In this week’s NHL Power Rankings the Tampa Bay Lightning climb back to the top spot thanks in part to yet another 10-game winning streak.
Yes. Another 10-game winning streak.
Their current streak entering play on Monday is their second 10-game winning streak since Dec. 22. During that time they are 22-2-1, have 10 more points than any other team in the league, and own a .900 points percentage. No other team in the league has a points percentage better than .762 during that stretch.
What makes this particular run even more impressive is that they have recently been hit hard by injuries with Ryan McDonagh, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Anthony Cirelli all missing some time in recent games, while each of their past seven wins have come against teams currently in a playoff spot. That includes two wins against a Pittsburgh team that has the second-best record in the league since the middle of December.
As if that is not enough, they went out on Sunday and added Blake Coleman from the New Jersey Devils, giving them another 20-goal scorer, an outstanding penalty killer, and steal against the salary cap through next season.
They are easily in the top spot entering the week.
Where does every other team sit?
To the rankings!
1. Tampa Bay Lightning. They paid a lot to get Blake Coleman but if he helps them bring the Stanley Cup back to Tampa Bay no one is going to care.
2. Boston Bruins. The race between the Lightning and Bruins for the top spot in the East — and the Presidents’ Trophy — is going to be great. They play each other twice during a four-game stretch in early March.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins. Jim Rutherford finally acquired Jason Zucker, and he should be a great fit for both this season and future seasons.
4. Colorado Avalanche. The superstars at the top of the lineup are the foundation, while the added scoring depth over the summer is what makes them a Stanley Cup contender. All of the salary cap space they have to play with could help put them over the top.
5. Washington Capitals. Their lead in the division is quickly disappearing, but they still have three games remaining against the team they are competing with (Pittsburgh).
6. Dallas Stars. They enter the week tied for first place in the Central Division with St. Louis, and while Colorado is just two points back with two games still in hand, they have made this a three-team race.
7. New York Islanders. A defenseman may not have been my first choice for their trade deadline acquisition, but they really did need a replacement for Adam Pelech on the blue line. Andy Greene fits that. Now, go get a forward that can score.
8. Edmonton Oilers. It would be really something if, after Connor McDavid lost out on winning the MVP award the past two years because his team was not any good, that the Oilers return to the playoffs this year and McDavid again loses the MVP, this to his teammate, Leon Draisaitl.
9. Philadelphia Flyers. The Metropolitan Division is insane. The Flyers have one the 10 best records in the league, have won 10 of their past 16 games, and are still probably only about 50-50 shot to make the playoffs right now.
10. Carolina Hurricanes. Everything we just said about the Flyers? Yeah. The same thing applies here.
11. St. Louis Blues. Maybe you think this is too low for the defending champs — who are still one of the top teams in the West, I might add — but they enter the week with just two wins in their past 12 games, and one of those wins was a shootout win over Calgary. They are struggling right now in a big way.
12. Toronto Maple Leafs. Jack Campbell went into Toronto with huge expectations and a ton of pressure on him for a backup goalie, but he has handled it well so far.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets. Maybe the injuries are starting to catch up to them a little bit. Seth Jones is going to be impossible to replace. They have lost five in a row (three in overtime or shootout) and just gave up a point on Sunday to a bad Devils team that is in the process of getting rid of everything that is not nailed to the floor.
14. New York Rangers. They are playing in the wrong division to make a serious playoff push at this point in the season, but they are 11-6-0 in their past 17 games and on a 90-point pace for the season. They are not far away.
15. Vegas Golden Knights. The coaching change has not really changed much in terms of their results. It probably will not until they add to their blue line and get better goaltending.
16. Nashville Predators. They open the week just a point out of a playoff spot with multiple games in hand. They will be a problem for teams if they get in.
17. Vancouver Canucks. There is not a more underrated goalie in the NHL right now than Jacob Markstrom. He may not be one of the elites, but he has been a well above average goalie and stabilizing presence for the Canucks since taking over the job.
18. Minnesota Wild. A coaching change seemed inevitable at some point, but the timing is weird just as the Wild were starting to make a push.
19. Winnipeg Jets. They are sticking with Paul Maurice beyond this season, but with all due respect to him and his job behind the bench the Jets’ ability to stay in the playoff race is entirely on the shoulders of starting goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
20. Florida Panthers. They are trending in the wrong direction, which has to be a massive disappointment given the investment they put into this season.
21. Calgary Flames. Goaltending was probably the biggest question on this team entering the season and, quite honestly, it has been fine. That is what makes their overall performance such a letdown. Everyone else has disappointed.
22. Arizona Coyotes. They are hanging onto a playoff spot by a thread after winning just four out of their past 16 games.
23. Buffalo Sabres. They have won four out of five, and Sunday’s win against Toronto had to be especially satisfying. Not enough to fix the mess this season has become, but it is at least something.
24. Chicago Blackhawks. Honestly can not think of a good reason why this team would not sell players like Robin Lehner and Erik Gustafsson before the trade deadline.
25. Montreal Canadiens. The recent Shea Weber injury timeline has been a roller coaster of emotions and updates.
26. San Jose Sharks. It would be for the best if the Sharks could just pretend this season never happened. Bad, disappointing team and significant injuries to some of the team’s best players. Adding to the misery: Their lottery pick belongs to the Ottawa Senators. Yikes.
27. Anaheim Ducks. The lack of offense on this team is staggering. They desperately need some of their young players to make a big leap next season.
28. New Jersey Devils. Taylor Hall, Andy Greene, and Blake Coleman are already out the door. Who is next?
29. Ottawa Senators. Anthony Duclair was the one pleasant surprise on this team this season and even that has disappeared. He has not scored a goal since Dec. 23, a stretch of more than 20 games entering Monday.
30. Los Angeles Kings. It seems to be a broken record at this point in the season but the Kings are facing a key stage of their rebuild.
31. Detroit Red Wings. Not a stretch to say this is the single worst team of the modern era. Excluding first-year expansion teams it might be one of the worst teams the NHL has ever seen.