Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: B's, Blues make moves
Watch out for the Boston Bruins as they make their way up the playoff standings in the Eastern Conference.
They have won six games in a row and passed the Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division while still missing their top offensive option in David Pastrnak. This after they battled through the first half of the regular season with injuries hitting them at every turn, and both Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara missing big chunks of time along the way.
The B’s are still almost 20 points behind the Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division and have zero shot whatsoever to catch up to them in the regular season. But the Bruins also have a legit shot at improving their roster over the next week with at least one, and possibly two trades, and will come out next week a much better team than they were this week. Only then will we know how seriously the Black and Gold should be considered as a contender.
But there’s no doubt in both the power rankings and the real standings that the Bruins are for real this season, and they’ve shown that no matter what’s been tossed at them along the way.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (46-11-4)
Seven wins in a row and 8-0-2 in their last 10 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they continue to roll over the competition. It’s their Stanley Cup Final spot to lose at this point.
LAST WEEK: 1
2. Calgary Flames (36-16-7)
Nobody knows if it’s going to be a winning formula in the playoffs, but the Flames sure will be fun to watch. They’re averaging 3.68 goals per game and could light it up once they get to the postseason.
LAST WEEK: 4
3. San Jose Sharks (35-17-8)
Who knew that Jumbo Joe Thornton still had it in him to get a hat trick? It does seem kind of appropriate that the Sharks ended up falling short in the game, though, didn’t it?
LAST WEEK: 2
4. Boston Bruins (35-17-8)
The Bruins have won six games in a row and gone undefeated since David Pastrnak went down with a thumb injury. They’re certainly giving Don Sweeney plenty to think about at the trade deadline.
LAST WEEK: 7
5. New York Islanders (35-17-6)
The Isles have gone a remarkable 18-7-4 on home ice despite Barclays not really feeling like a hockey rink, and they’ve returned to Nassau Coliseum and turned it into a rocking rink when they play there. Pretty good times for the Isles.
LAST WEEK: 6
6. Toronto Maple Leafs (36-19-4)
The Maple Leafs have been bypassed in the Atlantic Division by the Bruins, and have to be envisioning the history of last season repeating itself at this point.
LAST WEEK: 5
7. Winnipeg Jets (36-19-4)
A loss to Colorado. Okay. An OT loss to Ottawa after that? Hang your head in shame, Winnipeg.
LAST WEEK: 3
8. Nashville Predators (35-22-5)
There’s nothing wrong with the way the Predators go about their business in the regular season. Goaltending, good defense and solid, unspectacular offense continue to grind out wins the right way.
LAST WEEK: 8
9. Washington Capitals (33-20-7)
The defending champs continue to hover near the top in the Metro Division. Something tells me this is a team that’s going to turn it on when they really need to this season.
LAST WEEK: 10
10. Montreal Canadiens (32-21-7)
The Habs continue to be one of the unlikeliest playoff success stories this season. Credit Carey Price, the coaching of Claude Julien and sheer willpower right about now.
LAST WEEK: 9
11. Pittsburgh Penguins (32-21-7)
Kris Letang is quietly having a phenomenal season for the Penguins, who continue to stay strongly within the playoff picture in the Metro.
LAST WEEK: 12
12. Columbus Blue Jackets (33-23-3)
Watching John Tortorella deal with Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky this season might be more entertaining than the games happening on the ice. And the Blue Jackets are pretty good there too.
LAST WEEK: 11
13. St. Louis Blues (32-22-5)
It is truly amazing what the Blues have done with 11 straight wins. They have gone from trade deadline sellers to playoff contenders, and really changed everything with one epic winning streak.
LAST WEEK: 17
14. Vegas Golden Knights (32-25-4)
The Knights have lost four of their last five and are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games. They’re still hovering around the playoffs, but the Vegas magic feels missing this season.
LAST WEEK: 13
15. Carolina Hurricanes (31-23-6)
The Carolina Hurricanes are apparently a bunch of jerks. They’re also pretty good at playing hockey as well as the postgame celebrations. So there.
LAST WEEK: 15
16. Dallas Stars (29-25-5)
The Stars have lost three games in a row, but they’re still in a playoff spot based on some pretty awful teams in the Western Conference. At this time of year, that’s a pretty good cushion.
LAST WEEK: 16
17. Minnesota Wild (27-27-6)
See above. The Wild have lost five games in a row and have gone 1-6-3 in their last 10 games, but also are still in a wild card playoff spot while looking to sell pieces at the deadline.
LAST WEEK: 18
18. Buffalo Sabres (28-24-7)
Jeff Skinner is having a great season goal-scoring wise, but nobody else on the Sabres roster even has 20 goals this season. They need somebody else to step up and be counted.
LAST WEEK: 14
19. Philadelphia Flyers (28-25-7)
The Flyers went on a nice run after installing their rookie goalie, but they’re seeing now just how tough it’s going to be to break into the East Coast playoff picture.
LAST WEEK: 19
20. Colorado Avalanche (24-24-11)
The Avs are a pretty fascinating team given their talent level and given that they are no given to make the playoffs based on how they’re playing right now. A tough call with that group.
LAST WEEK: 24
21. Vancouver Canucks (26-27-7)
There’s a steep drop-off in production after the top three young guns on the Vancouver roster. That’s certainly the next order of business with building that team.
LAST WEEK: 20
22. Arizona Coyotes (27-28-5)
Give the Coyotes credit for hanging in there and allowing the playoff pack to sink back toward them. Amazing to think they’re just one point out of a playoff spot.
LAST WEEK: 22
23. Florida Panthers (26-24-8)
The Panthers have won three games in a row, and to a degree are victims of the awesome Atlantic Division that they’re stuck in right now.
LAST WEEK: 25
24. New York Rangers (26-25-8)
The Rangers could be one of the big sellers at the deadline dictating the fate of other teams across for the NHL. For Jeff Gorton’s sake, let’s hope it’s the last season they play that role.
LAST WEEK: 21
25. Chicago Blackhawks (25-26-9)
The Blackhawks had their last gasp winning streak that lasted for a few weeks, and now they’re still stuck in the bottom of the Central Division. It’s time to sell off some pieces.
LAST WEEK: 23
26. Edmonton Oilers (24-29-6)
The Oilers are a mess and have lost five games in a row. This is not a recording.
LAST WEEK: 26
27. Detroit Red Wings (23-29-8)
It will be interesting to see what the Red Wings do at the trade deadline. They definitely look like they’re in line to deal away Thomas Vanek. What else beyond that?
LAST WEEK: 27
28. Los Angeles Kings (23-30-6)
Give the Kings credit. They are still competing hard and trying to win games. But they are still almost totally old and totally slow.
LAST WEEK: 28
29. New Jersey Devils (23-29-8)
Kyle Palmieri is having a great season for the Devils, but there aren’t enough other players on the Jersey roster that can say the same. This is a very average hockey club.
LAST WEEK: 29
30. Anaheim Ducks (24-27-9)
Bob Murray looked pretty miserable on the bench coaching this Ducks team when Boston came through town last week. There are not many good things going on with this group right now.
LAST WEEK: 30
31. Ottawa Senators (22-32-5)
At this point the rest of the NHL is just picking Ottawa’s carcass for the chance to get Mark Stone, Matt Duchene or even Ryan Dzingel. It’s a tough time to be a Senator.
LAST WEEK: 31