NHL Power Rankings: Surging Isles make gigantic leap into top 3
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This is the ninth edition of theScore's 2018-19 NHL Power Rankings, which will be published every two weeks during the regular season. It was compiled by editors Craig Hagerman, Josh Wegman, and Sean O'Leary.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (37-10-2)

The Lightning lost to the Maple Leafs to snap their nine-game winning streak at home and took an extremely uncharacteristic drubbing from the Islanders since the last edition of these rankings. Nevertheless, they remain the cream of the crop, holding down the top spot in the overall standings by seven points and having won 12 of their last 15 games. - Hagerman

Previously: 1st

2. Calgary Flames (32-13-5)

No team has been hotter in its last 10 games than Calgary. The Flames have gone 8-1-1 and have a five-point hold on top spot in the Western Conference. Five players have already amassed 50 or more points and four have hit the 20-goal plateau. - Hagerman

Previously: 2nd

3. New York Islanders (29-15-4) ▲

Barry Trotz has the Islanders playing some stingy defense, as his club is averaging the fewest goals against in the NHL. Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss have been lights-out in net, while Mathew Barzal is setting the pace offensively. - Hagerman

Previously: 9th

4. Vegas Golden Knights (29-17-4) ▼

The Golden Knights have gone 8-2-0 in their last 10 with losses to the Sharks and Jets the only blips. Offensively, Brandon Pirri has been a revelation, but the club has received steady contributions from throughout the lineup. - Hagerman

Previously: 3rd

5. San Jose Sharks (28-15-7) ▲

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Evander Kane had himself a week, posting three goals and six points in the last three games. Since the last installment of these rankings, he's collected 11 points in seven contests, leading the way for a team that is scoring in bunches of late and trails only Calgary in the Pacific Division. - Hagerman

Previously: 7th

6. Winnipeg Jets (31-15-2) ▲

The Jets' offense has been able to erase most of Connor Hellebuyck's shortcomings of late. The typically steady goalie has conceded three or more goals in five of the seven games since the calendar flipped, but Winnipeg has gone 6-2-0 over its last eight, sitting atop the Central Division. - Hagerman

Previously: 11th

7. Boston Bruins (27-17-5) ▼

Tuukka Rask was playing his best hockey of the season before leaving Saturday's contest with a concussion, going 5-0-1 in his last six appearances with a .943 save percentage and a 1.65 goals-against average. On the offensive end, the Bruins' top line is still doing its thing with a combined 19 points over the past seven games. - Hagerman

Previously: 6th

8. Pittsburgh Penguins (26-16-6) ▼

Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Phil Kessel have all been contributing in bundles of late for the Penguins, scoring more than half of the team's goals over the last two weeks. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, netminders Matt Murray and Casey DeSmith haven't put forth their best efforts in that time. - Hagerman

Previously: 4th

9. Nashville Predators (28-18-4) ▼

The Predators didn't quite look like themselves on their 3-3-1 run, scoring 24 goals and allowing just as many. However, Viktor Arvidsson has been red-hot since his return from injury, and seven Nashville players are on a point-per-game pace over the last five. - Hagerman

Previously: 8th

10. Toronto Maple Leafs (29-17-2) ▼

Kevin Sousa / National Hockey League / Getty

While the Maple Leafs were able to take down the mighty Lightning this past week, they've struggled to put together a string of wins. Goal-scoring slumps from the likes of Auston Matthews and William Nylander have hurt, but poor defensive play has been the real back-breaker. - Hagerman

Previously: 5th

11. Montreal Canadiens (27-18-5) ▲

The Canadiens were winning games early in the season despite Carey Price's struggles, so it's no surprise that the Habs are 10-5-0 in their last 15, backed by Price's .948 save percentage over that span. - Wegman

Previously: 14th

12. Columbus Blue Jackets (28-17-3) ▼

The Blue Jackets have been one of the NHL's most consistent teams despite a down year from goaltender and pending unrestricted free agent Sergei Bobrovsky. They haven't lost more than two consecutive games all season, but that distinction will be in jeopardy when the club returns from its bye week on Jan. 29 to face the Buffalo Sabres. - Wegman

Previously: 10th

13. Washington Capitals (27-16-5) ▼

Is this rock bottom for the Capitals? The defending Stanley Cup champions have lost a season-high five straight games, capped by an ugly 8-5 defeat at the hands of the basement-dwelling Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. - Wegman

Previously: 12th

14. Carolina Hurricanes (23-20-5) ▲

Can the addition of Nino Niederreiter help Carolina's scoring woes? Entering Monday, the Hurricanes are tied for 26th league-wide in goals per game, despite averaging the most shots on net. They'll need to start capitalizing on their chances if they hope to make any noise down the stretch. - Wegman

Previously: 19th

15. Minnesota Wild (24-21-3) ▲

Bruce Kluckhohn / National Hockey League / Getty

The Wild seem to be stuck in no man's land: not good enough to compete for the Stanley Cup, but too good to be involved in the "Lose For (Jack) Hughes" sweepstakes. Don't be surprised if new general manager Paul Fenton leans toward selling at the deadline. - Wegman

Previously: 17th

16. Dallas Stars (24-21-4) ▼

The Stars have been one of the league's most top-heavy teams throughout the Tyler Seguin-Jamie Benn era. With both stars producing slightly below expectations, it's no surprise that Dallas is fighting for its playoff life. - Wegman

Previously: 13th

17. Vancouver Canucks (23-21-6) ▲

The Canucks weathered the Elias Pettersson-less storm, going 2-1-2 in five games without their top player. With the young star back in the fold, it'll be interesting to see how the club performs over the next month or so leading up to the trade deadline. - Wegman

Previously: 18th

18. Colorado Avalanche (22-18-8) ▼

The Avalanche boast the league's best line (sorry, Boston), but they won't be taken seriously as a contender unless they add some legitimate secondary scoring. - Wegman

Previously: 15th

19. Buffalo Sabres (24-18-6) ▼

The Sabres have won just seven games since their spectacular November and are quickly falling out of the playoff picture, as they now sit four points back of the Penguins for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. - Wegman

Previously: 16th

20. Edmonton Oilers (23-23-3) ▲

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The Oilers are among a cluster of teams battling for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. Adding a forward or two before the deadline would certainly help the club reach the postseason. From there, anything is possible with the best player on earth leading the way. - Wegman

Previously: 25th

21. New York Rangers (21-20-7)

The Rangers are riding a nice little three-game winning streak but have still lost six of 10 and are nine points out of a playoff spot. On the bright side, Henrik Lundqvist remains ageless and is on the cusp of entering the top five on the NHL's all-time wins list. - O'Leary

Previously: 21st

22. St. Louis Blues (21-21-5) ▲

Considering their horrid start, the Blues will probably happily accept being five points out of a wild-card spot as the All-Star break approaches. Still, there are some major problems to be fixed and they'll need some definitive answers before the trade deadline. - O'Leary

Previously: 28th

23. Anaheim Ducks (21-20-9)

The Ducks finally snapped their 12-game skid with a pair of wins, but then managed only 19 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Isles. It's been that kind of season. - O'Leary

Previously: 23rd

24. Arizona Coyotes (22-22-4) ▲

Since the beginning of 2019 (seven starts), Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper hasn't lost in regulation and owns a .928 save percentage. A win in Toronto isn't bad either. It's all about the little victories. - O'Leary

Previously: 29th

25. Florida Panthers (19-20-8) ▼

John Russell / National Hockey League / Getty

Lose seven straight, then beat the Maple Leafs and Predators on a back-to-back: 47 games in, it's still impossible to get a read on the Panthers. - O'Leary

Previously: 20th

26. Philadelphia Flyers (19-23-6) ▲

It's probably too late for it to save Philly's season, but Carter Hart's .919 save percentage through his first 12 starts is mega-impressive for a 20-year-old. - O'Leary

Previously: 30th

27. Ottawa Senators (19-25-5) ▲

The Senators don't have much going for them lately, sitting just one point out of dead last. That said, their most pressing need is off the ice, where the clock is ticking on new contracts for Mark Stone and Matt Duchene. - O'Leary

Previously: 31st

28. Los Angeles Kings (19-26-4) ▼

Everyone knew the Kings would struggle to score this season, and here we are, well past the halfway point of the 2018-19 campaign with Los Angeles' 2.22 goals per game ranking 31st in the NHL. - O'Leary

Previously: 22nd

29. Detroit Red Wings (18-25-7) ▼

The Red Wings could be among the most active sellers at the upcoming deadline, and potentially adding a bevy of additional draft picks is an eye-popper, considering Detroit is in the thick of the race to select first overall. - O'Leary

Previously: 26th

30. New Jersey Devils (18-23-7) ▼

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The Devils have just three wins along with a minus-10 goal differential in 2019. Reigning MVP Taylor Hall would be welcomed back any time now. - O'Leary

Previously: 24th

31. Chicago Blackhawks (17-24-9) ▼

The Blackhawks are miles out of playoff contention, but captain Jonathan Toews is on pace for 77 points this season, which would be a career high for the 30-year-old. - O'Leary

Previously: 27th

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NHL Power Rankings: Surging Isles make gigantic leap into top 3
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