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NHL Power Rankings: Competition for Avalanche in West; Bruins keep climbing

NHL Power Rankings

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 26: Boston Bruins center Craig Smith (12) reacts to scoring during a game between the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders on March 26, 2022, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings the Colorado Avalanche keep their hold on the first place spot, while the Boston Bruins continue their climb and approach the top-five of the rankings.

While the Eastern Conference Playoff picture has been set for months, the Western Conference has been a little bit more jumbled with teams still fighting for spots and seeding. The Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Stars are fighting for two spots, with the Golden Knights needing a strong push in the stretch run while also hoping for some help along the way. The big question, though, is if anybody can challenge the Avalanche in the West.

Calgary is looking like the team with the best chance to overtake them given their defense and goaltending, along with the dominance of their top forward duo of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. But do not sleep on the Minnesota Wild. Marc-Andre Fleury’s overall numbers may not be great this season but he is still capable of going on a run and carrying a team, and it only takes one goalie to change a playoff run. Nashville, with Juuse Saros and some monster seasons from Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, and Roman Josi could also cause some havoc.

We take a look at all of that and more in this week’s rankings.

Where does your team sit?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 1). Bet you did not expect to see Nazem Kadri as their leading scorer this season. Combination of Kadri having a career year and some injuries to Colorado’s top players helped get him there, but he has been sensational. As have the Avalanche as a whole.

2. Florida Panthers (LW: 4). Their defensive additions at the trade deadline are curious, but this offense is the best in the NHL. By a pretty significant margin.

3. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 3). They are still probably the most complete team in the Eastern Conference, even if they have slumped a bit over the past two weeks, losing four out of their past six games.

4. Calgary Flames (LW: 5). Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk might be the best duo in the league this season. They are both top-eight scorers, and with them on the ice during 5-on-5 play the Flames are outscoring teams by a 69-25 margin in 828 minutes of hockey. Insane numbers. Very nice.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 3). Their offense is in a bit of a funk, but that will not last long. There is too much talent here.

6. Boston Bruins (LW: 7). You do not want to play this team right now. In the regular season or the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Do not sleep on them.

[Related: It is time to start paying real attention to the Boston Bruins]

7. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 6). They followed their worst game of the season on Friday by scoring 11 goals on Sunday. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are still dominant, dominant players.

8. New York Rangers (LW: 8). They will go as far as Igor Shesterkin will take them. He is capable of taking them very far.

9. Minnesota Wild (LW: 11). Thanks to a six-game winning streak and an 8-1-1 stretch over their past 10 games the Wild look like they are back on track. Curious to see how Marc-Andre Fleury plays behind a better team this season.

10. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 9). The goaltending situation makes then a total wild card. They could beat anybody with their overall talent, and lose to anybody because of their goaltending.

11. Washington Capitals (LW: 10). If they played in the Western Conference they would be a top-three or four team over there and be a legitimate contender to go on a serious run in the playoffs. Because they play in the Eastern Conference where almost all of the best teams in the league play they are almost an afterthought right now.

12. Nashville Predators (LW: 13). Roman Josi is having a season for the ages for the Predators. At the very least he is going to be top-two in the Norris Trophy voting.

13. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 14). Getting Philip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson back has been a nice lift. This is a good team, and if Quinton Byfield can build off of his three-point game earlier this week that would be an even bigger lift.

14. St. Louis Blues (LW: 12). They have not had a great month of March, going just 3-6-3 in the 12 games entering play on Monday.

15. Dallas Stars (LW: 16). They missed the playoffs a year ago in large part because they were so bad in games decided in overtime or a shootout. It is a complete 180 this season, where their 13-3 record in games decided beyond regulation is going to be a big reason they make the playoffs.

16. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 15). They are going to have to hold off Vegas for a playoff spot. Can they do that? They better.

17. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 17). What a story it would be if Evgenii Dadonov carries them to a playoff spot after they tried to trade him at the NHL Trade Deadline. He is trying his best to do that right now.

[Related: After trying to trade him, Golden Knights getting bailed out by Evgenii Dadonov]

18. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 20). Playing their best hockey of the season when they have pretty much no chance to make the playoffs. They still need more on defense, but expectations should be there for the playoffs next season.

19. New York Islanders (LW: 19). That 0-8-3 stretch in November and early December really did determine their season.

20. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 18). They have overachieved for most of the season but are struggling as of late.

21. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 21). They have a very interesting offseason ahead of them. They have looked much better with Bruce Boudreau as their coach, but some trades need to be made.

22. San Jose Sharks (LW: 22). They have been pretty good ever since Erik Karlsson returned to the lineup.

23. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 26). Not sure it means anything for next season, but this team is playing well right now and not quitting on the season.

[Related: Roundtable: Reviewing NHL trade deadline, best First Round playoff series]

24. Montreal Canadiens (LW: 25). I want to see Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki for a full season with Martin St. Louis as their head coach.

25. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 23). They have lost nine games in a row and 12 out of their past 14 games. Disappointing given how promising their start was this season.

26. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 24). The young talent and salary cap situation makes it look like this team is close to taking a big step, but their actual play on the ice lately makes it seem like they are still pretty far away.

27. New Jersey Devils (LW: 27). The players they need to be building blocks are proving to be just that. Now comes the tricky part of building around them.

28. Chicago Blackhawks (LW: 28). They need to fully commit to the rebuild and break up the core. Those contracts will be difficult to move though.

29. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 29). Some lean years look to be on the horizon here.

30. Ottawa Senators (LW: 30). It is really difficult to see how they will make progress in this division.

31. Seattle Kraken (LW: 32). You wonder how many expansion draft choices they are second guessing this season.

32. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 31). Clayton Keller’s season has been an awesome development. He either stays as a core player, or he boosted his trade value for the continued rebuild.