There is not a lot of movement up top but the Toronto Maple Leafs have replaced the New York Islanders in the fifth spot as the Islanders have dropped to eighth.
Three of the five best teams in the NHL reside in the Atlantic Division and that is going to make for an outstanding first two rounds of the NHL playoffs. As it stands right now, Boston will meet Toronto with the winner likely playing Tampa Bay, the best team in the NHL.
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1. Tampa Bay
Record: 50-12-4 (2-1-0)
Last Week 1
The Lightning won two-of-three this week as they lost to Boston but sandwiched wins around the Rangers and Ottawa. This week they take on Winnipeg, Minnesota and Detroit at home before traveling to Toronto to play the Maple Leafs. Toronto is one of the few teams that have given the Lightning trouble this season and that should be an outstanding game. The Lightning have the NHL’s top point-getter in Nikita Kucherov with 106 points.
Record: 41-18-7 (2-2-0)
Last Week 2
The Flames split the week, defeating the Islanders and New Jersey on the road but losing to Minnesota and Toronto at home. The Flames are in Vegas and Arizona to start the week and finish it at home to Vegas once again. Johnny Gaudreau is in a goal-scoring slump with only one goal in his last 16 games. Elias Lindholm is having a career year with 72 points in 66 games. His previous best was 45, set two seasons ago.
Record: 39-17-9 (3-0-0)
Last Week 3
The Bruins defeated San Jose, Tampa Bay and New Jersey and solidified their number three ranking, closing in on Calgary. They are home to Carolina, Florida and Ottawa and then travel to Pittsburgh to play the Penguins. Brad Marchand is having an outstanding fantasy season with 27 goals and 76 points as well as 88 penalty minutes and a plus-16 rating. Jake DeBrusk has 21 goals in 56 games this season.
4. San Jose
Record: 39-19-8 (2-1-0)
Last Week 4
The Sharks lost to start the week as Boston beat them but then followed up with a couple of wins against Colorado and Chicago. San Jose is home to Montreal and St. Louis and then head to the Midwest to play Minnesota. Gustav Nyquist has been moved up the depth chart and is seeing first line minutes with Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture. Brendan Dillon leads with a plus-22 and Timo Meier is second with a plus-16.
Record: 41-21-4 (3-1-0)
Last Week 6
The Maple Leafs lost to the Islanders in New York but defeated Edmonton and Buffalo at home before defeating Calgary on Monday. This week they continue on their Western Canada swing with games against Vancouver and Edmonton and return home Monday for a tilt against Tampa Bay. Frederik Andersen continues to excel in net and is definitely in the Vezina Trophy talk. Zach Hyman set a career mark in goals as he has 16. Tyler Ennis had the first hat trick of his NHL career Monday.
Record: 38-21-7 (3-0-0)
Last Week 9
The Capitals beat Ottawa, the Islanders and Rangers in a perfect week. This week Washington faces Philadelphia on the road and New Jersey and Winnipeg at home. Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 45 while T.J. Oshie is second on the team with 21. Michal Kempny was a great acquisition at last year’s trade deadline and it has continued this season as he leads the team with a plus-25.
Record: 39-22-4 (2-1-0)
Last Week 8
The Jets beat Nashville and Columbus after starting the week with a loss to Minnesota. They continue on the road this week with games in Tampa Bay, Carolina and Washington. They seem to be snapping out of their funk but have a trio of tough games this week that could make them or break them. Kevin Hayes has three points in three games with all coming in the Nashville game.
8. New York Islanders
Record: 37-21-7 (1-3-0)
Last Week 5
The Islanders lost Calgary, Washington and Philadelphia and beat Toronto in the return of John Tavares to the Island. They face the Senators in a home-and-home series this week as well as Philadelphia and Columbus at home. They have lost their spot atop the Metropolitan Division as the Capitals have been hot and the Islanders have not. Andrew Ladd has assists in all three games since his return from injury that kept him out of action three-and-a-half months.
Record: 38-25-5 (1-2-0)
Last Week 7
The Predators lost to St. Louis and Winnipeg to start the week but a shootout win over Minnesota partially salvaged the seven days. Nashville is home to the Wild to complete the home-and-home series and then face Carolina. The Predators seem to be treading water at this time but I still like their chances to make the Cup final as they seem to be under the radar at this time. Nick Bonino is a plus-26 for the Predators this season. He has also chipped in nicely with 15 goals and 29 points.
Record: 34-22-9 (2-0-1)
Last Week 11
The Penguins sandwiched wins over Columbus and Montreal around an overtime loss to Buffalo. They play Florida and Boston at home this week and play the Blue Jackets twice this week, once at home and once in Columbus. They are hurting on the blueline with Kris Letang, Olli Maatta and Brian Dumoulin out of action but the good news is that Letang and Maatta have started skating again. Jake Guentzel leads with 31 goals.