Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Bruins aiming for strong finish
Just two games left in the regular season, so it’s last call for the final few playoff spots. In the Eastern Conference it’s basically Columbus and Montreal playing for the final spot with the Blue Jackets enjoying an upper hand they should rightly own right now. Sure Carolina could blow it, but let’s assume they’re going to make it even though they’re no longer a bunch of jerks.
After all the stuff they did at the trade deadline both trading for others and holding onto their own players, it would be an absolute disaster for the Blue Jackets if they don’t make it.
The 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs are almost a week away!
Now, on to the power rankings!
31. Ottawa Senators (28-45-6)
There are only two games left in the regular season for the Ottawa Senators. That’s the best news for the Sens to come out in months.
30. Los Angeles Kings (30-41-9)
The Kings will finish with the worst goal-differential in the NHL this season, and appear to be far, far away from turning things around in any form or fashion.
29. Buffalo Sabres (31-39-10)
The Sabres have lost eight games in a row and are sinking toward the bottom of the Atlantic Division. It’s good for them that they still have the Senators to kick around below them.
28. Anaheim Ducks (33-37-10)
The Ducks are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and are finishing things out with some emphasis. The big offensive totals they’re putting up are certainly something the Ducks could have used earlier in the year.
27. New Jersey Devils (30-40-10)
The Devils didn’t have the worst goal differential in the Eastern Conference, so I guess that’s something to wave around with pride.
26. New York Rangers (31-35-13)
Ryan Strome has all of a sudden caught fire with the Rangers scoring in three straight games, but that’s little consolation to a New York team struggling to close things out.
25. Edmonton Oilers (34-37-9)
The Oilers have dropped four in a row and are finally crumbling under the weight of a monumentally disappointing season. But man did Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid have really great individual seasons or what?
24. Vancouver Canucks (35-35-10)
Three wins in a row, three losses in a row and three wins in a row. Say this for the Canucks, they are consistent in their inconsistency.
23. Detroit Red Wings (32-38-10)
Somehow the Red Wings have won six games in a row and taken eight out of their last 10 games, and played the spoiler role with great pride. It doesn’t make up for a subpar season, but it’s something anyway.
22. Florida Panthers (36-32-12)
The Panthers have won three in a row and Roberto Luongo is playing with some spark if this indeed is the end for the affable goaltender. No matter what, though, this Panthers team is looked at as unfulfilled potential.
21. Philadelphia Flyers (37-35-8)
The Flyers have dropped three in a row and are in a bit of a tailspin entering these final days. It’s tough times in Philly when irrelevant hockey is being played this time of year.
20. Chicago Blackhawks (34-33-12)
The Blackhawks are the best last place team in the NHL this season. So they have that going for them, which is nice.
19. Minnesota Wild (37-34-9)
The Wild always seemed an unlikely playoff team after they were sellers at the deadline, and they finally folded this week. All feels right in the world now.
18. Arizona Coyotes (38-34-8)
The Coyotes have won three of their last 10 games and are one half-step away from being eliminated from playoff contention. It was a nice run, but they didn’t have enough in the end.
17. Colorado Avalanche (37-29-14)
The Avalanche went 7-1-2 over 10 games when it mattered most, passed the Coyotes and look like they’re going to be good for a postseason spot. The talent finally rose to the surface.
16. Dallas Stars (42-31-7)
The Stars have clinched the playoffs, so credit to Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn for getting Dallas where they needed to go. We’ll see if they have much of anything once they get there.
15. Montreal Canadiens (43-29-8)
The Habs are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and making it all extremely difficult for the Blue Jackets while gunning for that last spot. Either way they’ve done a really good job of pushing past expectations this season.
14. Columbus Blue Jackets (45-31-4)
The Blue Jackets have won five of their last six games to get into a pretty good spot for the playoffs, but they dropped a stink bomb against the Bruins at the wrong time.
13. Vegas Golden Knights (43-30-7)
Jonathan Marchessault is racking up the game-winning goals as the Golden Knights will make it 2-for-2 in making the playoffs during the existence of their franchise. That’s damn impressive too.
12. St. Louis Blues (43-28-8)
The Blues are 7-2-1 in their final 10 games and they’re really finishing their season with a flourish. Going from last place to a playoff spot is pretty impressive stuff for them.
11. Carolina Hurricanes (44-29-7)
The Hurricanes are getting rid of the post-win celebrations they’ve done all season. Can you imagine how much that would have pissed people off if they did it in the playoffs?
10. Nashville Predators (45-29-6)
The Predators are making a final push for the Central Division title, but it remains to be seen if they can overpass the Jets. Both Nashville and Winnipeg feel like the sleeping giants in the Western conference playoff bracket.
9. San Jose Sharks (44-27-9)
The Sharks are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games and continue to limp toward the finish line. A flameout from San Jose would be pretty epic if it happens in the first round of the postseason.
8. Winnipeg Jets (46-30-4)
The Jets have put themselves in very good position to take the Central Division, and should be a beast once the playoffs get going. Is this going to be their year?
7. Pittsburgh Penguins (43-26-11)
The Penguins haven’t clinched a playoff spot yet, but they feel like they’re as good as in at this point. The question is how much the old dogs like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have to offer.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs (46-27-7)
Is history going to repeat itself for Toronto with the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs? It certainly feels that way.
5. New York Islanders (46-27-7)
The Isles really deserve credit for the most unexpected of seasons. It’s just too bad they can’t match up with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. That would be next level.
4. Washington Capitals (47-25-8)
The Panthers snapped their four game winning streak but the Capitals look primed for the playoffs. The real question is how much they have in the tank after last spring’s run to the Stanley Cup.
3. Boston Bruins (48-23-9)
The Bruins snapped out of last weekend’s doldrums with a convincing win over the Blue Jackets that had to make everybody feel better headed into the postseason. All systems go for the Black and Gold.
2. Calgary Flames (50-23-7)
The Flames have won three games in a row and are finishing with a flourish after going through the battles of a long regular season. Great year for them, but why do I think they’re ripe for a first round upset?
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (60-14-4)
The Lightning hit 60 wins to go along with everything else they’ve clinched this season. What a year for the odds-on favorites headed into the Stanley Cup playoffs.