NHL Power Rankings: Lightning reclaim No. 1 spot ahead of Bruins, Golden Knights
Tampa Bay comes out of the All-Star break atop the NHL, while Boston is the hottest team around
Brock Boeser, but the Tampa Bay Lightning are coming out of it back on top of the NHL.
Unlike the Boston Bruins, who showcased Brad Marchand over the weekend and are suddenly in position to challenge for the Atlantic Division with an envious points streak, the Lightning aren't resuming their schedule with some kind of epic win streak. But they are firmly back in first when it comes to the standings, and they deserve as much credit as anyone for besting the Nashville Predators -- and blowing out the Philadelphia Flyers -- to make that happen.
The Preds are among the NHL's five best teams as we approach February, and the Flyers have been no slouch against elite competition as of late, so we're giving credit where credit is due.
That's not to say Boston, Nashville, the St. Louis Blues and the Vegas Golden Knights can't keep pushing up the ranks as the trade deadline creeps closer, especially if someone gets bold and works the phones for a blockbuster. For now, however, bask in our latest edition of the NHL Power Rankings, where the Lightning (again) reign supreme and plenty of others vie for second-half playoff runs:
|1||Lightning||Back in front where they belong, they're going to put on a show in the playoffs.||1||4-1|
|2||Golden Knights||With Marc-Andre Fleury at full steam, they're still going to be tough to beat.||1||3-4|
|3||Bruins||Holy smokes. Maybe they are a Cup contender.||1||4-2|
|4||Predators||If their goalie duo holds up into the postseason, they have as good a shot as anyone to go the distance.||1||6-1|
|5||Jets||Finland is going to like what it sees when it gets the Jets for two games next season.||--||5-2|
|6||Capitals||Brett Connolly has been an underrated X-factor in Washington's offensive burst.||--||3-2|
|7||Blues||Injuries haven't slowed them. Pick up the power play, and they have juice.||2||1-3|
|8||Stars||Their M.O. is still score a ton or score just about none.||1||3-4|
|9||Maple Leafs||Let's see how they tweak the blue line coming out of the break.||1||6-2|
|10||Avalanche||Between Nathan MacKinnon and Erik Johnson, who said the Avs don't have talent?||--||5-1|
|11||Sharks||You have to wonder if we'll ever see a normal Joe Thornton here again.||--||3-3|
|12||Flames||Out goes Jaromir Jagr after a rough stretch of overtime losses.||--||4-3|
|13||Kings||There's an air of disarray with this team, but their numbers still look good.||3||2-5|
|14||Penguins||The defending champs are turning a corner at a good time.||4||3-1|
|15||Wild||If only they could figure things out on the road.||2||3-2|
|16||Ducks||Maybe it's too little, too late, but you can't ignore how they've overcome an early-season injury onslaught.||6||5-1|
|17||Flyers||OK, so falling to the Lightning isn't detrimental, but their division isn't a cakewalk.||2||4-4|
|18||Blue Jackets||Another decent team with a mediocre road record.||1||4-3|
|19||Rangers||Interesting spot here in the Big Apple with the trade deadline looming.||--||2-4|
|20||Devils||No signs of their spunky youth lately: They're 2-6-2 in their past 10.||6||4-2|
|21||Islanders||As many have noted, their top six are on a historic scoring pace.||1||3-3|
|22||Blackhawks||If Anthony Duclair can sustain his breakout, Chicago would be way better off.||1||4-1|
|23||Hurricanes||Do they buy or sell at the deadline? It's time for a(nother) shakeup.||--||4-3|
|24||Oilers||It's already fun to imagine just what this team is going to do to amend Connor McDavid's supporting cast in the offseason.||--||3-2|
|25||Red Wings||Now it's a matter of weeding out the most valuable trade assets.||--||0-5|
|26||Canadiens||The deadline's a good reminder that Jonathan Drouin has not easily replaced Alex Radulov.||1||4-1|
|27||Panthers||At least we can watch Aleksander Barkov at the All-Star Skills Challenge.||1||1-2|
|28||Canucks||Going scoreless against Buffalo should tell you they're far from where they want to be.||--||4-3|
|29||Senators||Another disappointing encore for Guy Boucher's career, this season says change is on the way.||--||3-2|
|30||Sabres||Phil Housley has to get this group back to fundamentals for 2018-19.||1||4-4|
|31||Coyotes||Gary Bettman says they're not going anywhere anytime soon. (Arizona: Yay!)||1||2-5|
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