NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes take top spot; Beware of Lightning

In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings the Hurricanes climb to the top spot thanks to a stretch run that included a 13-game point streak that was only snapped on Saturday.

They enter their regular season finale against Nashville on Monday tied with Vegas for the most points in the league and a fighting chance to win their first ever Presidents’ Trophy. But it is the big trophy at the end of the playoffs that Carolina fans should be most excited about, because their team has as good a chance as any to win it all.

The Hurricanes have been building something special for a few years now, and all of the pieces seem to be coming together. Thanks to a deep collection of talented (and young) forwards, one of the league’s best defensive groups, a three-headed monster of goalies, and a coach of the year candidate, Carolina has consistently been one of the league’s best teams all season.

They take the top spot this week, followed closely by the Golden Knights, Avalanche, and Lightning.

Where does your team rank in this week’s NHL Power Rankings?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Carolina Hurricanes. As good, deep, and balanced as any other team in the league.

2. Vegas Golden Knights. They have been a conference finalist in two of their first three seasons in the league and could very well find themselves in the final four again in their fourth season. A remarkable start to the franchise.

3. Colorado Avalanche. Philipp Grubauer and the goaltending situation will be their big X-Factor in the playoffs.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning. Seems like they have been overlooked a little lately. Do not let that happen. The top team in the league for six years now and they have not been playing with a full lineup the past couple of weeks. That should change in the playoffs. Watch out then.

5. Toronto Maple Leafs. Not going to put Stanley Cup or bust expectations on them (because that is always dumb), but the Maple Leafs have to win a round, maybe two, for this season to be anything close to a success. Another first round exit would be a massive failure.

6. Florida Panthers. They are playing great going into the playoffs. That opening round matchup against Tampa Bay is going to be one of the must-see series of the first round.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins. This has turned out to be one of the deepest teams of the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin era.

8. Minnesota Wild. Kirill Kaprizov has more than lived up to the hype, and he is turning the Wild into what should be a tough playoff matchup.

9. Boston Bruins. There was always an expectation that Taylor Hall would rediscover his game in a better situation, but he may have exceeded that expectation in Boston so far.

10. Washington Capitals. This is one banged up team going into the playoffs. That is going to be the biggest concern. That and the goaltending situation.

[Your 2020-21 NHL on NBC TV schedule]

11. Edmonton Oilers. It does not matter who you are playing against, 100 points in 53 games is incredible. Connor McDavid is the most dominant player in hockey.

12. New York Islanders. They were able to “flip the switch” in the playoffs a year ago after a sluggish end to the regular season. Can they do that again? They are going to have to find a way.

13. Nashville Predators. An incredible turnaround over the past month-and-a-half, and they have their goaltending to thank for it.

14. St. Louis Blues. They are in the playoffs, but I do not feel great about their chances.

15. Calgary Flames. They are playing better right now than two of the four teams going to the playoffs in the North. Too little, too late.

16. Montreal Canadiens. Do you remember when Josh Anderson had nine goals in his first 13 games? He has seven in the next 38 games.

17. New York Rangers. The front office overhaul does not make much sense right now. Strange timing, strange decision making.

[Related: Rangers fire Jeff Gorton, John Davidson in stunning move]

18. Winnipeg Jets. Talk about backing into the playoffs at the moment. Their potential first round matchups are Edmonton or Toronto. Neither one seems encouraging given the way this team is playing.

19. Dallas Stars. This season is going to be a big what if. What if Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov were healthy. What if they could have had just a little bit more luck in overtime and the shootout.

20. Chicago Blackhawks. Alex DeBrincat bouncing back is a great sign. An incredible season for him.

21. Ottawa Senators. A very impressive finish for a young team finding its confidence. They have salary cap space to play with this offseason.

22. New Jersey Devils. Another team with some impressive young players and a lot of salary cap space at their disposal this offseason.

23. Philadelphia Flyers. So much of the future is riding on Carter Hart being better than he is this season.

24. Arizona Coyotes. They need some difference makers. A superstar. Somebody that can take over and change a game. Those players are not easy to find, though.

25. Los Angeles Kings. Anze Kopitar hit the 1,000 point mark. Simply one of the best players of his era. 

26. Detroit Red Wings. Their leading point producer this season (Filip Hronek, 26 points) did not score a single goal against a goalie this season. His two goals were empty net goals.

27. San Jose Sharks. Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl had strong seasons. The rest of the team is a long way from contending again.

28. Vancouver Canucks. They are too top heavy and the salary cap situation is not going to make that an easy fix.

29. Columbus Blue Jackets. The John Tortorella era was the by far the most successful stretch for this franchise. They should expect better than that, though.

[Related: John Tortorella, Blue Jackets mutually agree to part ways]

30. Buffalo Sabres. Michael Houser was a nice bright spot in an otherwise dismal season.

31. Anaheim Ducks. No offense, no defense, and even John Gibson has looked ordinary behind this team the past couple of seasons.

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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