NHL Power Rankings: Panthers making serious playoff push
NHL Power Rankings: Week 22
The Panthers were 12 points out of a wild card spot at the All-Star break. They've strung together six consecutive wins and trail by only one point, with three games in hand on the second team.
31. Buffalo Sabres (20-34-11, 51 points)
The good news is, the Sabres will be playing eight of their next nine games at home. The bad news is, the reasons to attend those are getting fewer.
(Last week: 31)
30. Ottawa Senators (22-32-10, 54 points)
Erik Karlsson has had 15 multi-point games this season, five of which have been three-point efforts. If only he could be putting up those numbers for a contender.
(Last week: 29)
29. Vancouver Canucks (24-32-9, 57 points)
The Canucks peppered a season-high 55 shots on goal but lost to the Rangers 6-5 in overtime on Wednesday. One of those games where you tip your hat to the goaltender, although there's some blame to go around on defense if you allow six goals on 27 shots.
(Last week: 27)
28. Arizona Coyotes (20-34-10, 50 points)
The Coyotes had only 12 wins in their first 53 games of the season. Since then, they're 8-2-1.
(Last week: 30)
27. Edmonton Oilers (27-34-4, 58 points)
Connor McDavid has eight points (three goals, five assists) in a four-game point streak. It's a damn shame we won't get to see him in the playoffs this spring.
(Last week: 24)
26. Montreal Canadiens (25-29-11, 61 points)
The Canadiens are 3-0-3 since Carey Price went down with an injury. Of course.
(Last week: 28)
25. Detroit Red Wings (26-29-10-, 62 points)
The Red Wings haven't won a game since the trade deadline (0-3-0), and that's probably for the better. They currently have the seventh-best lottery odds and are in desperate need of a high pick to add a top defenseman.
(Last week: 23)
24. Chicago Blackhawks (28-30-8, 64 points)
It's the first week of March and wins/losses for the Blackhawks are meaningless. Only this time for the opposite reasons.
(Last week: 25)
23. New York Islanders (29-29-8, 66 points)
The Islanders are 0-4-2 in their past six games, and sit five points out of a wild card spot in the East. How realistic is it that John Tavares walks this summer? He's been in the NHL for nine years and has nothing to show for it. His prime is right now.
(Last week: 21)
22. New York Rangers (30-30-6, 66 points)
Henrik Lundqvist became the first goalie to stop 50 or more shots in consecutive wins since 1955, when the NHL began tracking saves. And he did it on his 36th birthday.
(Last week: 26)
21. Carolina Hurricanes (29-26-11, 69 points)
The Hurricanes are in the bottom third of goals per game (2.62), goals against per game (2.95), power play percentage (18.7) and penalty kill percentage (79.0) yet still find themselves in the playoff hunt. They are a playmaker or two away from getting above that line.
(Last week: 22)
20. St. Louis Blues (35-26-5, 75 points)
The Blues started the season 21-8-2. Since then, they are 14-18-3. A complete 180.
(Last week: 18)
19. Columbus Blue Jackets (33-28-5, 71 points)
The Blue Jackets are barely hanging on to that final wild card spot in the East, but they'll have a little stretch here to build some sort of cushion with four games at home, where they are 19-11-2 compared to 14-17-3 on the road.
(Last week: 19)
18. New Jersey Devils (33-25-8, 74 points)
Taylor Hall has registered at least a point in 25 straight games, becoming just the eighth player in the last 30 years to do so. He also has hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career, and may just be playing his way into the Hart Trophy discussion.
(Last week: 16)
17. Calgary Flames (32-25-9, 73 points)
The Flames are 3-6-1 in their past 10 games since Mike Smith got injured. They need him back quickly.
(Last week: 13)
16. Florida Panthers (32-25-6, 70 points)
Aleksander Barkov is on an absolute tear right now. He has a goal in four straight, a point in six straight and 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in his past 15 games for the Panthers, who have won six in a row.
(Last week: 20)
15. Colorado Avalanche (35-24-6, 76 points)
Nathan MacKinnon was named the NHL's first star of the week after scoring five goals and adding six assists to help the Avalanche pick up seven out of a possible eight points. Man they missed him.
(Last week: 17)
14. Los Angeles Kings (36-25-5, 77 points)
Jeff Carter has scored three goals in five games since returning to the lineup for the Kings, who have won three of those contests. They were really starting to miss his presence, and he's back just in time to make a strong playoff push.
(Last week: 15)
13. Anaheim Ducks (33-21-12, 78 points)
Rickard Rakell has five goals in his past three games after going pointless in his previous eight. And in doing so he set a new career high in points (54), surpassing last season's total (51).
(Last week: 14)
12. San Jose Sharks (35-22-9, 79 points)
Evander Kane has one goal and four assists in three games since joining the Sharks. If only they could get Joe Thornton back to round out this lineup...
(Last week: 12)
11. Philadelphia Flyers (34-21-11, 79 points)
After going 10-0-2 in their previous 12 games, the Flyers have lost three straight (0-2-1). The good news is, they've built some insurance points with a big run. The bad news is, they would draw the Penguins in the first round if the playoffs started today.
(Last week: 10)
10. Dallas Stars (37-23-5, 79 points)
Jamie Benn snapped an 11-game goal drought by scoring the overtime winner against St. Louis on Saturday, then celebrated by literally snapping his stick over his leg. He made it look so easy too.
(Last week: 11)
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (37-25-4, 78 points)
Before Saturday's 3-2 overtime victory over the Islanders, the Penguins lost three games in a row in regulation. They had lost only three games in regulation in their previous 20 combined.
(Last week: 7)
8. Minnesota Wild (37-22-7, 81 points)
Only one other team is generating fewer 5-on-5 shot attempts than the Wild, and that's the Rangers. Yet here are the Wild sitting in third place in the Central Division and averaging 3.05 goals per game, which ranks 11th.
(Last week: 9)
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (39-21-7, 85 points)
The Maple Leafs are 1-1-2 since Auston Matthews was sidelined with an injury. You don't have to read too deep into their struggles to figure out what's been wrong since they won 13 of their previous 15 games.
(Last week: 6)
6. Washington Capitals (37-21-7, 81 points)
Alex Ovechkin became the sixth player in NHL history to have at least nine 40-goal seasons. And he's two goals away from 600 for his career, which is ridiculous considering he's still just 32 years old.
(Last week: 8)
5. Winnipeg Jets (39-17-9, 87 points)
Patrik Laine has recorded at least two points in seven of his past eight games. That's unreal. He has 10 goals and six assists over that stretch.
(Last week: 5)
4. Vegas Golden Knights (42-18-5, 89 points)
Note to the Golden Knights: Avoid the Kings in the playoffs.
(Last week: 1)
3. Boston Bruins (40-15-8, 88 points)
Charlie McAvoy is joining Patrice Bergeron on the injury list, but if there's one team that can overcome them and has in the past, it's the Bruins. David Krejci stepping up by netting a hat trick is just the latest example of that.
(Last week: 4)
2. Nashville Predators (42-14-9, 93 points)
The Predators won all four games of their road trip, and came behind in each of them to extend their winning streak to eight. Can anybody stop them in the West?
(Last week: 3)
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (45-17-4, 94 points)
The Lightning have picked up 13 out of a possible 14 points over their last seven games, and will play the next seven at home, where they are 22-6-2 compared to 23-11-2 on the road. Steven Stamkos had a career-high five points in a 7-6 shootout win over Philadelphia on Saturday, which was the first of an eight-game homestand.
(Last week: 2)