NHL Power Rankings: Are the Blues in danger of falling from the Central throne?
St. Louis hasn't been finding results and the division is starting to look a little more open
Welcome to our first post-All-Star break edition of NHL power rankings! Our weekly rankings were put on hold last week as we delivered, but now we're back in the saddle.
One of those bold predictions stated that the St. Louis Blues wouldn't win the Central division and that they'd be overtaken by the Avalanche and/or Stars. That prophecy may be starting to take shape already, as St. Louis has been struggling to find results over the past few weeks and the Central is looking a bit more open as we creep toward the trade deadline.
Perhaps we'll see an arms race of sorts take shape over the coming weeks as St. Louis, Colorado and Dallas attempt to make a run at the division crown. Capturing that No. 1 seed in the Central would be a big deal considering it brings the luxury of avoiding a first-round matchup against the other two teams.
It'll be very interesting to keep an eye on that race down the stretch, but there are plenty of other things to focus on across the league as well. Let's get to the rest of it all.
|1||Lightning||The Lightning have lost just three games and have a +29 goal difference since Christmas. Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn't lost a start in regulation since December 14. Tampa is fully back and extremely dangerous.||--||40-19-5|
|2||Penguins||It's a disgrace that we had to wait until February to get our first Pens-Caps showdown of the season, but Pittsburgh took the first of four matchups that we'll see in the next few months. Things are going so well for the Pens that even Matt Murray has won his last six starts and has a .922 save percentage in that span.||--||37-20-6|
|3||Capitals||Alex Ovechkin scored 11 goals in five games because he's a freak and moderation is for cowards.||1||39-19-6|
|4||Bruins||If it's possible to have a statement win against the Winnipeg Jets, the Bruins had a statement win against the Winnipeg Jets this week. Also, they brought a four-goal lead into the third period against Minnesota and didn't blow it, so that's a nice change of pace.||1||40-13-12|
|5||Panthers||The Panthers battling with the Leafs for positioning in the Atlantic has become quite entertaining to watch, and Florida managed to beat Toronto without Sasha Barkov in the lineup this week. Spicy!||1||33-25-6|
|6||Canucks||The Canucks have only lost one game in regulation since January 9th (7-1-1) and if they keep this up they may be able to pull away in the Pacific. Who the hell saw that coming?||1||34-23-6|
|7||Blue Jackets||They had their six-game win streak snapped with an overtime loss to the Sabres but managed to bounce back the next day and start up a new streak with a win in Montreal. They're 11-2-1 since December 31 and are averaging 1.7 goals against per game in that span. Ridiculous? Yes. Sustainable? We'll see!||4||31-21-14|
|8||Blues||The Blues still currently hold a six-point lead in the Central but they've hit a rough patch of late. Since their eight-game win streak in December, they've gone 5-6-2 and the only teams they've beaten in regulation are the Sharks, Sabres, Rangers, Ducks and Flames. That's...concerning.||5||38-17-10|
|9||Stars||The Stars have been playing well but are heading into a pretty pivotal stretch with a tough February ahead of them. With St. Louis struggling, it could easily be a three-team race for the Central crown if Dallas and Colorado don't fall off.||1||37-21-6|
|10||Avalanche||The Avs have been fairly unspectacular of late but all know the talent is there and their ceiling is as high as any team in the West. Their reported interest in adding significant reinforcements at the deadline (perhaps Chris Kreider?) is a bit scary.||1||38-18-7|
|11||Flyers||The Flyers are on another one of their strong streaks again and, perhaps most importantly, they're actually beating good teams this time around. They've won seven out of 10 and picked up dubs against the Capitals, Bruins, Blues, Penguins, and Avalanche.||8||37-20-7|
|12||Hurricanes||Justin Williams is an inspiration to all of us who just want to take a couple months off of work and then just go back and act like nothing happened.||2||35-24-4|
|13||Oilers||The Oilers have been incredibly streaky in this up-and-down season but they've been on a hot stretch of late, winning seven of their last 10. The addition of Kailer Yamamoto to the top six has worked out quite well, and it's almost like providing skilled wingers to two of the best players in the world is a good idea that can pay dividends.||5||33-23-8|
|14||Islanders||The Isles have been sliding a bit and are in real danger of falling out of the playoff picture, but it should be noted they have the ability to be aggressive at the deadline given their financial flexibility. They clearly need scoring help up front, so do they pull off a big splash?||4||35-20-8|
|15||Blackhawks||Don't look now but the Blackhawks have won six of their last seven games and sit just three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with a game in-hand. That's pretty stunning considering the awful start they had, but their stars are showing up and they're getting great goaltending. That might be enough.||2||28-28-8|
|16||Maple Leafs||The Leafs still have their frustrating warts - some of which they'll probably try to address at the deadline - but the power play has been outstanding of late. Things could look a lot more bleak if Frederik Andersen's injury is anything significant, though.||--||34-23-8|
|17||Flames||It would seem that the entire world is rooting for the Flames to get it together enough for us to all see an Edmonton-Calgary first round playoff matchup. The Battle of Alberta is EXTREMELY back.||5||33-25-7|
|18||Golden Knights||Considering their inconsistencies and the fact that they're just four points behind the Pacific lead and just two points ahead of the final WC spot, nobody really knows what the hell is going to happen with the Golden Knights. But they're too talented to be this low and the early returns under Pete DeBoer have been solid so maybe they only go up from here. Or maybe not. Again, this team is weird.||3||36-22-8|
|19||Predators||One of my Twitter followers compared the Preds to Jameis Winston last week and it's honestly all I can think about. Both are completely chaotic and incredibly entertaining, for better or for worse. At the end of the day, they're very fun to watch but you do NOT want to have to root for them.||1||32-23-8|
|20||Coyotes||The Coyotes have lost five in a row and won just two of their last 10 games. Plus, they're under investigation by the NHL for potentially carrying out illegal fitness tests for prospects. Good times in the desert right now!||3||31-27-8|
|21||Rangers||The Rangers are far more interesting off the ice than they are on the ice right now. They've got some huge decisions to make as we get closer to the trade deadline and logic says they'll be one of the most noteworthy sellers with names like Chris Kreider and Alexandar Georgiev potentially on the move.||1||35-25-4|
|22||Canadiens||If the Canadiens can turn Ilya Kovalchuk into a second-round pick before the deadline then Marc Bergevin should honestly get a medal.||1||29-28-9|
|23||Sabres||The Sabres seem to be in organizational turmoil at this point (moreso than usual) and it continues to be a bummer that a tremendous season from Jack Eichel is essentially going to go to waste.||1||29-27-8|
|24||Wild||The Wild are another one of those teams that will be interesting to keep an eye on around the deadline. The team clearly isn't good enough to win now and Bill Guerin has been pretty candid about his willingness to shake things up and establish a new direction, so maybe we start seeing that over the next few weeks. Does Jason Zucker get shipped out? What about Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin? It seems like it's all on the table.||3||32-25-7|
|25||Jets||The Dustin Byfuglien situation has been worked out and the Jets will have some additional flexibility with his contract off the books, but is that flexibility even worth taking advantage of? The defense unquestionably needs help, but is it reasonable to think re they a few mid-season pieces away from being a threat? Those are the questions Kevin Cheveldayoff needs to answer before the deadline.||--||33-27-6|
|26||Devils||They've won three of their last 11 and currently have the league's second-worst goal differential (-48) behind the Red Wings, who are barely an NHL team. So, yeah, things still aren't peachy.||1||25-27-11|
|27||Ducks||They're currently the least-worst of the California teams so that's something!||1||26-30-8|
|28||Sharks||The Tomas Hertl ACL/MCL tear is just the latest kick in the nuts for a team that had an absolutely hellish season.||2||27-33-4|
|29||Senators||They've won just two of their last 10 games but have lost five times in OT/SO in that span. This isn't a good thing. Loser points aren't helping the tank. However, Tomas Hertl's knee injury makes the Sharks first-rounder (in their possession from the Erik Karlsson deal) look even more promising.||1||22-31-12|
|30||Kings||Time to sell, sell, sell and get whatever you can while committing to the tank. Tyler Toffoli, you're free soon.||1||23-35-6|
|31||Red Wings||I don't really know what to say. They're still awful.||--||15-47-4|
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