Haggerty's Not Your Typical NHL Power Rankings: Lightning reign
The Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of nine of their past 10, are probably going to clinch the President's Trophy next week. Bad news for the Bruins and the rest of the Atlantic Division. There appears to be no stopping them.
TOP 5 TEAMS
1) Tampa Bay Lightning (32-7-2) – The Lightning are tops with 66 points this season, have won seven in a row and nine of their past 10. They’re probably going to clinch the President’s Trophy next week. What a powerhouse.
2) Toronto Maple Leafs (26-12-2) – The Leafs are scoring goals, winning games and giving the long-suffering Toronto fans something to get excited about. It’s just their luck, however, that they’re also in the same division with the Lightning.
3) Calgary Flames (25-13-4) – The Flames are led by Johnny Gaudreau, who is absolutely on fire offensively right now. He’s on pace for about 120 points this season. My goodness.
4) Pittsburgh Penguins (23-12-6) – The Penguins have won eight in a row and are rocketing to the top of the Metro Division. It’s about time that the Pens got their house in order after a mostly sleepy first half of the season.
5) Vegas Golden Knights (25-15-4) – The Golden Knights were pretty disappointing for the early part of the first half, but have won five in a row. Vegas is back, baby, and proving that they weren’t just a Cinderella story last season.
BOTTOM 5 TEAMS
1) Ottawa Senators (15-21-5) – It took the Senators a while to truly sink into the dregs of the NHL, but now they’ve lost six in a row and it seems like reality is setting in that they aren’t very good at all. Tough times in Ottawa.
2) Philadelphia Flyers (15-20-5) – The Flyers have gassed the GM and gassed the coach and they’re at the bottom of the Metro Division. Maybe they get some kind of bounce from it, but it looks like they’re headed for the bottom.
3) Los Angeles Kings (16-23-3) – The Kings have been in the bottom of the NHL heap all season, and are slow, old and not able to easily score goals. It also looks like the signing of Ilya Kovalchuk was a big mistake for them.
4) St. Louis Blues (16-18-4) – The Blues are looking like another team that’s isn't going anywhere and are going to be sellers at the deadline after a nice run with their previous group. It could be time for a rebuild stripped down to the studs in St. Louis.
5) Chicago Blackhawks (15-21-7) – There’s really no ifs, ands or buts about it. The Blackhawks stink and are quickly losing the cachet they had from their dynastic years.
(Top 5 performers for the week)
1) Johnny Gaudreau had an electric week, and his best was a pair of goals and four points on New Year’s Eve against the San Jose Sharks. But it’s not that far from the norm for Johnny Hockey this season.
2) Matt Barzal stung the Maple Leafs for a hat trick last Saturday and that included five shots on net and scoring three of the four total goals for the Isles. Talk about powering the offense...geez.
3) Nikita Kucherov only scored a goal, but finished with four goals in a 6-2 win over the LA Kings on Tuesday night. Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning just keep pouring it on.
4) Brent Burns was a monster in Wednesday night’s 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche with a goal and four points in 29:13 of ice time. The Avs had no idea what they were in store for that night from Hockey Chewbacca.
5) Perhaps in a response that proved he wasn’t a “horse [bleep]” player, Tyler Seguin scored both of the Stars goals in a 2-1 overtime win over the Washington Capitals on Friday night. Amazing what a few words of criticism can do.