NHL Power Rankings: Bruins, Kings losing grip; Jets taking flight
1. New York Rangers (Last Week: 1)
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 3)
After being mopped the floor with in last season's playoffs, the Lightning are primed for a clean sweep of their own versus the Canadiens. Tampa picked up a fourth win in as many outings last week and have outscored Montreal 16-5 this season with one head-to-head matchup left on the slate.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 4)
He might not have hamburgers flung in his direction, but Scott Darling has been a real nice story as well. With a 25-save performance versus the best team in hockey, the homegrown Darling became the third Blackhawks goaltender to record a shutout this season.
4. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 2)
What does it say about teams of Blues' past that Brian Elliott eclipsed Jaroslav Halak for the franchise shutouts mark? Four goaltenders in Blues history have allowed more goals than Halak and Elliott have combined to concede.
5. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 5)
To give you an idea of how bad their goaltending was pre-Devan Dubnyk, the Wild are still ranked fifth-from-last in terms of 5-on-5 save percentage despite receiving Vezina-quality goaltending for more than two months.
6. Montreal Canadiens (Last Week: 6)
Carey Price is two wins shy of the Canadiens' single-season record and one shutout away from matching Ken Dryden's 10 in 1976-77. Across from Pekka Rinne on Tuesday, can Price have his Vezina Trophy moment and match Dryden before capturing the wins mark?
7. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 7)
8. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 8)
Despite winning games at a lottery pace over their last 15, the Predators have maintained the league's best goals against performance rate, conceding just 1.43 per game.
9. New York Islanders (Last Week: 11)
ICYMI: This Kael Mouillierat goal was the best from the weekend:
10. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 10)
Detroit might live to regret collecting just one point versus Montreal so far this season. Ben Bishop, the Lightning goaltender who would open up against the Red Wings if the postseason started today, improved to 7-1-0 with a .943 save percentage and a shutout in nine appearances versus the Wings.
11. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 9)
The Penguins scored two goals in four losses before barely showing a pulse in a win over the Coyotes. Yet, somehow, Sidney Crosby has taken over the NHL's scoring lead into the final nine games of the season.
If he can hang on, he'll win the scoring title in consecutive years for the first time in his career.
12. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 14)
The Canucks stood up to the big, bad, defending-champion Kings on Saturday and came away with two huge points. They also came away a bit mouthy.
Good on 'em.
13. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 18)
Practice is making perfect. The Western Conference's most-penalized team took another four minors versus a second-ranked man advantage powered by Alex Ovechkin, but limited the Capitals to just three shots.
14. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 15)
Fans helping Mike Green fall back in a love with a batch of old, discontinued twigs is a damn cool story:
15. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 13)
Now just 12 wins in 35 one-goal games. Time is running out.
16. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 17)
17. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 16)
Johnny Gaudreau's greatness has us appreciating Joe Nieuwendyk's. He scored 51 goals and 92 points as a rookie in 1987-88. That's 35 more than Gaudreau's league-leading 57.
18. Boston Bruins (Last Week: 12)
19. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 20)
It's probably a touch too late, but the Avalanche are 11-4-1 in their last 16 games and approaching a winnable stretch of games through Western Canada. If Semyon Varlamov can maintain his current form, though, it will be very winnable here on in.
20. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 22)
21. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 19)
Joe Thornton reached 900 assists for his career this week. He, along with Jaromir Jagr and Mark Recchi, are the only three players with at least 350 goals and 900 assists not residing in the Hall of Fame.
22. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 21)
Erik Gudbranson still has to pay for his McDonald's. And he's not particularly happy about it.
23. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 25)
24. New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 24)
25. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 23)
26. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 26)
Sometimes you need a reminder, like a tight game with the conference-leading Rangers, that Carolina is indeed still playing the regularly scheduled 82 games. Like, what are beat guys even writing about?
27. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 28)
28. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 27)
There's limping to the finish line and then there's this:
29. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 29)
30. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week: 30)
Jerry D'Amigo is proof that being punched in the mouth all season is better than being slashed in the mouth once.
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