The Predators returned to the top spot this week and Buffalo, on the heels of a nine-game winning streak, are in the top-five (at number four) for the first time all season. The Bruins dropped to ninth this week but the reason is that teams have passed them rather than their performance.
It was a big jump for Washington this week as well as they were 4-0-0 in the last seven days.
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Record: 17-6-1 (2-1-0)
Last Week 2
It should have been a perfect week for the Predators as they faced St. Louis twice as well as Anaheim, not exactly the class of the NHL this season. But they split with the Blues, losing on the road 6-2 before beating the Ducks. The Predators are home for all four games this week as they face Colorado, Arizona, Chicago and the red-hot Buffalo Sabres. The Predators are well-balanced with excellent goaltending and the best set of top-four blueliners in the NHL and that bodes well for a long playoff run in the spring.
2. Tampa Bay
Record: 17-6-1 (3-0-0)
Last Week 3
The Lightning were perfect last week as they beat Florida, Chicago and New Jersey at home, just like they were expected to. This week they continue at home, playing Anaheim and Buffalo and then going on the road to Florida and New Jersey. Louis Domingue has been carrying the load in net with the injury to Andrei Vasilevskiy but look for Edward Pasquale to get his first start this week. Nikita Kucherov has two goals and 12 points in his six-game scoring streak.
Record: 17-8-0 (2-2-0)
Last Week 1
The Maple Leafs split the week as the road warriors lost both away from home, to Carolina and Columbus, while knocking off the Flyers and Boston at home. This should be an interesting week in Leafland as Auston Matthews is expected back and there will be closure on the William Nylander saga. The Maple Leafs take on San Jose and Minnesota this week.
Record: 16-6-2 (3-0-0)
Last Week 8
The Sabres were red-hot but are now white-hot as they won all three games this week, beating Philadelphia and Montreal at home and Detroit on the road. They are on a nine-game winning streak and take on San Jose, Tampa Bay, Florida and Nashville. It should be a great test for the young team. Rasmus Dahlin is coming into his own as he has two goals and 13 points in 24 games including six points in his last six contests.
Record: 13-7-2 (1-2-0)
Last Week 4
The Jets were on the road this week and lost to Calgary and Minnesota before finally defeating St. Louis. This week they are home to Pittsburgh and Chicago and then go back on the road to play New Jersey and the Rangers. Patrik Laine had a five-goal game against the Blues and Kyle Connor continues to be an underrated star as he piles up the points no matter who he plays with.
Last Week 6
The Wild got things back on track as they won a pair of home games against Ottawa and Winnipeg. The Wild sandwich home games against Arizona and Toronto around a road game in Columbus this week. Matt Dumba has 10 goals in 23 games with four coming on the power play. He has been a stud on the blueline offensively for the Wild and the cost of Alex Tuch and Erik Haula to Vegas to protect him in the expansion draft last season, may have been a good move.
Record: 13-6-4 (3-0-0)
Last Week 7
The Avalanche had a strong week as they won on the road against the Kings and Arizona and returned home to beat Dallas. They have a tough matchup in Nashville Wednesday and then return home to face Pittsburgh and St. Louis before playing the Red Wings in Detroit. The top line of Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog has pushed the comeback season of Carl Soderberg to the sidelines. Soderberg has seven goals and 15 points in 23 games after accumulating only 51 over the previous two seasons.
Record: 14-7-3 (4-0-0)
Last Week 13
It was a perfect week for the Capitals as they beat Chicago, Detroit, the Rangers and Islanders. Washington has won seven of their last eight games to move into first place in the Metropolitan Division. They play only twice this week and both are at home as New Jersey and Anaheim visit. Braden Holtby has been a stud of late, winning his last four games and giving up only four goals on 126 shots. After a poor 13 months in the regular season, perhaps Holtby is back in form.
Record: 13-7-4 (2-1-1)
Last Week 5
Boston lost in overtime to Detroit and then defeated Pittsburgh and Montreal before losing on Monday to Toronto. This week they play the Islanders and Detroit at home. The Bruins are missing Patrice Bergeron who is still out with a rib and sternoclavicular injury, and Zdeno Chara who is out with an MCL injury. Both are out for at least a month and their veteran presence will be missed.
Record: 14-8-2 (2-1-0)
Last Week 10
Columbus beat Toronto and Detroit this week but lost to Pittsburgh. The Blue Jackets are home to Minnesota this week and on the road against the Islanders. Pierre-Luc Dubois has 21 points in 24 games. Looks like GM Jarmo Kekalainen knew what he was doing when he passed on fellow Finn Jesse Puljujarvi and took Dubois with the third pick in 2015.