NHL Power Rankings: Avalanche, Penguins and red-hot Flames rise up the board

Another week, another shrug-of-the-shoulders acknowledgement that the Tampa Bay Lightning are No. 1 in the NHL.

It's not that Florida's top hockey team is a slouch of a front-runner, but much of the Lightning's clout as a longtime headliner for the Presidents' Trophy came as a result of a killer first three months. Put them up against anyone in a seven-game postseason series and there's no doubt that Nikita Kucherov and Co. would be the favorites, but there's still a nonchalant attitude that comes with crowning the Lightning (again) in the middle of January, mainly because they've been an obvious superpower for so long now.

In this week's edition of NHL Power Rankings, Tampa Bay still gets its due as the class of the 2017-18 campaign. But bigger movers include the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who have finally awakened the big names that got them back-to-back titles; the Calgary Flames, who have turned Jaromir Jagr's unceremonious move to irrelevance into an improbable winning streak; and the Colorado Avalanche, who continue to power through dominant stretches long after they were believed to have forfeited this season.

Biggest Movers
10 Flames
8 Rangers
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Lightning They fell victim to the surging Flames, but who else is going to outscore them on the regular? --54-23
2 Golden Knights How is it that an expansion team can be so insanely clutch? --51-24
3 Jets Their break couldn't have come at a better time. --52-20
4 Predators Their scrap is going to make them a tough out in the playoffs once again. --53-18
5 Capitals Somehow this whole T.J. Oshie thing -- paying him big bucks, then putting him on the third line -- is working. 149-26
6 Bruins This is the year we remember that Brad Marchand and Co. still have tantalizing potential. 150-20
7 Maple Leafs There's absolutely no way Auston Matthews gets moved for defensemen, right? Right? 249-26
8 Blues Get this team some center help, and maybe all that Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko talk will equate to more wins. --44-32
9 Flames Who needs Jaromir Jagr? 1037-35
10 Kings Any missteps are big ones in the wake of Vegas' performance. 345-29
11 Stars If they could figure it out on the road, they would be playoff favorites. 142-32
12 Avalanche Past three games, vs. the formidable Wild, Stars and Blue Jackets: Avs 13, everyone else 3. 143-30
13 Wild Stefon Diggs' magic transcended even their OT loss to Vancouver. 545-26
14 Devils Special teams remain a concern after their loss to Philadelphia. 344-29
15 Sharks Let's see if a roster shakeup is truly in store. --45-27
16 Penguins Finally, the household names are back in the spotlight. 547-29
17 Flyers Sean Couturier, have a hot stretch, why don't you! 142-26
18 Blackhawks Corey Crawford, Chicago needs you back. 233-39
19 Blue Jackets If anyone entered their break on a cold streak, it was Columbus. 545-30
20 Rangers This defensive nightmare scene looks awfully familiar. 834-39
21 Islanders It feels like we're in for another last-minute push for the playoffs. 435-37
22 Ducks Funny how quickly this group became an afterthought in a season with high hopes. --44-25
23 Hurricanes Injuries wreaked havoc just before their break, so the arrow is pointing down. --36-35
24 Red Wings It has to be nice to see some promise from the younger part of the roster. --30-39
25 Oilers Another tease of what should've been an amazing season: They've beaten Vegas twice. 236-40
26 Panthers When the moves start flowing, they'll have Florida eyeing long-term improvement, not an immediate turnaround. 144-30
27 Canadiens Who guessed they would be just 7-12-1 on the road by this point? 129-40
28 Senators If anyone needs a killer deal at the deadline, it's them. --28-43
29 Canucks Brandon Sutter is this week's hero. --31-40
30 Coyotes It's these five-goal outings like the one vs. San Jose that give them more life than Buffalo. --29-41
31 Sabres It's hard to have fun when you're never, ever scoring goals. --25-45
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