NHL Power Rankings: Lightning keep top spot, surging Leafs on the rise
theScore's NHL Power Rankings are published every other Monday. Our fourth installment is put together by editors Josh Gold-Smith, Ian McLaren, and Cory Wilkins.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (15-3-2)
2. Toronto Maple Leafs (14-7-0) ▲
No Auston Matthews? No problem. With their best player on the sidelines, the Maple Leafs cruised to four straight wins of their own, then captured their sixth victory in succession against the rival Canadiens upon Matthews' return.
3. Winnipeg Jets (12-4-3) ▲
The Jets are proving the pundits correct: Give Winnipeg a goaltender and they're a dangerous team. The Jets have won four straight, allowing just six goals in the process.
4. Nashville Predators (11-6-2) ▲
Kyle Turris has been a hit in the Music City, chipping in three points in four games, while the Predators have taken three of four contests since his arrival.
5. St. Louis Blues (15-5-1) ▼
A bit of a dip for the Blues, as St. Louis was on the wrong end of an ugly loss to the Flames, just days after needing extra time to take down the last-place Coyotes.
6. New York Islanders (11-7-2) ▲
It's been a mixed bag for the Islanders, but the team's most impressive outing was a 5-3 win over the first-place Lightning. Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak continue to battle for minutes between the pipes.
7. Columbus Blue Jackets (12-7-1) ▼
The Blue Jackets will need to find the back of the net more often in order to climb this list. Columbus mustered just six regulation goals in its last five appearances.
8. Vegas Golden Knights (12-6-1) ▲
Credit the Golden Knights for their ability to find the win column despite constant injuries in the crease. One negative of the week: an 8-2 shellacking to the struggling Oilers.
9. New Jersey Devils (11-5-3) ▼
The Devils are .500 in their last six outings, despite allowing four more goals than they've scored. Travis Zajac's return should improve the team's fortunes.
10. Los Angeles Kings (12-7-2) ▼
Winning just two of their last six, with only one coming in regulation, cracks are starting to show in the Kings' hot start to the season.
11. Calgary Flames (11-8-0) ▲
12. Chicago Blackhawks (10-8-2) ▲
A tightly contested win over Pittsburgh on Saturday served notice that this team's window hasn't closed quite yet. Having said that, maybe beating Pittsburgh isn't all that impressive these days (see below).
13. Pittsburgh Penguins (11-8-3) ▼
The Penguins' defensive numbers have been skewed by a few lopsided losses, but the defending Stanley Cup champions are also having trouble scoring. Issues at both ends of the ice doesn't bode well moving forward.
14. Detroit Red Wings (10-8-3) ▲
15. San Jose Sharks (10-8-0) ▼
Despite the winning record, San Jose has scored the fewest amount of goals in the NHL, and the offensive struggles are exacerbated by the fact Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns has zero goals on 75 shots.
16. Anaheim Ducks (9-7-3) ▼
Recent wins over Vancouver, Boston, and Florida helped end a stretch of losses for the Ducks, who are somehow hanging on in the midst of a slew of injuries.
17. Minnesota Wild (9-8-2) ▲
Prior to a loss to Washington on Saturday, the Wild won four in a row, including a string of three-straight shutouts by Devan Dubnyk. The streak helped Minnesota get back on the positive side of the goal differential ledger.
18. Washington Capitals (11-9-1) ▲
The two-time defending Presidents' Trophy winners have certainly lost some luster. Braden Holtby is being left out to dry with regularity, but thankfully the offense is still chugging along.
19. Dallas Stars (10-9-1) ▼
A win over Edmonton on Saturday snapped a three-game losing streak, but 20 games in, this team does not want to be in the lower tier of the standings in terms of point percentage.
20. New York Rangers (10-9-2) ▼
The Blueshirts have recorded 10 wins in 20 games, and a team that features Henrik Lundqvist in net should not have a negative goal differential.
21. Ottawa Senators (8-5-6) ▼
Note to other teams looking to avoid falling in the rankings: Don't lose to the worst team in the league in the same week you get beaten by a defending Stanley Cup champion still looking to find its stride.
Unfortunately for the Senators, they can't just play the Avalanche every game.
22. Boston Bruins (8-7-4) ▼
Two big wins on the West Coast will do just fine, but they came after four straight defeats, including back-to-back losses to the Maple Leafs.
23. Colorado Avalanche (10-8-1) ▼
Colorado has lost four of their last six, including back-to-back defeats to the Senators in their Swedish sojourn, and a humbling loss to their other Matt Duchene trade partner, the Predators.
24. Carolina Hurricanes (9-6-4) ▲
Carolina isn't a playoff-calibre team yet, but there's reason for hope. The Hurricanes have won five of their last seven contests, including back-to-back victories over the weekend.
25. Florida Panthers (7-11-2) ▲
Getting shut out by the Kings on Saturday was hardly ideal, but Florida did blank the Sharks in San Jose two days earlier.
Florida has lost two straight games, but hovered around .500 since our last edition, so that's enough to get out of our basement for now.
26. Vancouver Canucks (9-8-3) ▼
Saturday's overtime loss to the Blues was a valiant effort, but the Canucks have won only two of the seven games since our last edition, and have emerged victorious in only three of their last 10. That's bad.
27. Philadelphia Flyers (8-8-4) ▼
The Flyers blew a 3-1 lead and eventually lost to the Flames in overtime Saturday, dropping their fourth straight game and fifth in their last six.
28. Edmonton Oilers (7-11-2) ▼
Edmonton could still turn out to be a Stanley Cup contender, but the Oilers have dug themselves into a serious hole.
Neither their 4-1 loss to the Blues nor Saturday's 6-3 defeat to the Stars inspire much confidence that the Oilers will snap out of this any time soon.
29. Montreal Canadiens (8-11-2) ▼
Montreal got embarrassed by the Maple Leafs on Saturday night, and the 6-0 rout was the Canadiens' third consecutive loss. Is it time for a shake-up?
30. Arizona Coyotes (4-15-3)
A win streak! Two straight victories and an Anthony Duclair hat trick Saturday are encouraging, but the Coyotes still have the NHL's worst goal differential (-31), and they've won only three of their last 10 games.
31. Buffalo Sabres (5-11-4) ▼
Buffalo lost its fifth straight game Saturday, and that makes eight losses in the last 10 contests. Only the Coyotes have a worse goal differential than the skidding Sabres.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)