NHL Power Rankings: Have the Oilers turned it around?
NHL Power Rankings: Week 12
The Oilers have won a season-best four straight, and are only five points away from a wild card spot in the Western Conference going into the Christmas break.
31. Arizona Coyotes (8-25-5, 21 points)
Derek Stepan is in a little bit of a rhythm. He has three goals in his last three games after scoring just three goals in his previous 28. Clayton Keller also has a point in five straight, the second time this season he's had a point streak of at least five games.
(Last week: 31)
30. Buffalo Sabres (9-20-7, 25 points)
Jack Eichel continues to be one of the very few bright spots for the Sabres this season. He has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his last four games, and has pulled within a point of Evander Kane for the team lead in points (33).
(Last week: 30)
29. Ottawa Senators (11-15-8, 30 points)
The Senators have just five wins on the road this season, which is the third-fewest in the NHL. Only the Sabres and Coyotes (four each) have fewer, and that's not good company to be in.
(Last week: 29)
28. Detroit Red Wings (13-15-7, 33 points)
The Red Wings have reached a point where they should starting looking to sell off spare parts and start collecting draft picks and prospects in an effort to find a few building blocks for the future.
(Last week: 27)
27. Vancouver Canucks (15-17-5, 35 points)
The Canucks dodged a bullet when Brock Boeser blocked a shot off his foot last Sunday but wasn't forced to miss any games. He's since scored a goal in three straight, and also has seven goals in his last nine. He's the only reason to watch a Vancouver game.
(Last week: 26)
26. Florida Panthers (15-16-5, 35 points)
James Reimer was named the NHL's third star of the week after going 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals against average, .964 save percentage and one shutout to help the Panthers win three in a row for the first time this season.
(Last week: 28)
25. Montreal Canadiens (16-16-3, 36 points)
Byron Froese has seven points (one goal, six assists) in nine games this month after going pointless in 10 games last month.
(Last week: 23)
24. Philadelphia Flyers (15-13-8, 38 points)
Brian Elliott's save percentage by month this season: .884 in October, .920 in November and .933 in December. When he's providing the goaltending, the Flyers have a chance to win every night. But they're still too dependent on that, and depth scoring remains a concern.
(Last week: 22)
23. Colorado Avalanche (17-15-3, 37 points)
The Avalanche picked up five out of a possible six points this past week, and are riding a hot power play. They're 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) with the man advantage in the last four games after going 0-for-17 in their previous five.
(Last week: 24)
22. Edmonton Oilers (17-17-2, 36 points)
Edmonton hadn't won more than two in a row all season, but Cam Talbot has helped his team string together four straight wins (2.00 goals against average and .932 save percentage over that span). The Oilers are only five points away from the final wild card spot and they have a huge opportunity to get back into the picture. Here are their next eight games, all against Western Conference teams that are ahead of them in the race: at Winnipeg, vs. Chicago, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Anaheim, at Dallas, at Chicago, at Nashville. Buckle up.
(Last week: 25)
21. Calgary Flames (18-15-3, 39 points)
It's been a tough month for Mike Smith, who has a .903 save percentage in nine starts which has lowered his season percentage to .919. David Rittich has gotten two of the last three starts, and won both of them by allowing a combined three goals on 54 shots (.944 save percentage).
(Last week: 19)
20. Pittsburgh Penguins (18-16-3, 39 points)
The Penguins are 3-6-0 since winning four straight, and it looks like their back-to-back Stanley Cup runs is finally catching up to them. To help add some fresh legs on the back end and shore up the goaltending position, they acquired Jamie Oleksiak and Michael Leighton in two separate trades that likely won't be the last of them.
(Last week: 17)
19. Carolina Hurricanes (16-12-7, 39 points)
Don't count out the Hurricanes. They've now won five of their last six games, and are just three points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand. Their power play went 3-for-10 (30 percent) in back-to-back wins against Nashville and Buffalo after it had gone 0-for-14 in its previous five games.
(Last week: 21)
18. Minnesota Wild (18-15-3, 39 points)
The Wild won just one game during their four-game road trip, but they have a great opportunity upcoming to make up some ground with nine of their next 12 games being played at home, where they are 10-4-2 compared to 8-11-2 on the road.
(Last week: 16)
17. Anaheim Ducks (16-13-8, 40 points)
Ryan Getzlaf has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in seven games since returning from injury, and recorded his ninth career game with at least four assists in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Islanders on Thursday. Only Nicklas Backstrom has more (10) since Getzlaf made his NHL debut in 2005-06, according to Elias.
(Last week: 20)
16. Chicago Blackhawks (17-13-5, 39 points)
After outscoring their opponents 18-7 during their five-game winning streak, the Blackhawks have been outscored 8-1 in their last two games, both of which have been regulation losses. This is an inconsistent team that can get really hot or really cold, and right now it's the latter.
(Last week: 14)
15. New York Islanders (19-13-4, 42 points)
John Tavares and Josh Bailey have been on an absolute mission together. They have combined 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in their last eight games, and became the first set of teammates to simultaneously record multiple points in five consecutive contests since Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau did so with the Sharks from Jan. 20-27, 2013, according to Elias.
(Last week: 11)
14. New York Rangers (19-13-4, 42 points)
J.T. Miller has three goals in his last five games after scoring four total in his first 31 of the season. Depth scoring is vital to a Rangers team that ranks second-to-last in puck possession numbers.
(Last week: 12)
13. Dallas Stars (20-14-3, 43 points)
After losing three straight in regulation, the Stars have earned at least a point in six of their last seven games (4-1-2) and their 4-0 win over Chicago on Thursday helped Ken Hitchcock become the third coach in NHL history to reach 800 wins.
(Last week: 15)
12. San Jose Sharks (19-11-4, 42 points)
Joe Thornton is going into the Christmas break on a hot streak. He has 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in his last 15 games after going pointless in his previous five. He also surpassed Doug Gilmour on Thursday for 18th all-time with 1,416 career points.
(Last week: 13)
11. Boston Bruins (19-10-5, 43 points)
Tuukka Rask is 8-0-1 with a 1.45 goals against average, .946 save percentage and one shutout in his last nine decisions after going 3-8-2 with a 2.91 goals against average and .899 save percentage in his first 13 appearances on the season.
(Last week: 18)
10. Toronto Maple Leafs (22-14-1, 45 points)
Mitch Marner had a career high four-point game in an 8-1 win over Carolina on Tuesday, and he followed that up with a goal in Columbus the very next night. That's an important development if he can start playing up to the level he's capable of doing on a consistent basis.
(Last week: 10)
9. Winnipeg Jets (20-11-6, 46 points)
Connor Hellebuyck's save percentage has gone from .940 in October to .916 in November to .907 so far in December. Perhaps somewhere in the middle is a fair assessment of his season, but it's worth noting the downward trend. Goaltending has been the Jets' biggest concern for years. January will be a crucial month to determine whether or not they should seek insurance from the outside before the trade deadline. Is Hellebuyck just going through a mini rough patch or can he be the guy to lead them on a deep postseason run?
(Last week: 8)
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (22-13-2, 46 points)
Seth Jones has four goals in his last six games after scoring just three in his first 31. He's helped the Blue Jackets score a power-play goal in four straight, and five of their last six games.
(Last week: 7)
7. New Jersey Devils (21-9-5, 47 points)
Home sweet home: New Jersey has won four straight games, all of which have come at Prudential Center, and it's scored at least four goals in three of them. Awaiting after the break: Detroit and Buffalo. Can the Devils finish a perfect 6-for-6 during their homestand? It's set up perfectly for them to do so.
(Last week: 9)
6. St. Louis Blues (23-13-2, 48 points)
The Blues dropped their first three games of their four-game road trip, all in regulation, before ending it with a 3-1 win in Vancouver on Saturday. Are they starting to come back down to earth or have the injuries slowed them down?
(Last week: 3)
5. Washington Capitals (22-13-2, 46 points)
John Carlson is quietly having one of the best seasons of his career. He's racked up 27 points in 37 games, and is 10 points shy of tying the 37 he recorded last year in 72 games. He's also averaging 26:11 of ice time, which would shatter his previous career high (24:31 in 2013-14).
(Last week: 5)
4. Los Angeles Kings (22-11-4, 48 points)
Jonathan Quick has a .960 save percentage over his last three starts to help the Kings pick up at least a point in three of their last four games (2-1-1). Power play remains an issue though. Los Angeles has slipped to 28th in the league with a 15.4 percent success rate.
(Last week: 6)
3. Nashville Predators (21-9-5, 47 points)
Before going pointless in a 4-1 loss to Carolina, on Thursday, Filip Forsberg had registered at least a point in all 16 home games. He has 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 17 games at home this season compared to 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 18 games on the road.
(Last week: 2)
2. Vegas Golden Knights (23-9-2, 48 points)
The Golden Knights have picked up 17 out of a possible 18 points in their last nine games, and kept their point streak alive by scoring the tie-breaking goal with 2.3 seconds left in a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay and following that up with a 3-0 win over Washington. They have officially solidified themselves as legitimate contenders.
(Last week: 4)
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (26-7-2, 54 points)
Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded a 22-save shutout for his fourth whitewash of the season, tying Sergei Bobrovsky for the NHL lead. The Lightning improved to 9-1-0 in the month of December after going 7-4-1 in November.
(Last week: 1)