Another week of hockey is in the books and, wouldn’t you know it, the Tampa Bay Lightning still reign supreme atop our Power Rankings. The defending Stanley Cup champs have been in that No. 1 spot all season long and they’ll remain there until they provide a reason to believe they’re not the best club in the NHL.
We’re almost to the halfway point of this shortened season and the Bolts are tops in the league in goals per game AND goals allowed per game. They’re also top-five in both power play and penalty kill efficiency, have the league’s second-best points percentage and the best goal differential. Simply put, they’re a juggernaut once again.
A few teams have taken turns threatening Tampa for that top spot in the rankings over the past few months, but none have actually managed to complete the task. This week, the Vegas Golden Knights are back in the No. 2 spot and pushing for the throne. The Knights have won six in a row and eight of their last 10, and they’re hanging right alongside Tampa Bay in the major offensive and defensive statistical categories.
They may not be at the top right now, but there’s plenty of reason to believe they could be the first club to knock Tampa Bay down a peg this season.
They dropped a shootout loss to the Blackhawks over the weekend to snap a win streak but they’ve still won seven of their last eight. That’s enough to keep them in the top spot, where they’ve remained all season.
As of Sunday, the Golden Knights have the best points percentage (.786) in the league standings. Speaking of which…can we start normalizing the use of points percentage in standings, especially during a wacky, pandemic-shortened season?
Two straight losses against the Canucks? Not ideal. That being said, they were the better team for most of the second game and there’s no real reason to panic…yet.
The Canes continue to find success and have now won five in a row. They’ve looked great throughout this year but I do wonder if they’d be this high if it weren’t for a VERY top-heavy division. Still, you have to give them credit for winning games they should win.
Here they are…the Florida Panthers…in the top five. Did I think it would happen this season? No. Do I buy them as legitimate contenders? Not sure yet! But what’s undeniable is that the success they’ve had this season, albeit in that same top-heavy division I mentioned above.
Their offensive attack is infuriatingly hot-and-cold, but that’s the life you live when you rely so heavily on the top line. But Boston is nearing the point where they may need to make decisions on which frustrating forwards they’re willing to ship out of town as part of their quest for upgrades.
They’ve won five in a row, have points in eight of their last 10 and Mat Barzal scored a goal so awesome that I mass-texted it to every contact in my phone. Things are going pretty well on the Island right now.
They’re still one of the most talented and fearsome teams in the league but injuries continue to take a toll and right now it seems like they’re just trying to keep their head above water.
They won six of seven before getting absolutely smoked by the Canadiens over the weekend. I’m still not really buying them as a team that’s worth being scared of (especially with their defensive lapses) but as long as the bottom doesn’t fall out, it seems like they’re chugging toward the playoffs.
I’ve been skeptical of the Caps’ legitimacy this year but they’re on a pretty great run right now: Eight wins in their last 11 games. Not such a great run? Tom Wilson running Brandon Carlo. Seven costly games for that one.
Losing three out of four certainly isn’t great but I’m willing to cut them some slack when two of those losses came to the Golden Knights and they haven’t had more than one day of rest since mid-February.
Last week I praised the Oilers for winning five in a row (and 11 of their last 13) to jump into the clear No. 2 spot in the North Division. Things have not gone great since then…they were outscored 13-1 in their three-game series against Toronto.
This team is just so frustrating. Just when it seems like they might be putting it together consistently, they drop a couple stinkers and leave you doubting again. In related news, they’ve dropped two of three to the Penguins and Capitals.
I’ve been relatively impressed by their ability to string together some wins despite getting crushed by injuries/COVID, even if those wins have come against the California squads. Another good sign: Vladimir Tarasenko is back!
Starting to realize that this season is just one big, constant internal struggle over whether or not the Blackhawks are actually this good.
They’ve won two of their last three (including a 7-1 pumping of the Jets) and are executing better. They’ve got points in four of five games under Dominique Ducharme so maybe they’re turning a corner following a disastrous skid in February? Probably too soon to declare that they’re back, though.
It seems like they’re intent on remaining painfully average, and I don’t know if that’s going to change until the defense gets it together.
Cal Petersen and Jonathan Quick are actually shaping up to be a pretty decent goaltending duo…but is it sustainable? The answer to that probably determines whether they continue climbing or fall back toward the bottom of the rankings.
The offense is coming alive and they’ve won six of eight. If they can keep chipping away at their flaws, they might find themselves in the hunt.
Is it mean to say that the Coyotes are just incredibly uninteresting? They’re pretty much average across the board…not good enough to stand out, but not bad enough to be interesting either. Are they the new Minnesota Wild?
Nothing says “we’re in a great place right now” quite like firing your coach immediately after a 7-3 win.
The good news: The got an emphatic win over the Blue Jackets this weekend. The bad news? It’s just their second win since February 2 (2-8-4). The offense remains painful.
Don’t look now but they’ve won three of four, with all of those games coming against pretty good opponents (Jets and Maple Leafs). Is there optimism in the air?
Should we be worried about Patrik Laine? He’s gone six games without a point and is barely generating at all (13 shots on goal in that span). He’s probably not enjoying Columbus a whole lot right now.
They snapped a five game losing streak on Sunday but the offense continues to be a problem. They’re averaging 1.6 goals per game over their last six contests.
They’ve lost five of their last six and are just bleeding goals all over the place. This team is a mess.
It seems like it’s only a matter of time before the Predators face the music (solid Nashville reference there, thank you) and start to strip away pieces with an eye on a rebuild.
Remember that incredible start that John Gibson had? Well, he’s winless in his last eight starts (0-6-2) and has a .876 save percentage in that span. Yikes.
It was nice to see Jeff Skinner find the back of the net after how poorly things have gone for him this season. Unfortunately, that’s probably not solving any bigger picture problems. The team has dropped seven in a row and is spiraling at an incredible pace…even for Buffalo.
Yes, they’re still terrible but the Sens’ Sickos movement has been one of my favorite things to watch on social media so far this season. All the respect in the world to a fanbase that just embraces the horrible product being put in front of them.
Ottawa and Detroit battling for last place has been quite the ride so far this year.
Published: 2021-03-08 14:55:16
Tags: #NHL #Power #Rankings #Golden #Knights #pushing #top #spot #Panthers #Hurricanes #continue #surge