NHL Power Rankings: Lightning stay on top, Panthers make late-season charge
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 10: The Lightning congratulate Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Louis Domingue (70) for a shootout victory during an NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 10, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL.

The 12th installment of theScore's NHL Power Rankings is put together by editors Josh Gold-Smith, Craig Hagerman, and Cory Wilkins.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (48-17-4)

Previously 1st

The Lightning became the first NHL club to reach the 100-point plateau this season with a victory over the Canadiens on Saturday. They've won five straight games and are 5-0-1 since our last edition, leaving little doubt that they remain the league's pace-setters. - Gold-Smith

2. Nashville Predators (44-14-10)

Previously 3rd

The Predators are also 5-0-1 in their last six, and they had a 10-game win streak snapped by the Devils in a shootout Saturday night. They look primed to make another run to the Stanley Cup Final, and while they won't take anyone by surprise this time, this is a deep, versatile club that's well prepared to weather the home stretch and beyond. - Gold-Smith

3. Boston Bruins (43-16-8)

Previously 6th

Boston entered Sunday's game having won six straight games, and even though they lost to the Blackhawks, what they've done without Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, and now Brad Marchand has been nothing short of remarkable. - Gold-Smith

4. Winnipeg Jets (41-18-9)

Previously 4th

The Jets had four straight wins before Saturday's road loss to the Flyers, a game in which Patrik Laine matched Alex Ovechkin for the league lead with his 40th goal. Laine has been on an absolute tear with nine goals in his last five games, and deadline acquisition Paul Stastny has made an instant impact. - Gold-Smith

5. Vegas Golden Knights (44-19-5)

Previously 2nd

Vegas righted the ship with road victories over the lowly Red Wings and Sabres and still has a comfortable lead atop the Pacific Division. But, the Golden Knights needed a late tying goal and a shootout to beat Buffalo and now have a 5-4-1 record in their last 10. - Gold-Smith

6. Toronto Maple Leafs (40-22-7)

Previously 5th

Road losses to the Sabres and Capitals were cause for mild concern, but a controversial yet decisive victory over the Penguins on Saturday allayed those concerns for now. The win came at home, where the Leafs have won a franchise-record 10 straight games. - Gold-Smith

7. Pittsburgh Penguins (40-26-4)

Previously 8th

The Penguins had won three in a row before Saturday's loss in Toronto, and Evgeni Malkin continues to put pressure on Nikita Kucherov in the Art Ross Trophy race with 11 points in his last six games. - Gold-Smith

8. Minnesota Wild (39-23-7)

Previously 10th

The Wild have reeled off seven wins in their last 10, and three of those have come in the team's last four. What Eric Staal is doing at age 33 - namely ranking fourth in the NHL with 37 goals coming into Sunday's games - continues to be one of the best stories of the season. - Gold-Smith

9. Washington Capitals (38-23-7)

Previously 9th

Braden Holtby hasn't been himself of late and he's getting some time to "reset," but Philipp Grubauer has been excellent in his stead. The Capitals need Holtby to get right before the playoffs, but the backup netminder's steady play has to be reassuring for Barry Trotz's club. - Gold-Smith

10. Anaheim Ducks (34-23-12)

Previously 11th

Ryan Getzlaf has been on fire with 12 points in his last five games. The captain's surge bodes well for the Ducks, who remain a deeper team than the Sharks, their Pacific Division rivals who sit just a single point ahead of them for second place with a game in hand. - Gold-Smith

11. Philadelphia Flyers (35-23-11)

Previously 7th

You've heard this one before: Poor goaltending is hurting the Flyers, as the team has allowed 23 goals and has come up with just one win in its last six outings. New netminder Petr Mrazek has allowed four or more in five of his last six. - Wilkins

12. Dallas Stars (38-25-6)

Previously 12th

Despite goaltender Ben Bishop being on the shelf, the Stars have hung with it in his absence, posting an even 1-1-1 record. Tyler Seguin has also impressed, with 10 points in his last six appearances. - Wilkins

13. San Jose Sharks (36-23-9)

Previously 15th

As has been the case this year in San Jose, the Sharks owe a lot of their success to goaltending. While the team fails to manufacture much offense, Martin Jones is shutting it down between the pipes, having allowed just eight goals in his last five games. - Wilkins

14. Columbus Blue Jackets (36-28-5)

Previously 16th

Winners of four straight, the Blue Jackets are doing their part to nail down a wild-card position in the East. Defenseman Seth Jones is certainly chipping in, pocketing three goals - including two-game winners - in the past two games. - Wilkins

15. Florida Panthers (34-25-7)

Previously 19th

No Eastern Conference club has a better record since the All-Star break than Florida, and the results are starting to show. The Panthers sit two points back of a playoff position and hold three games in hand. - Wilkins

16. New Jersey Devils (25-26-8)

Previously 14th

Taylor Hall pieced together an astounding 26-game point streak, but it might not be enough, as the Devils have won just two of their past six and are in danger of slipping out of a playoff position. - Wilkins

17. Calgary Flames (34-26-10)

Previously 17th

The return of injured goaltender Mike Smith could not come soon enough, as the Flames have fallen out of a playoff seed in his absence. Entering Sunday's contest, Calgary had won just two of its past six games. - Wilkins

18. Colorado Avalanche (36-24-8)

Previously 22nd

Colorado continues to build its case as the comeback story of the year, as the team has already accumulated 32 points more than last season and remains in the thick of the playoff race. Center Nathan MacKinnon remains a potential Hart Trophy candidate. - Wilkins

19. Los Angeles Kings (37-26-5)

Previously 17th

Los Angeles remains in the playoff chase in the West, but the team hasn't made life easy on itself with a pedestrian .500 record in its last four. That stretch includes Saturday's embarrassing 7-2 loss to the Blues, another team in the hunt for a wild-card spot. - Wilkins

20. St. Louis Blues (36-27-5)

Previously 18th

While there are signs of life in St. Louis, any recent credit must go to goaltenders Carter Hutton and Jake Allen, who have allowed just eight goals in the last four games. - Wilkins

21. Carolina Hurricanes (30-27-11)

Previously 21st

The Hurricanes have gone 3-2-0 since the last rankings and put up a noble effort against the Jets despite falling 3-2.

The Ron Francis demotion/promotion shocked much of the hockey world, but the team's on-ice play has remained stagnant. - Hagerman

22. New York Islanders (30-29-10)

Previously 20th

The playoffs were within the Islanders' grasp at the trade deadline, but appear to be wilting away.

The club has dropped eight of its last nine games and now sit seven points out of the final wild-card spot in the East. It would take a comeback of epic proportions to have any chance of making the dance. - Hagerman

23. Edmonton Oilers (30-34-4)

Previously 24th

The Oilers could be much lower on this list, but, they do have Connor McDavid.

He's on a seven-game point streak with six goals and 13 points and sits just four points back of Nikita Kucherov for the Art Ross Trophy. - Hagerman

24. New York Rangers (30-32-7)

Previously 28th

For so long, the Rangers remained in the playoff hunt, even after the organization made the decision to start a rebuild. The fruits of the team's deadline activity are finally coming to fruition as the club has dropped three straight and are now 10 points out of a playoff spot and 14 from 31st overall. - Hagerman

25. Montreal Canadiens (25-31-12)

Previously 26th

No Carey Price, no Shea Weber, and no Max Pacioretty, so there's little reason to expect much from the Canadiens heading down the stretch, except maybe better lottery odds for the first overall pick. - Hagerman

26. Chicago Blackhawks (30-32-8)

Previously 25th

This season has been an off one for the Blackhawks. The club is on pace to finish with 35 wins, which would be their lowest total since the 2006-07 season when they had 31 wins in a miserable 71-point campaign.

Chicago has shown glimpses of their elite skill, look no further than the team's win over the Bruins on Sunday, but for now, the club will get a rest from playoff hockey for the first time in 10 years. - Hagerman

27. Detroit Red Wings (26-31-11)

Previously 23rd

Six straight losses says it all.

Luckily the team looks to be on board the rebuild train, and with eight picks in the first four rounds of the draft this June, Detroit should get a nice boost this summer. The Red Wings are closer to last than a playoff spot and that's the direction they should aim for down the stretch. - Hagerman

28. Ottawa Senators (23-33-11)

Previously 29th

One step forward, two steps back. That's the best way to sum up the Senators' season and their most recent stretch.

After an emotional win against the Golden Knights, they dropped a decision to the Coyotes. Ottawa then topped the Stars but followed that up with losses to the Sabres and Flames. The end of the season can't come quick enough. - Hagerman

29. Arizona Coyotes (22-35-11)

Previously 27th

The Coyotes' 6-3-1 run over their last 10 is impressive, but it's too little too late at this point. - Hagerman

30. Buffalo Sabres (22-35-12)

Previously 31st

The Sabres have rattled off five wins in their last 10, but still find themselves stuck with the second-worst record in the league. - Hagerman

31. Vancouver Canucks (25-35-9)

Previously 30th

With two regulation wins in their last 10 games, there is little positivity around the Canucks' locker room these days. And if things weren't bad enough, it looks as though Brock Boeser - who has been the team's best player all season - will be out until next fall. - Hagerman

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

NHL Power Rankings: Lightning stay on top, Panthers make late-season charge
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