NHL Power Rankings: Avalanche starting to hit their stride

In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings the Colorado Avalanche make a jump into the top-two thanks to a pretty dominant stretch of games during the month of March.

Colorado is 10-2-3 over its past 15 games, but even that does not fully tell the story of just how good they have been over the past calendar month. They have not only had the second-best goal differential in the league this month (trailing only Pittsburgh), they have been the league’s most dominant team when it comes to tilting the ice and controlling shot attempts, shots, and scoring chances.

From the very beginning of the season the Avalanche were viewed as one of the league’s top Stanley Cup contenders, and now that they are starting to get healthy and closer to a full complement of players they are starting to play like it. They have a trio of All-Stars (Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog) at the top of the lineup, a very deep group of forwards behind them, and what might be the best defense in the entire NHL. As long as they get even average or slightly above average goaltending this team is capable of something special.

They climb to the second spot in this week’s NHL Power Rankings.

Where does your team sit?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Washington Capitals. Bet against Alex Ovechkin in the goal scoring race if you must, but you could also just save yourself some time and simply flush that money down the toilet.

2. Colorado Avalanche. This might be a wildly crazy hot take, but Cale Makar might end up being the best player on this team in short order. Yes, that includes MacKinnon.

3. Carolina Hurricanes. Dougie Hamilton still plugging along as the completely underappreciated No. 1 defenseman that he is with a point in 14 consecutive games and helping to control every game when he is on the ice.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning. They closed out the week with back-to-back losses but I do not worry about this team and you should not either. They are still a force.

5. Vegas Golden Knights. Just a hunch but I could see this team figuring out a way to make another big addition before the trade deadline. Yeah, I know. The salary cap. When has that ever stopped them?

6. Minnesota Wild. Through 12 games they were a completely forgettable 6-6-0. Since then they are 15-4-1. They have a new star (Kirill Kaprizov), a good defense, and two outstanding goalies. Good combination.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins. Even with five of their top-nine forwards injured they are still finding ways to win a lot of games.

8. New York Islanders. Lou Lamoriello has been very patient when it comes to retooling this roster. How active will he be at the trade deadline this season?

9. Florida Panthers. The Aaron Ekblad injury is brutal news for both him and the team. He is having a fantastic season.

10. Toronto Maple Leafs. The Frederik Andersen situation has to be a concern. Jack Campbell is playing great for now, but he is not going to stay unbeaten forever.

[Your 2020-21 NHL On NBC TV Schedule]

11. Edmonton Oilers. Tyson Barrie made a smart decision to sign here and stack up a bunch of points with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

12. Winnipeg Jets. With these forwards and goaltenders they are going to be a tough team to deal with in the playoffs.

13. Boston Bruins. They simply can not score goals right now. There is nothing else to say about them at the moment.

14. Nashville Predators. Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros started stopping everything and the Predators played their way back into playoff contention.

15. Arizona Coyotes. Not sure if you have noticed, but the Coyotes start the week just one point back of the St. Louis Blues for a playoff spot in the West Division

16. Montreal Canadiens. With Eric Staal and presumably Cole Caufield on the way they are getting even more help at forward.

[Related: Canadiens acquire Eric Staal from Sabres]

17. New York Rangers. Mika Zibanejad just needed a couple of games against the Philadelphia Flyers to turn his season around.

18. St. Louis Blues. You can not lose back-to-back games to the Anaheim Ducks when you are competing for a playoff spot.

19. Chicago Blackhawks. They have only won four games in the month of March and their upcoming schedule features two against a great Carolina team and three games against Nashville and Dallas, teams they will be competing with for a playoff spot. Seems like a big stretch for their season.

20. Philadelphia Flyers. They allowed at least four goals on 10 of their first 15 games in the month of March. That is not a winning formula.

21. Vancouver Canucks. Every team is streaky to a certain degree, but this team is taking it to an extreme this season.

22. Calgary Flames. When you are trying to make up ground in the playoff race you can not punt two games against the Ottawa Senators.

23. Dallas Stars. Their reason for optimism is the fact they have so many games in hand on their competition and they have a bunch of upcoming games against the teams they are chasing. There is an opportunity to make up ground. If they can win, that is.

24. New Jersey Devils. Mackenzie Blackwood showed on Sunday why he is such a big part of the Devils’ future.

25. Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets have not won a game in regulation since March 4, a stretch of 11 games. The two games against the Detroit Red Wings this weekend were ugly.

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2020-21 NHL Trade Tracker]

26. Los Angeles Kings. It will be interesting to see if they move a veteran before the trade deadline. Looking at you, Dustin Brown.

27. Ottawa Senators. They open the week on a six-game point streak (nine out of 12 points) that has seen them collect seven out of eight points in four games against Calgary and Toronto. They can be a thorn for teams.

28. San Jose Sharks. It is stunning how quickly Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson declined.

29. Detroit Red Wings. Filip Hronek still leads the team in points. He has not scored a goal against a goalie this season (his only two goals are empty net goals).

30. Anaheim Ducks. They have won just seven of their past 29 games, and only three of those wins have come in regulation.

31. Buffalo Sabres. It is really difficult to go 17 consecutive games without winning even one of them.

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.

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