Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Power Rankings: Re-stacking Stanley Cup field after trade deadline

NHL Power Rankings: Re-stacking Stanley Cup field after trade deadline

The NHL trade deadline is officially in the rear-view mirror and now the real spring begins to the playoffs for teams across the NHL.

Each of the 31 organizations know their full group going down the stretch and new faces will get acclimated quickly under pressure-packed games in the final six weeks.

We know the immediate winners and losers after the trade deadline. Carolina made some big moves to fortify a roster beset by injuries, and Tampa Bay clearly is going for it after spending first round picks to acquire gritty playoff-types in Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow.

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Even the Islanders and Lou Lamoriello got aggressive by trading an array of picks for third line center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and then signing him to a five-year, $30 million contract to stay on Long Island for the long haul.

Now we see if the big moves benefit those teams that decided to be bold, or if the quiet, patient approach favors playoffs-caliber teams like Dallas and Colorado that didn’t do very much ahead of the deadline.

Click here for this week's power rankings:  

NHL Power Rankings: Sprint to the playoffs underway

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NHL Power Rankings: Sprint to the playoffs underway

The NHL is now in sprint mode with roughly two months left in the regular season, and no breaks in the schedule coming until a few days in between the end of the regular season and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There’s most definitely an air of elevated intensity in the games at this point with teams fighting for their playoff lives, other teams alert and awake to protect their playoff position and even bottom-dwelling teams filled with players looking to protect their niche within the league.

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It all makes for games like the fight-filled affair in Winnipeg last weekend between the Bruins and the Jets, and the equally entertaining Battles of Alberta that culminated with a goalie fight between Cam Talbot and Mike Smith last week as well.

The big winners in all of this are hockey fans around the NHL that will be watching some of the best games of the season with teams refreshed after the All-Star break and bye weeks, and hyper-motivated to get into their finishing kick now that there’s light at the end of the regular season tunnel.  

Now on to the Power Rankings:

NHL Highlights: Bruins blow three-goal lead in loss to Penguins

NHL Highlights: Bruins blow three-goal lead in loss to Penguins

FINAL SCORE: Penguins 4, Bruins 3

IN BRIEF: The Bruins dominated the first period and built a three-goal lead, but the Penguins came all the way back to win the game. David Pastrnak had his 37th goal of the season but the Bruins suffered a regulation loss after having a three-goal lead for just the second time since the 2010-2011 season.

BOX SCORE

BRUINS RECORD: 28-10-12 (68 points)

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HIGHLIGHTS

BERGERON SCORES 11 SECONDS INTO THE GAME

ANDERS BJORK MAKEs IT TWO FOR THE BRUINS IN THE FIRST TWO MINUTES

DAVID PASTRNAK'S 37TH GIVES BRUINS A THREE-GOAL LEAD

PENGUINS ANSWER WITH SWEET NO-ANGLE SHOT

PENGUINS CUT THE LEAD TO ONE

JOHNSON'S SHORTHANDED GOAL BRINGS PENS ALL THE WAY BACK

RUST GIVES PENGUINS THE LEAD

UP NEXT:
Tuesday, Jan. 21 vs. Vegas Golden Knights