NHL Power Rankings: Golden Knights storm into top 10; Bruins right behind Lightning
Aside from Tampa Bay, there might not be a scarier team in hockey than Vegas, which is on a 9-1 run
It's astounding to be talking about a whole group of eye-opening contenders during a season in which the Presidents' Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning are far and away -- very far and away -- the best club in hockey. You'd think that if a team had a near-plus-100 goal differential, with just barely double-digit losses on the season, that we wouldn't even bother talking about the rest of the league.
And yet here we are.
The Lightning may rightfully be everyone's favorite entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but yet another week of NHL action has shown us that maybe a dozen other teams behind Tampa Bay are capable of a deep run.
The defending Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights have stormed their way into the top 10 of this week's power rankings, using a 9-1 run -- and plenty of Mark Stone defensive prowess -- to prove their 2017-18 campaign wasn't a fluke. The Boston Bruins have won two straight and sit right behind Tampa Bay -- not literally, of course, since the Lightning own the standings, but in every other sense. The defending champion Washington Capitals are still warming up, with Alex Ovechkin on another tear. The Carolina Hurricanes just bested the Pittsburgh Penguins, and both of those teams are dangerous as well.
All of it's documented right here, in our NHL pecking order:
|1||Lightning||Plus-96 goal differential. Just sit with that for a minute.||--||62-16|
|2||Bruins||When Tuukka Rask is on and their big names are clicking, these guys just might be the NHL's best.||1||49-24|
|3||Flames||Can Mike Smith stand strong? Can Johnny Gaudreau light up the playoffs? It'd be fun.||1||50-25|
|4||Sharks||Maybe they're just trying to keep things interesting. Talent-wise, again, this group is off the charts.||2||46-27|
|5||Capitals||They're benefiting from the schedule, but who cares? Alex Ovechkin is rolling at the right time and they look like a team on a mission.||--||48-26|
|6||Maple Leafs||There might not be a team with a more impressive offense -- and the ability to be inexplicably shut out.||--||46-28|
|7||Golden Knights||Your future (repeat) Western Conference champs? Sure doesn't seem out of the question now.||5||43-32|
|8||Hurricanes||It's still hard to believe that this team -- this team! -- is ranked this high so late in the year.||1||46-29|
|9||Penguins||Have they arrived, or not? They need a healthy Evgeni Malkin to take it to the next level regardless.||2||44-26|
|10||Islanders||Let's see how Robin Lehner's return affects them as he settles in. But the rest of this top 10 is scary.||2||48-27|
|11||Predators||They have the depth to beat anyone, really, but we've still got questions about their consistency.||1||47-29|
|12||Jets||The fact that they are outside the top 10 should tell you how stacked this upper group is.||1||47-30|
|13||Stars||Time to start talking about Ben Bishop even more. This defense can be killer.||3||43-32|
|14||Blues||If Jordan Binnington keeps sliding, their offense better keep piling on like it did vs. Edmonton.||--||45-28|
|15||Blue Jackets||Yeah, this is already shaping up to be a major disappointment. Their deadline moves had them set up for an epic finish.||2||47-31|
|16||Canadiens||Maybe Carey Price will carry them in. You just wonder if the wild-card race will get too tight.||1||44-30|
|17||Coyotes||Let's give Rick Tocchet some props, right? As Sports Illustrated says, he might be Jack Adams material.||1||39-35|
|18||Flyers||The playoff dreams are fading. But they did a whole lot more damage this year than they were supposed to.||1||37-37|
|19||Avalanche||This feels just about right. Not reliable enough to be in the top 16, but talented enough to be right on the brink.||1||38-30|
|20||Wild||We can't buy into them yet. The upside is there, though.||1||37-36|
|21||Panthers||If only they had a few copies of Aleksander Barkov.||--||36-32|
|22||Blackhawks||It's nice to at least have Corey Crawford playing up to par.||1||36-34|
|23||Oilers||Will the coaching staff and front office be on the same page to fix this after the season?||1||35-38|
|24||Canucks||Bring on Quinn Hughes! And bring him on now!||2||35-36|
|25||Sabres||At least they have Rasmus Dahlin to look forward to.||--||33-39|
|26||Rangers||And now we see the repercussions of a total deadline selloff.||2||32-36|
|27||Ducks||If we're talking about the last two weeks, they'd be a little higher. But yikes, this year was still a disaster.||--||35-37|
|28||Red Wings||Ride the prospects until this thing is over. Then get serious (and we mean serious) in the offseason.||2||32-40|
|29||Devils||They have to be among the most disappointing teams of this season.||--||31-41|
|30||Kings||If you like to watch paint dry, this team is definitely for you.||2||31-42|
|31||Senators||We're almost in April, and they still have a single-digit away win total.||--||29-47|
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