The Tampa Bay Lightning finished last season with 128 points in the regular season standings, the fourth-most in the history of the league. We all know how that ended for them in the playoffs, but it's impossible to deny that the Bolts were a wagon in Games 1-82. 

Well, perhaps this is a good time to point out that, at the start of this week, this year's Washington Capitals team was outpacing last year's Lightning. That seems rather absurd, especially because it doesn't feel like anyone is frantically crossing three lanes of traffic just to talk about the Caps or how impressive they've been. Maybe they haven't been knocking your socks off quite as sexily as Tampa did last year, but we're only a few weeks away from Christmas and Washington has been rather relentless to this point. 

Prior to their loss against Columbus on Monday night, the Caps were pacing 130 points, which would be the third-best regular season points finish in the history of the league, so I guess that's pretty good. (They're now pacing 126, which is still okay.)

They're an easy choice to place at the top of the league this week, but we've still got 30 other teams to evaluate so let's get to the power rankings.

Biggest Movers
11 Flyers
8 Sharks
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Capitals They laid a stinker against Columbus on Monday but had won six in a row, including a clean sweep on a four-game road trip. It feels like they'll probably be fine. 110-5-0
2 Bruins Regression seemed inevitable but it has been a really tough week for the Bruins. They've lost three in a row and have trailed by three goals in each of those games - the first time all season they've trailed by three goals. You can excuse the loss to Colorado (their first regulation loss at home this year) but Chicago and Ottawa? Woof. 111-4-0
3 Islanders I expected the Islanders to fall off after last year's surprise but instead they've gone ahead and delivered one of their best starts in franchise history, getting to 20 wins quicker than any Isles team in history. They've been doing the damn thing for over a year and I still can't help but look at the roster, look at the standings and be like... what the hell? --10-6-0
4 Avalanche They continue to get bit pretty hard by the injury bug and we should all be mad at them for failing to protect Cale Makar at all costs, but they're still rolling. They've got points in seven straight (six wins) and continue to impress, especially offensively. But seriously, do not let ANYTHING happen to Cale Makar or else. 19-6-0
5 Blues Blues head coach Craig Berube was named "Sports Personality of the Year" in Missouri this week, which seems fair considering he led the Blues to a historic turnaround and the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. But come on... are we going to just pretend that Brett Hull's Cup bender didn't happen? 110-8-0
6 Penguins If there was a team award for resilience, it'd be a two-team race between the Penguins and Avalanche. The fact that the Pens are even still in the conversation -- never mind thriving -- despite some of the injury issues they've had... well, it's crazy. Sort of makes you wonder how important Sidney Crosby even really is to the team (that's a joke). 510-7-0
7 Flyers I got several complaints that last week's power rankings had the Flyers too low as they were riding a four-game win streak (all of those wins coming against struggling teams). I'll attempt to make it up to those whiners with a big jump this week since they're playing well and have the second-most points in the league since Nov. 1. But here's the thing: They still haven't beaten anybody good in about three weeks and I still have no clue if they're even any good themselves. 119-4-0
8 Hurricanes Last week we highlighted how good Andrei Svechnikov has been. This week, gotta talk about Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Aho is on pace to score 40-plus and there are only three players with more primary assists than Teravainen this year. Their names are Draisaitl, McDavid and Carlson. 112-6-0
9 Coyotes The Coyotes briefly slid into first place this week and it doesn't seem ridiculous to think that they could make themselves comfortable in that spot at some point soon. Sure, the Pacific is basically just a division full of soiled underwear this year, but it's still cool to see the Yotes rising. They should be going for it this year and they could still use some scoring help. Taylor Hall, anyone? 19-7-0
10 Oilers They're still hanging around but beginning to slide and It seems as though their lack of depth might be an issue. Who possibly could have seen this coming? 414-8-0
11 Jets I'm still not sure where this team would be if Connor Hellebuyck wasn't playing out of his damn mind but, hey, you take the wins even if you have to steal them. They have the league's best even strength goals for percentage (63 percent) since that start of November. 112-6-0
12 Panthers The Panthers let Sergei Bobrovsky take a week off (generous considering he took most of the first two months off) and he came back with strong back-to-back performances against the Blue Jackets and Sharks. At some point you gotta hope your $70 million goalie can turn the corner, so here's to hoping! 313-4-0
13 Stars They're still not scoring a ton but the power play has been good, the goaltending has been very good and they've been nearly unbeatable at home. Still, you'd like to see a little more out of their top-end forwards. 36-5-0
14 Canucks They've scored five goals or more in four of their last five games and they're back to being quite fun, for better or for worse, so that's something after a brutal November. 28-14-0
15 Golden Knights They still need to prove they can consistently put it together this season but they're 4-1-1 in their last six and gaining some ground in the playoff picture. There's just no excuse for this team to be on the outside looking in, especially when the Pacific is so trash this year. 111-4-0
16 Lightning Also a team that needs to work on consistently putting it together. They continue to be incredibly frustrating and unpredictable as they look capable of being dominant or dominated against any team on any given night. Luckily, the Atlantic is just as terrible as the Pacific this season. 313-4-0
17 Wild They had their 11-game point streak snapped over the weekend but they're 10-3-4 since the start of November and back in the hunt. Considering they were basically a laughing stock in October and Bill Guerin was a sneeze away from blowing it up, I suppose that's pretty good. 610-6-0
18 Flames The offense has caught a spark and they've won five in a row, which is huge as they try to bank some points and climb out of the early season hole they dug for themselves. You know things are going your way when you're getting goals from Milan Lucic (two games in a row!) and Zac Rinaldo. 69-10-0
19 Rangers When you're rebuilding all you can really hope for is a team that is fun to watch and enjoys playing together. That seems to be the case with the Rangers, who are establishing themselves as a very imperfect yet very annoying opponent this year. The great goaltending is helping quite a bit. 36-8-0
20 Maple Leafs After spiking in the immediate aftermath of the Babcock firing, the Leafs have stumbled - including an embarrassing 6-1 loss to the Flyers in which they gave up five goals in the third period. They still have plenty of issues to sort through but, with that being said, they look better and smarter under Sheldon Keefe. 315-4-0
21 Sabres The good news is they've only lost in regulation once since Thanksgiving (the American one) but the bad news is they're only 3-1-3 in that stretch. They're leaving some points on the table. They could certainly benefit from getting Rasmus Dahlin back and getting some additional help behind Jack Eichel, especially with a tough stretch ahead. 16-8-0
22 Predators After six straight losses they managed to rebound with a nice 4-1-2 stretch and Kyle Turris is back contributing. Those are positives, but they've still got some work to do to hang in a very tough Central. They've got a top-ten offense so if they can get steadier goaltending they might be able to get back in the mix. 38-11-0
23 Sharks Nothing like a quick little road trip to Florida in which you're outscored 12-2. Nobody quite likes getting blown out like the Sharks do. (Well, maybe the Red Wings but they're actively trying to get atomic wedgie'd so that doesn't count). 87-8-0
24 Canadiens After an eight-game losing streak they've won two of their last three so at least things are falling apart just a little less slowly these days. Still, their forward group is depleted by injury, their defensive group isn't good and their goaltending has been really disappointing. Probably shouldn't get your hopes up that they're in the process of turning it around. 39-6-0
25 Blue Jackets They scored five total goals over the course of four games before putting up five against the best team in the league in Washington. Okay then. Whatever. This sport is so stupid. 28-8-0
26 Blackhawks This team is being bailed out by good goaltending and even that hasn't been enough to fully shield how rough they've looked. Their bottom six is a mess and the defense stinks. They handle leads like Kevin Malone handles chili. 111-6-0
27 Senators Things continue to go better that expected in Ottawa, which isn't saying a whole lot... but still. With each passing day, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anthony Duclair are closer to scoring 40 goals and securing one hell of a bag in free agency while the Sens are probably drooling at the thought of the mid-season returns they can command. 17-14-0
28 Ducks Yeah, this team stinks. At least Ducks fans will get to watch Good American Boy and 2019 first-round pick Trevor Zegras at World Juniors later this month. 26-10-0
29 Kings Nothing is more fun for fans than getting to watch your team consistently put up 35 shots a night while also consistently scoring 1-2 goals per night. That's also especially great when your goaltender, who is signed through 2023, can't save anything. --9-6-0
30 Devils Firing John Hynes provided a brief moment of happiness for Devils fans but, as it turns out, it didn't provide a magical fix. --7-6-0
31 Red Wings Very bad. --6-13-0