: 19)
16. Calgary Flames (30-21-8, 68 points)
Dougie Hamilton became the third defenseman to net a hat trick this season, joining Carolina's Justin Faulk (Feb. 13 vs. Los Angeles) and Anaheim's Hampus Lindholm (Dec. 21 vs. N.Y. Islanders).
(Last week: 15)
15. Anaheim Ducks (29-20-11, 69 points)
After Tuesday's contest in Vegas, the Ducks will play nine of their next 12 games at home, where they are 15-9-4 compared to 14-11-7. A chance to separate themselves from the wild-card picture and focusing on a top 3 seed in the Pacific Division.
(Last week: 16)
14. Philadelphia Flyers (30-19-10, 70 points)
The Flyers are 6-0-2 in their last eight games, but are now without both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth. They reportedly declined an offer for Petr Mrazek, but it may be worth revisiting to ensure some goaltending depth for the stretch run.
(Last week: 17)
13. Minnesota Wild (31-20-7, 69 points)
The Wild haven't won more than two games in a row since December, but they also haven't lost back-to-back games in regulation since Dec. 22-23. They're doing just enough to stay above water in the playoff race.
(Last week: 13)
12. Los Angeles Kings (31-22-5, 67 points)
The Kings wrap up a seven-game road trip in Winnipeg on Tuesday, then will play 10 of the next 12 at home, where they are 14-9-3 compared to 17-13-2 on the road. And Jeff Carter is expected to resume practicing once the team returns to Los Angeles. Good sign. They are a completely different team with vs. without him.
(Last week: 12)
11. St. Louis Blues 34-22-4, 72 points)
After winning eight of their previous 11 games, the Blues have dropped three straight (0-2-1) and also fell to 5-7-2 in their past 14 road games after going 10-3-2 in their first 15.
(Last week: 9)
10. San Jose Sharks (32-19-8, 72 points)
Mikkel Boedker scored in a 5-2 win over Dallas on Sunday, giving the Sharks nine 10-plus-goal scorers this season and matching last year's total. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is sitting on nine goals, so he's one away from joining that group.
(Last week: 11)
9. Washington Capitals (33-18-7, 73 points)
Alex Ovechkin was held without a shot attempt for the first time in his NHL career in Saturday's 7-1 loss to Chicago, a span of 978 games. An incredible run, but still weird to think that he couldn't get just one off in 60 minutes.
(Last week: 6)
8. Dallas Stars (34-21-4, 72 points)
In their last four losses, the Stars have a goal differential of minus-15. When they lose, they're losing big as of late. But they haven't done much of that in 2018.
(Last week: 7)
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (36-20-5, 77 points)
Since Jan. 24, no team has picked up more points than the Maple Leafs (20 with a 10-2-0 record). They have a plus-19 goal differential over that span.
(Last week: 8)
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (35-22-4, 74 points)
The Penguins are 70-28-11 from Jan. 1 and on in the past three seasons under Mike Sullivan. No surprise they're getting red-hot at this time of year. Right on schedule.
(Last week: 10)
5. Winnipeg Jets (35-15-9, 79 points)
The Jets are 15-4-3 in their past 22 games, and wrap up a 10-game homestand on Tuesday against Los Angeles. After that, they will play eight of their next 10 on the road, where they are just 12-10-7 compared to 23-5-2 at home.
(Last week: 5)
4. Nashville Predators (34-14-9, 77 points)
The Predators have been outshot 30 times this season but they've won 20 of those. On the flip side, they've outshot their opponents 22 times but have won only 10 of them. Weird.
(Last week: 4)
3. Boston Bruins (35-13-8, 78 points)
The Bruins are 60-0-4 when leading after two periods dating back to the start of the 2016-17 season. Yeah, that's not a team you want to fall behind against.
(Last week: 3)
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (39-17-3, 81 points)
The Lightning have fallen to 24th in penalty kill percentage (78.1). If there's a weakness that could prevent them from winning the Stanley Cup, that's it.
(Last week: 2)
1. Vegas Golden Knights (39-15-4, 82 points)
The Golden Knights have scored at least one power-play goal in 12 of their past 13 games after going the previous seven without one. They have a 41.7 percent success rate on the power play since Jan. 20, which is absurd.
(Last week: 1)