Joe Haggerty's Not-Your-Typical NHL Power Rankings: Can Flames catch Lightning?
If there's one team that could threaten to overtake the Tampa Bay Lightning for the President's Trophy, it's the Calgary Flames, who are finally realizing their potential.
TOP 5 TEAMS
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (38-11-2): Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Steve Stamkos all averaging better than a point per game for a Lightning team that’s been head and shoulders above everybody else all season. They’re still trending to be the team to beat.
2. Calgary Flames (33-14-5): If there’s one team that could threaten to overtake the Lightning for the President’s Trophy it would be the Flames. Johnny Hockey is lighting it up for the Flames, who are finally realizing their potential.
3. Winnipeg Jets (33-16-2): After stumbling a little bit out of the gate, the Jets are playing up to their talent and have taken the reins in the Central Division. 7-3-0 in their past 10 is not too shabby.
4. Nashville Predators (31-18-4): The Preds are getting it done with defense, goaltending and depth on the offensive end of the ice and have won three in a row. Consistency has been their thing pretty much all season.
5. San Jose Sharks (29-16-7): The Sharks have won seven of 10 and are finally beginning to resemble the juggernaut everybody thought they’d be when they consummated the Erik Karlsson deal. Watch out for San Jose.
BOTTOM 5 TEAMS
1. Los Angeles Kings (20-26-4): The trade of Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs signals the once mighty Kings as sellers this season. It’s going to be a rough final few months in LA this hockey season.
2. Ottawa Senators (19-27-5): The Sens have lost three in a row and are an Eastern Conference-worst minus-33 in the goal differential department. It was only a matter of time before the wheels came off the Sens bus after an okay start to a turbulent season.
3. New Jersey Devils (19-24-7): The Devils were everybody’s darlings last season, but now reigning Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall isn’t even their leading scorer. A tough follow-up season for the not-ready-for-prime-time Devils.
4. Detroit Red Wings (20-25-7): It’s always tough to see a once-proud Red Wings team down at the bottom of the barrel, but Dylan Larkin and a bunch of other guys just isn’t enough to win games.
5. Chicago Blackhawks (19-24-9): The Blackhawks have won three in a row, but that can’t erase what’s become a lost season for a team that still boasts Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. The mighty have fallen and they can’t get up.
VIDEO GAME NUMBERS
Top performers of the week
1. Mika Zibanejad had one of the best games all season when he powered up for a hat trick of three goals and added an assist for four points in the Rangers' 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.
2. Kyle Connor scored two of Winnipeg’s three goals (and scored both of his in the third period) and then for good measure scored the winning goal in the shootout to give the Jets a 4-3 win over the Bruins on Tuesday night
3. David Pastrnak scored both goals and become the fastest Bruins player to 30 goals in a season since Cam Neely while supplying all of the offense in Boston’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Flyers on Thursday night.
4. Bryan Rust popped in a pair of goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins in their 5-3 win over the Senators on Friday night and kicked in a total of four shots on net in an active night for the Pens forward.
5. Filip Forsberg had a 3’s are wild kind of night against the Panthers on Friday night as he totaled three assists, a plus-3 and three shots on net in Nashville’s 4-1 win over Florida.
GOALIES THAT DON’T SUCK
Top netminders of the week
1. Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn’t needed to be brilliant most of the season for an awesome Tampa Bay lineup, but he was the man stopping all 36 shots in a 1-0 shutout shootout win over the Islanders on Friday night.
2. Flyers rookie goaltender Carter Hart got his accolades as rookie of the month for January and he earned it on the ice while stopping 31 of 32 shots in a 3-1 win over Winnipeg on Monday night.
3. Big Ben Bishop was massive between the pipes for the Dallas Stars stopping all 31 shots he faced in a 1-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night. The Stars could use a lot more of that in the second half.
4. Isles netminder Thomas Greiss was awesome, but just maybe not as awesome as Vasilevskiy when he turned out to be the losing goalie in the 1-0 shootout loss to the Lightning on Friday night.
5. Connor Hellebuyck didn’t earn a shutout and even allowed three goals in the game, but he was stellar in stopping 36 of 39 shots, including everything in the shootout, in Winnipeg’s 4-3 win over the B’s on Tuesday night.