In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings, the Colorado Avalanche maintains their position at number one, while the Boston Bruins continue their climb and move closer to the top five in the standings.
While the picture of the Eastern Conference Playoffs has been set for months, the Western Conference has been a bit more confused with teams still fighting for spots and seeds. The Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars are fighting for two spots, with the Golden Knights needing a strong push down the stretch and hoping for help along the way as well. However, the big question is whether anyone can challenge Avalanche in the West.
Calgary looks like the team with the best chance of overtaking them given their defense and goalkeeping, along with the dominance of their top striker duo of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. But don’t sleep on the Minnesota Wild. Marc-Andre Fleury’s overall numbers may not be great this season, but he’s still capable of running and carrying a team, and it only takes one goalie to turn a playoff run around. Nashville, with Juuse Saros and some monster seasons of Philip Forsberg, Matt Duchenne and Roman Josi could also wreak some havoc.
We take a look at all that and more in this week’s rankings.
Where does your team sit?
To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!
1. Colorado Avalanche (Last week: 1). I bet you didn’t expect to see Nazem Kadri as their top scorer this season. The combination of Kadri having a career year and some injuries to Colorado’s best players helped him get there, but he’s been sensational. Just like Avalanche as a whole.
2. Florida Panthers (LW: 4). His defensive additions at the trade deadline are curious, but this offense is the best in the NHL. By a pretty significant margin.
3. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 3). They’re still probably the most complete team in the Eastern Conference, even if they’ve slumped a bit in the last two weeks, losing four of their last six games.
4. Calgary Flames (LW: 5). Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk could be the best duo in the league this season. Both are among the top eight scorers, and with them on the ice during a 5-on-5 game, the Flames outscored the teams by a 69-25 margin in 828 minutes of hockey. crazy numbers. Very nice.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 3). Their offense is a bit down, but that won’t last long. There is too much talent here.
6. Boston Bruins (LP: 7). You don’t want to play with this team right now. In the regular season or in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Don’t sleep on them.
[Related: It is time to start paying real attention to the Boston Bruins]
7. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 6). They followed up their worst game of the season on Friday by scoring 11 goals on Sunday. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are still dominant and commanding players.
8. New York Rangers (LW: 8). They will go as far as Igor Shesterkin will take them. He is able to take them very far.
9. Wild Minnesota (LW: 11). Thanks to a six-game winning streak and an 8-1-1 streak in his last 10 games, it looks like Wild is back on track. Curious to see how Marc-Andre Fleury plays behind a better team this season.
10. Toronto Maple Leaves (LW: 9). The goal situation makes him a total wild card. They could beat anyone with their overall talent and lose to anyone because of their goalkeeping.
11. Washington Capitals (LW: 10). If they played in the Western Conference, they would be in the top three or four teams there and would be a legitimate contender for a serious playoff run. Because they play in the Eastern Conference, where nearly all of the top teams in the league play, they’re almost an afterthought right now.
12. Nashville Predators (LW: 13). Roman Josi is having an unforgettable season for the Predators. At a minimum, he will be in the top two in the Norris Trophy voting.
13. Los Angeles Kings (LW: 14). Bringing back Philip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson has been a huge boost. This is a good team, and if Quinton Byfield can build on his three-point game earlier this week, it would be an even bigger boost.
14. St. Louis Blues (LW: 12). They haven’t had a great month of March, going just 3-6-3 in the 12 games that came into play on Monday.
15. Dallas Stars (LW: 16). They missed the playoffs a year ago in large part because they were so bad in games decided in overtime or in a shootout. They are a full 180 this season, where their 13-3 record in games decided beyond regulation will be a big reason they make the playoffs.
16. Edmonton Oilers (LW: 15). They’re going to have to put up with Las Vegas for a playoff spot. Can they do that? They better.
17. Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 17). What a story it would be if Evgenii Dadonov leads them to a playoff spot after they tried to trade him at the NHL trade deadline. He is doing his best to do that right now.
[Related: After trying to trade him, Golden Knights getting bailed out by Evgenii Dadonov]
18. Winnipeg Jets (LW: 20). Playing their best hockey of the season when they have virtually no chance of making the playoffs. They still need more on defense, but the expectations should be there for the playoffs next season.
19. New York Islanders (LW: 19). That 0-8-3 streak in November and early December really shaped his season.
20. Columbus Blue Jackets (LW: 18). They’ve outdone each other for most of the season, but lately they’ve been struggling.
21. Vancouver Canucks (LW: 21). They have a very interesting offseason ahead of them. They have looked much better with Bruce Boudreau as coach, but some trades need to be made.
22. San Jose Sharks (LW: 22). They’ve been pretty good since Erik Karlsson came back into the lineup.
23. Buffalo Sabers (LW: 26). I’m not sure it means anything for next season, but this team is playing well right now and they’re not giving up on the season.
[Related: Roundtable: Reviewing NHL trade deadline, best First Round playoff series]
24. Montreal Canadians (PE: 25). I want to see Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki go through a full season with Martin St. Louis as head coach.
25. Anaheim Ducks (LW: 23). They have lost nine games in a row and 12 of their last 14 games. Disappointing given how promising his start this season was.
26. Detroit Red Wings (LW: 24). The young talent and salary-cap situation makes it seem like this team is close to a big step, but their actual play on the ice lately makes it seem like they’re still a long way off.
27. New Jersey Devils (LW: 27). Players who need to be building blocks are proving to be just that. Now comes the hard part of building around them.
28. Chicago Blackhawks (ES: 28). They need to fully commit to rebuilding and cracking the core. However, those contracts will be difficult to move.
29. Philadelphia Flyers (LW: 29). Some lean years seem to be on the horizon here.
30. Ottawa Senators (LW: 30). It’s really hard to see how they’ll progress in this division.
31. Seattle Kraken (EP: 32). You wonder how many expansion draft options are hesitating this season?
32. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 31). Clayton Keller’s season has been an impressive development. Either he remains a central player or he increased the commercial value of him for continued rebuilding.
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adam gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @agretz.
NHL Power Rankings: Competition for Avalanche in the West; The Bruins Keep Rising originally appeared on NBCSports.com