NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes, Islanders climb rankings with winning streaks

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In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning reclaim the top spot, but they are getting a major push from two other contenders in Carolina and the Islanders.

The Hurricanes make a climb back to the second spot thanks to an eight-game winning streak, while the Islanders move into the NHL Power Rankings top-three thanks to a nine-game winning streak (as part of a 12-game point streak).

Elsewhere around the league Florida continues its surprising start, while the Penguins and Wild get back into the top-10 thanks to their recent stretch of play.

On the other side of the spectrum, the Maple Leafs hit their first slump of the season as the North Division gets more competitive and the Canadiens continue to slump.

Where does your team sit in our NHL Power Rankings?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Tampa Bay Lightning. The defending champions have the league’s best points percentage, score the most goals per game, and are a top-four team in goals against per game, on the power play, and on the penalty kill. Oh, and they are also 9-2-1 in their past 12 games including a 3-1-0 mark during that stretch against this week’s No. 2 team.

2. Carolina Hurricanes. They enter the week on an eight-game winning streak and in a back-and-forth race with Tampa for the NHL’s top spot. Consider them one of the top Cup contenders this season. They could win the whole thing.

3. New York Islanders. They are on their yearly run where they look completely unbeatable. It is now a 12-game point streak (and a nine-game winning streak) after Sunday’s shootout win. Since Feb. 1 they are 1-3-1 against Pittsburgh and 16-0-0 against the rest of the division.

4. Florida Panthers. Patric Hornqvist and Carter Verhaeghe have been two of the NHL’s best offseason pickups.

5. Vegas Golden Knights. Mark Stone has 14 points over his past seven games. He is as good as it gets on the wing in the NHL right now.

6. Washington Capitals. The top teams in the East are starting to separate themselves and the Capitals, to the surprise of no one, are one of the teams in that group. The wild thing is they are doing this with sub-par goaltending. If that turns around? Look out.

7. Minnesota Wild. Thanks to Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, Jordan Greenway, and Kaapo Kahkonen the Wild are now one of the league’s most exciting teams. That is a sentence that has not been said many times (if ever) over the existence of the franchise.

[Your 2020-21 NHL On NBC TV Schedule]

8. Pittsburgh Penguins. They are starting to get on a roll and finding balance throughout their lineup. Do you know who has very quietly been a strong addition? Cody Ceci on their defense.

9. Toronto Maple Leafs. Suddenly the North Division is starting to get a little bit interesting.

10. Colorado Avalanche. The record is not what they expected at this point, but there are signs this team is starting to flip the switch. This looks like a team that is ready to get on a roll.

11. Boston Bruins. They need to find some consistence and some scoring depth. The top line is great, it can not do everything.

12. Winnipeg Jets. Thanks to winning two out of three against Toronto this week they are right in the middle of the North Division race.

13. Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are like something out of a video game. But is there enough help around them? That will be the big question for how much this team can win this season.

14. St. Louis Blues. Vladimir Tarasenko is back, but they are still pretty banged up. The biggest key here is still getting their top players back.

15. Calgary Flames. Darryl Sutter is back, and he might help get them back into a playoff position.

16. Chicago Blackhawks. As Kevin Lankinen‘s numbers start to regress, the wins are starting to become less frequent. Still a very flawed, even if overachieving, team here.

17. Philadelphia Flyers. The defense and goaltending need to be better than they have been lately. Since the start of February they are 3-7-2 against teams that are not Buffalo.

[Defense, goaltending holding Flyers back right now]

18. Montreal Canadiens. Such a promising start and such disappointment since them. At least Tyler Toffoli has been great.

19. Vancouver Canucks. Thanks in large part to some great play from Thatcher Demko in goal they are finally starting to win some games. It still might not be enough to get back into serious playoff contention.

20. New York Rangers. Adam Fox is going to be such a tremendous player for such a long time. He is quickly emerging as one of the most significant core players of this rebuild and roster.

21. Arizona Coyotes. Even with good goaltending they are struggling to keep pace in the West Division playoff race.

22. San Jose Sharks. A three-game winning streak against a banged up Blues team and a bad Ducks team is a nice way to build some confidence and momentum. Now they have to build on it.

23. Los Angeles Kings. They are trying to hang around in the playoff race, but their two games against Colorado this weekend showed just how far away they actually are.

24. Columbus Blue Jackets. The Patrik Laine acquisition created a lot of questions as to how it would work out. The results so far have been very mixed to say the least.

25. Dallas Stars. Injuries have added up and given them quite a mountain to climb to get back into playoff contention.

26. Nashville Predators. Filip Forsberg has been great, but if he does not produce offense nobody on this roster is.

[Sabres captain Jack Eichel out for the ‘foreseeable future’]

27. Ottawa Senators. They play hard and you can see real progress with the young players on the roster. There is something to build on here.

28. New Jersey Devils. There just is not enough offense here, especially when you take Nico Hischier out of the lineup for most of the season.

29. Detroit Red Wings. Their leading point producer through 29 games is a defenseman (Filip Hronek) that has scored zero goals this season. He leads the team with 15 points.

30.  Anaheim Ducks. They have two regulation wins in their past 22 games. There is just not much else to say about this team.

31. Buffalo Sabres. The division alignment and schedule have done them no favors this season, and it is probably making their season look worse than it would in a normal year. But this is still not a competitive hockey team.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.