NHL Power Rankings: Lightning leap to top
It’s time for another update of the NHL Power Rankings!
For the most part, the cream has risen to the top over the last month of action. But there are a couple of surprise teams that the jury is still out on in terms of Stanley Cup worthiness.
We rank the league’s Top 10 clubs below.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (Prev. Rank: 3)
The reigning champions of the NHL look well on their way to a potential title defense. The Lightning have won five in a row and have lost just eight games all season.
Defenseman Victor Hedman is considered the frontrunner for the Norris Trophy, likewise goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy in the Vezina Trophy race.
2. Vegas Golden Knights (Prev. Rank: 2)
The Golden Knights have won six of their last seven and sit atop the West division.
Right wing Mark Stone has played no small part in Vegas’ success, tallying six goals and four assists in this span.
3. Carolina Hurricanes (Prev. Rank: 5)
The Hurricanes have cooled off some since winning eight in a row between Feb. 27 and March 14, dropping three of their last four games. But they’re still fourth in the NHL in goal differential at +26.
Carolina’s offense can come from anywhere; Sebastian Aho, Vincent Trocheck, and Nino Niederreiter share the team lead in goals at 13 apiece.
4. Washington Capitals (Prev. Rank: 10)
The Capitals have shaken off a 9-5-4 start by going 11-2-0 in their last 13 tilts.
Alex Ovechkin – Washington’s leader in goals (14) – had a five-game scoring streak interrupted by the New York Rangers when his team was last in action on Saturday.
5. Colorado Avalanche (Prev. Rank: 7)
The Avalanche won seven in a row prior to Tuesday night’s upset defeat to the Arizona Coyotes.
Right wing Mikko Rantanen has been on fire in March, notching 11 goals and nine assists.
6. New York Islanders (Prev. Rank: NR)
The Islanders have jumped back into the power rankings after taking 11 of their last 13 contests. Only the Lightning have more points than New York (46) at this juncture.
No matter who the Isles throw in net, whether it’s reliable veteran Semyon Varlamov (13-6-3, 2.17 GAA, .923 save %) or sensational rookie Ilya Sorokin (8-2-1, 1.97 GAA, .922 save %), they get results.
7. Florida Panthers (Prev. Rank: 6)
The Panthers, 20-8-4 on the year, remain a tricky team to get a read on.
They’re 2-3-2 combined against Tampa and Carolina this year and 18-5-2 against the rest of their division, who all look like non-playoff teams.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs (Prev. Rank: 1)
The Maple Leafs are in a serious rut at the moment, having lost six of their last eight contests.
Starting netminder Frederik Andersen has played poorly in March, producing a .876 save % through seven games.
9. Boston Bruins (Prev. Rank: 4)
The Bruins are no offensive dynamo (2.68 goals per game, 21st in the NHL), but even by their standards, they’ve struggled to generate goals lately.
Boston has potted just 12 goals in their last seven games, going 3-4 in that span.
10. Edmonton Oilers (Prev. Rank: NR)
Sitting in seventh in goal differential at +19 are the Oilers, winners of seven of their last nine. Connor McDavid has been a major contributor to that figure, as he leads the NHL in both goals (21) and points (60).
Interestingly, Edmonton has played just one overtime game all year, a win over Toronto on Jan. 30.
Bubble Teams: Minnesota Wild (Prev. Rank: NR), Winnipeg Jets (Prev. Rank: Bubble)