Legacy: NHL Power Rankings Week 18
By Kevin Mejia
Biggest Jump: Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, 5
Biggest Drop: Florida Panthers, 6
- Boston Bruins (32-10-12) (UP 1) – And all of a sudden, the Bruins are feeling themselves once again. The team is firing on all cylinders during their 4-game win streak as they’ve outplayed their opponents. In their last 2 games, the offense and defense have finessed their ways all game. The Bruins outscored opposing teams 10-1 in their last 2. David Pastrňák leads the B’s with 38 goals and 37 dimes. They will not be stopped. Their next worthy opponent is the Blackhawks, as they play tonight.
- Pittsburgh Penguins (33-14-5) (UP 1) – Back to back 4-3 wins over Metropolitan rivals Philadelphia and D.C. put the Pens within striking distance of the Caps for first in the division. Both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby put up 4 points in the 2 games. The Captain scored a game-winner in overtime against the Flyers after a closely contested 3rd period. Against the Caps, the Pens hung on to win after a late push from the D.C. squad. The Penguins have a date with the Bolts tomorrow.
- Washington Capitals (36-13-5) (DOWN 2) – Appreciate greatness. Alex Ovechkin recorded his 4th hat trick this season last night to lead the Caps to a comeback win against the Kings. Ovechkin scored the natural hat trick in a whopping 4 minutes and 24 seconds. John Carlson has also been solid, recording 5 points in his last 5. A 3-point performance against the Kings certainly helps his cause. The Caps need to be a tad more consistent to be their best selves. They get Philly Saturday night.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (33-15-5) (NO MOVEMENT) – It’s a sight to behold when a team is clicking on all levels, some may even call it scary. The reincarnated Lightning have won 4 in a row after taking a hard OT loss to Dallas. Nikita Kucherov has found his touch with 63 points this season, including this rip of a backhand against the Sharks. A true test approaches them tomorrow evening, as they welcome the Pens to Amalie Arena. Andrei Vasilevskiy is heating up at the right time.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (29-16-9) (UP 3) – Everyone… say it with me now… ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!!! After recording a shutout last night against the Panthers, the rookie goalie has posted a .935 save percent since the All-Star break in 3 games. The surrounding talent like Pierre-Luc Dubois and Zach Werenski have helped Merzlikins win games. Werenski scored the OTGWG last night against the Panthers for the only goal of the game. The Blue Jackets get Detroit Friday before facing the Avs Saturday night.
- St. Louis Blues (32-14-8) (UP 1) – After hosting the party, St. Louis has needed some time to recover before last night’s show versus Carolina. A bumpy 2-3-0 start to the 2nd half of the season does show some cause for concern, but the Blues will remain steady. Even with their 2 wins, the Blues have given up 19 goals in their last 5 games. No opponent scored less than 3 in that stretch. That’s not going to be successful in May, and the Blues know it.
- Philadelphia Flyers (29-17-7) (UP 3) – Philadelphia has been killing it since returning from the break. Over 3 games, the offense has scored 12 goals. A 6-goal outburst against the Avalanche certainly helps with the goal total but scoring 3 goals in the other 2 games is phenomenal as well. Offseason acquisition Matt Niskanen has been electric over his last 3, scoring 5 points including a goal against Colorado. The Flyers get a flat Capitals team this Saturday as they look to climb the Metropolitan standings.
- New York Islanders (30-15-6) (DOWN 2) – A team that always sticks around is a pain; the Isles showed patience last night as they recovered against the Stars as Mat Barzal tied the game before Anthony Beauvillier won the game in overtime. Before this, the Isles again showed determination as they tied a game against the Canucks with 25.1 seconds to go. However, the Islanders would lose that game in overtime. Head coach Barry Trotz has done wonders with this team and deserves praise. The Isles head to Tampa Saturday.
- Dallas Stars (30-18-5) (UP 5) – A solid 3-1-1 record out of the All-Star break has put the Stars comfortably in 2nd place of the Central division. Wins versus Tampa, New Jersey, and New York (Rangers) have been offset with a regulation loss to Toronto, which felt like a playoff game, and an OTL to the Islanders last night. Beating the Bolts was no easy task, they tied it late before Jamie Benn scored the OT winner. A little more consistency and this Stars team could take the Central.
- Colorado Avalanche (29-16-6) (DOWN 1) – Rocky Mountains have their highs and lows. Well, that is 2 games where either the Avs or their opponent nets 6 goals. Out of the gate, the Flyers melted the Avs away with a 6-goal performance. In response, out of anger and spite, the Avalanche trounced the Sabres 6-1. Nathan MacKinnon continues his Hart case as he has 73 points in 51 games. André Burakovsky even had a 4-point performance against the Sabres. The Avs have the Sens tomorrow.
- Florida Panthers (29-17-6) (DOWN 6) – A pair of losses sandwich a win for the Panthers. The cats couldn’t handle the Habs and Blue Jackets, however, they smashed the Leafs. In both losses, the offense came up with scratch. It’s simply impossible to win when you can’t score. Sergei Bobrovsky tried his best Elvis Merzlikins impersonation against his former team, but the offense couldn’t back him up. Dates with the Knights and Pens this Thursday and Saturday will indicate where the Panthers will be heading forward.
- Vancouver Canucks (30-19-5) (NO MOVEMENT) – There are always 2 sides to a coin. On one, a 3-game win streak and a 2-game losing streak is presented for the Canucks. Out of the break, the Canucks took down the Blues, Sharks, and Islanders, before falling to the Hurricanes in a shootout and crumbling against the Bruins. All-Star Elias Pettersson has played like one over the 5 games, scoring 2 goals (1 game tying against Carolina) and 2 assists. The Canucks look to rebound against the Wild tomorrow.
- Edmonton Oilers (28-19-6) (NO MOVEMENT) – The Battle of Alberta is real. Mike Smith coming out to challenge Cam Talbot in a goalie fight is one of the best forms of entertainment we’ve gotten all season. Leading the charge for Edmonton is Leon Draisaitl with 83 points. The German forward dished out 4 apples in an 8-3 stomping of the Flames. Connor McDavid scored twice in that game as well. The Oilers look to rebound after a 3-0 loss to the Coyotes with a game at the Shark tank tomorrow.
- Carolina Hurricanes (30-20-3) (DOWN 3) – Caniacs everywhere may be a little worried about their team. Losing 2 of their last 3 to quality opponents, the Canes sure seem to be missing Dougie Hamilton. Even with a Super Bowl Storm Surge Sunday after a win against the Canucks, you could tell something was off with the Canes. A 4-game swing in the Midwest did not start well last night, as the Blues doubled up the Canes, 6-3. Arizona, a revenge game against Vegas, and Dallas await the Hurricanes.
- Toronto Maple Leafs (28-18-7) (UP 1) – ABSOLUTELY SMASH THE PANIC BUTTON!!! With Frederik Andersen going down against the Panthers, the Leafs just can’t catch a break. With Auston Matthews scoring at a superstar level, the Leafs should be in a better spot. Even William Nylander is having a career year (the holdout was worth it for the longevity)! Mitch Marner? You bet he’s playing great. However, with no real defense and a lack of goalie depth, the Leafs are hurting. The Leafs get the Rangers tonight.
- Nashville Predators (25-20-7) (UP 5) – A positive 3-2-0 record out of the All-Star break is great news for the Preds. What’s not good news for the Preds? Giving up 18 goals in the 5 games that they’ve played. Toronto cooked them with skill and Vegas shut out the Preds offense. In their wins, they scored 13 goals. Last night, an overtime winner courtesy of Mikael Granlund pushed the Predators over rival Winnipeg. The Preds head to western Canada this weekend as they take on Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
- Vegas Golden Knights (27-21-7) (UP 2) – House money is what the Golden Knights are playing with some might say. Winning 2 of their last 3 games the Knights have shown their potential to be one of the best teams in the Pacific division. A loss to Tampa Bay last night may have slowed down the hype train, however, the Knights get a good test in Florida tomorrow. Mark Stone has rebounded with 2 points in his last 3 as well. Goaltending must play better for Vegas to contend.
- Calgary Flames (27-21-6) (DOWN 3) – The Battle of Alberta is real. Matthew Tkachuk answering the bell against Zack Kassian was one of the most anticipated fights I’ve ever seen. David Rittich celebrating with the bat flip and getting lit up in their next matchup against Edmonton is classic karma. I want more of this. For once, the new playoff system might work for the NHL. The Flames look to get off the schneid against the Predators tomorrow night. The next meet up with the Oilers: April 4th.
- Arizona Coyotes (27-21-7) (DOWN 1) – The Coyotes will not go away. With 5 losses in a row coming into last night’s contest against the Oilers, the Coyotes just seemed due for a win. A 3-0 shutout via Antti Raanta helped put the Yotes back into the playoff picture as they sit 3rd in the tightly contested Pacific. Raanta represents the lifeblood of this team at the moment, as he made a dandy of a save against the Blackhawks. The Yotes get a pissed off Carolina team tomorrow.
- Montreal Canadiens (25-23-7) (UP 2) – In their 5 games back from the All-Star break, the Habs have posted a solid 3-2-0 record. Even with a bumpy start in a loss to the Caps, the Canadiens took care of business against Buffalo and Florida before falling to Columbus. Last night, it took a shootout for the Canadiens to beat the Devils. Russian Ilya Kovalchuk might have picked up a bit of rust, as he has only had 2 points in the 5 games. Leafs-Habs Saturday night. Tune in.
- Chicago Blackhawks (25-21-7) (DOWN 4) – 2 quiet games have been played for the Blackhawks since the festivities in St. Louis. Both games required extra time, as the Hawks beat the Coyotes in a shootout while the Wild handled business during real hockey hours, a.k.a. overtime. The Hawks blew a 2-goal lead to the Yotes, however they found themselves doing the same against the Wild. Shockingly, the team who blew the lead won each game. The Hawks have an original 6 matchup against the B’s tonight.
- Winnipeg Jets (26-23-5) (DOWN 2) – A pair of 2-1 losses to the Bruins and Predators stand out as something that the Jets shouldn’t be concerned about; a lack of scoring. With A1 talent all throughout the roster with Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, and Kyle Connor leading the charge, the offense shouldn’t be a problem. This was demonstrated as the Jets took down the Blues 5-2 after their loss to the Bruins as Jack Roslovic scored twice against the Blues. The Jets take on the Blues again tomorrow.
- Minnesota Wild (24-22-6) (UP 2) – 2 games since the All-Star break, and boy, have they been polar opposites. The Bruins crushed the Wild by 5 while the Hawks fought toe to toe with the Wild before Matt Dumba ended the effort in overtime on a brilliant move. Blowing a 2-0 lead to the Hawks hurts but the Wild got the job done in the end and that’s all that matters. 3 games in 4 days starting tomorrow include the Canucks, Stars, and Avs.
- New York Rangers (25-22-4) (NO MOVEMENT) – With a couple of matches against the worst team in the league to start their post All-Star break schedule, the Rangers have won 2 of their last 3. And of course, they did not lose to the Red Wings in their home and home set. A 4-2 victory at MSG was followed up with a close 1-0 win at Little Caesars Arena. A 5-3 hiccup against the Stars is nothing to worry about. Artemi Panarin has 3 points in his last 3 games.
- Buffalo Sabres (23-23-7) (DOWN 2) – Buffa-no. 3 of their 4 games coming out of the All-Star break have been atrocious to say the least. The Sabres managed to squeak out an OT win against Columbus somehow, as Jack Eichel saved the day. In their losses, the Sabres have given up 14 goals and scored a measly 4. Toss everything out of the window. Start fresh. The Sabres have a real chance at this with a back-to-back against the Red Wings and Rangers tomorrow and Friday.
- Anaheim Ducks (22-26-5) (NO MOVEMENT) – An All-Star return for a team that is composed of heaps of nothing has won 3 of their last 5, including 2 in a row after last night’s victory over the Sens in a shootout. The Ducks played it close in their 2 losses, as they only lost to the Lightning by 1 and to the Sharks by 2. Even with these losses, the Ducks don’t look as terrible as usual. Keeping things competitive are great signs for a young team.
- New Jersey Devils (18-24-10) (UP 3) – “They’re fun bad now” – a friend of mine who happens to be a Devils fan. Since returning from the All-Star break, the Devils have loosened up and gotten at least 1 point in every game. Shootout losses to Nashville and Montreal have been paired with an OT loss to Dallas and a win against Ottawa in the shootout. Young pieces of the core like Jesper Bratt, Miles Wood, and Blake Coleman have all been critical to the success of this team.
- San Jose Sharks (23-27-4) (DOWN 1) – A 2-game losing streak for the Sharks was snapped last night as they took down the Flames by a score of 3-1. Overall, since coming back from their break, the Sharks have gone an even .500. To no one’s shock, they beat the Ducks before falling to Pacific division foe Vancouver before getting shutout by the Lightning. In 2 games this month, Aaron Dell has a phenomenal .954 save percent. The Sharks head to Edmonton tomorrow for a match versus Connor McDavid.
- Ottawa Senators (18-24-11) (DOWN 1) – Ottawa has lost their 3rd straight game after tying the game against the Ducks before succumbing in the shootout. The Sens snuck in a win against the Sabres the day after a loss to the Devils last Tuesday. Whoever scheduled the Sens for a back-to-back out of the All-Star break is crazy. The Sens couldn’t keep pace with the Caps last Friday as Alex Ovechkin scored twice. Ottawa will see the Avalanche 2 times in their next 3 games, with Winnipeg in between.
- Los Angeles Kings (19-30-5) (DOWN 1) – The All-Star break might have treated the Kings too well as they have lost 3 of 4. Losses to Tampa, division rival Anaheim, and Washington all hurt. In their games against Tampa and Washington, they blew leads. A 2-0 lead versus Tampa evaporated while a 2-1 lead with under 7 minutes to play vanished against the Caps. They couldn’t catch a break against the Ducks, as Ryan Miller made 46 saves. Start the rebuild. Sooner rather than later, please.
- Detroit Red Wings (12-38-4) (NO MOVEMENT) – All you need to know about the Red Wings is that they’ve lost 9 games in a row. That’s really it. In their 3-games back since the All-Star break, the Wings have combined for 2 goals. They were scored in the same game. Yeeeeeesh. A back-to-back against Buffalo and Columbus tomorrow and Friday will not bode well for the Red Wings. Jonathan Bernier had a .904 save percent in January while Jimmy Howard managed a .884. What a mess.
Header Photo Credit: (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Penguins Photo Credit: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
Islanders Photo Credit: (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Oilers Photo Credit: (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
Flames Photo Credit: (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Canadiens Photo Credit: (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Ducks Photo Credit: Anaheim Ducks Media