Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: B's streak to top
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
30. Buffalo Sabres (19-42-8, last week: 30) – One win in their last 10 games doesn’t exactly illustrate a team inspired by Ted Nolan to finish strong, does it? The Sabres actually went through a five game losing stretch where linemates Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford were the only Buffalo players to score goals.
29. Edmonton Oilers (25-38-9, last week: 27) – Two Oilers jerseys thrown onto the ice by disgusted fans in the same season has to be some kind of record for NHL futility, doesn’t it?
28. Florida Panthers (27-35-8, last week: 28) – The Florida Panthers finally took their California trip beating like so many other Eastern teams have already this season.
27. New York Islanders (28-35-9, last week: 29) – Kyle Okposo is still healthy, so the Isles have that going for them…which is nice.
26. Carolina Hurricanes (31-32-9, last week: 23) – Jim Rutherford will step down as the GM with the Hurricanes once the season is over. It does feel like it’s time for a change down in Carolina.
25. Calgary Flames (30-35-7, last week: 25) – The Flames have put up an 8-5 record in their last 13 games, and continued to fight hard for head coach Bob Hartley.
24. Winnipeg Jets (32-32-9, last week: 21) – Winnipeg never had a shot at the playoffs in the Western Conference, but at least they’ve had close to 95 percent of their season ticket holders renew thus far.
23. Ottawa Senators (29-29-14, last week: 24) – The Sens have won twice in their last 10 games, and the whispers out of Ottawa are that Jason Spezza’s days might be numbered. Tough to understand what’s wrong with this team.
22. Nashville Predators (31-31-11, last week: 26) – The Predators shut out the Blackhawks last weekend, but it was a little too late this season for an offensively challenged team.
21. Vancouver Canucks (33-30-10, last week: 22) – The Canucks have won four of their last six games to keep their playoff hopes on life support, but who are we kidding here?
HANGIN' IN THERE
20. New Jersey Devils (31-28-13, last week: 20) – Big win for the Devils last week in Zach Parise’s return to New Jersey with his new Minnesota Wild team.
19. Toronto Maple Leafs (36-30-8, last week: 13) – The Leafs lost to the Habs and Devils over the weekend, and their playoff chances have dropped below 30 percent according to number crunchers. This would be much worse than the Game 7 collapse vs. the Bruins last year.
18. Dallas Stars (34-27-11, last week: 18) – The Stars are 2-4-1 in their last seven games, and have surrendered some really big offensive numbers in that time period. They’re still within three points of the playoffs.
17. Washington Capitals (34-27-12, last week: 15) – Four out of six points in the road trip through California was pretty impressive, and continues the shroud of mystery around this hockey team.
16. Detroit Red Wings (33-25-14, last week: 18) – Mike Babcock has kept this team together through a ton of injuries along with some help from super-talented youngster Gustav Nyquist.
15. Columbus Blue Jackets (37-29-6, last week: 17) – The Blue Jackets are riding Sergei Bobrovsky to the end, for better or for worse. They’ve put themselves in a good position for the playoffs.
14. Phoenix Coyotes (35-26-12, last week: 13) – The Coyotes didn’t need a lower body injury to Mike Smith as they battle for the playoffs, but that’s the hand that Phoenix has been dealt.
13. Minnesota Wild (37-24-11, last week: 12) – Plenty of playoff ramifications for the Wild’s game vs. the Canucks on Wednesday night.
12. Philadelphia Flyers (38-26-7, last week 11) – The Flyers are 12-3-2 in their last 17 games, and are one of the hottest teams in the East at the exact right time of year. The slow start for Claude Giroux and the rest of the team seems like a long, long time ago.
11. New York Rangers (40-29-4, last week: 12) – Four wins in a row for the Rangers, and a huge Metro Division game Wednesday night against the equally hot Philadelphia Flyers. Marty St. Louis still isn’t scoring, though.
BEST OF THE REST
10. Tampa Bay Lightning (39-24-9, last week: 7) – The Bolts are 5-0-2 in the last seven games and Steve Stamkos is hitting his stride again coming back from the broken leg. The Lightning are going to be a tough out in the first round.
9. Los Angeles Kings (42-25-6, last week: 10) – The Kings aren’t the sexy pick in the Western Conference, but they are absolutely built for the playoffs. Offense may be their undoing, however.
8. Montreal Canadiens (41-26-7, last week: 9) – Peter Budaj may be the secret weapon against the Bruins in the playoffs as he’s 5-0-0 lifetime against Boston at TD Garden. Big shootout win for the Habs over the Bruins on Monday night.
7. Colorado Avalanche (45-21-6, last week: 5) – The Avs are 2-3-1 in the last six games, and look a little on the light side as the games heavier this much closer to the playoffs. Speedy and dangerous, but inexperienced and not very physical.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins (46-21-5, last week: 6) – The Penguins have veteran leadership calling out the team for a lack of “passion” in the closing weeks of the season, and things are looking messy for Pittsburgh. It may very well not be an elite postseason for the Pens again this season.
5. Anaheim Ducks (46-18-7, last week: 3) – The Ducks have three wins in their last nine games as they’re cooling off just prior to the playoffs.
4. Chicago Blackhawks (42-16-15, last week: 8) – Impressive 4-0 win for the Blackhawks over the St. Louis Blues as they battle with Patrick Kane out of the lineup.
3. San Jose Sharks (46-18-9, last week: 4) – This team doesn’t belong to Jumbo Joe and Patrick Marleau anymore. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, Antti Niemi, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and names like that are carrying the load for a Sharks team at the top of the standings.
2. St. Louis Blues (49-16-7, last week: 2) – The Blues are 10-2-1 since Ryan Miller showed up in St. Louis, and look like the kind of team that has what it takes to get through the Western Conference gauntlet.
1. Boston Bruins (49-17-6, last week: 1) – The 12-game winning streak is over, but the Bruins are still 20-2-4 in their last 26 games dating back to Jan. 16. Big, strong, disciplined with good goaltending, and built for the playoffs.