The tides are a changing around the NHL, where the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins are coming off yet another lopsided embarrassment and the Vegas Golden Knights continue to make expansion history.

While the Pens are stuck in the middle of the pack thanks to their up-down, up-down start, the Golden Knights are rising, and so, too, are the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose full-fledged attack -- i.e. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov -- has caught the league by storm. Even with Jeff Carter down for the count, the Los Angeles Kings are also on the upswing, and that's not exactly what any of us expected before the season.

The Montreal Canadiens, meanwhile, are down in the dumps -- the lowest of dumps -- after Carey Price's stick-on-net meltdown, and their upcoming schedule doesn't look a whole lot better with the scrappy Florida Panthers and surging Kings on deck. In an early-season stretch that's seen some competence from the Colorado Avalanche, only the lost Arizona Coyotes look much worse than the Habs.

Biggest Movers
8 Golden Knights
7 Blue Jackets
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Lightning Oh, they are for real. Just look at who their last six wins have come against: The Capitals, Penguins, Blues, Red Wings, Blue Jackets and Penguins again in a 7-1 rout. Nikita Kucherov continues to stoke this fire. 4 12-5-4
2 Blackhawks They still don't have Connor Murphy figured out, but otherwise, Chicago is looking good on all fronts. A tall task awaits in Vegas, though. (No sarcasm whatsoever). -- 7-12-2
3 Maple Leafs Here's what you need to know: Their 37 goals are still tops in the NHL. 2 16-6-1
4 Kings Jeff Carter's out, but L.A. is on its best opening stretch in franchise history. Confession: Didn't see this coming. At all. 3 9-8-3
5 Devils Losing 3-0 to the Sharks was a stinker, but John Hynes' high-flying youngsters are still ahead of schedule, especially now that Nico Hischier is also in on the scoring. 1 9-7-4
6 Golden Knights No matter how their game with the Blues ended, they were going to enter the new week as a top-10 team. Expansion team or not, they've withstood Marc-Andre Fleury's absence with historic results. 8 12-9-0
7 Blues A good stat: St. Louis is leading the league in blocked shots. 2 12-7-3
8 Flyers The Predators have their number early in the year, but if you aren't paying attention to what Wayne Simmonds is doing, what are YOU doing? -- 8-8-4
9 Senators If you call the overtime losses, you know, losses, Ottawa is just 4-4. But somehow, the Sens aren't just winning because of defense. Putting up six against an admittedly porous Toronto blue line is admirable. 5 4-14-1
10 Blue Jackets Time for Sergei Bobrovsky to catch his breath. Columbus has faced some very different brands of quality hockey in recent days. 7 12-8-0
11 Predators Don't be deceived by their record. Yes, they need to clean things up, but Pekka Rinne isn't far removed from a big reminder that he's still got "it," and Filip Forsberg is playing lights out. Things will get better. 6 12-9-1
12 Stars Big jump for them, and that's what four straight wins will do for you. Back-to-back wins came against the lowly Coyotes, but the Stars are getting some clutch production from their Tylers. 8 11-7-2
13 Penguins In games against the Rangers, Predators, Capitals and Panthers, the Pens are 5-0, outscoring their opponents 19-12. Against the Blackhawks and Lightning, they are 0-3 and have been outscored 22-6. 1 10-7-5
14 Avalanche Maybe they would've beaten the Blues if not for some poor officiating, but the Avs were never going to maintain their rigorous opening pace. 4 11-6-1
15 Red Wings They were bound to slip with their rough schedule in recent days. At least Andreas Athanasiou is in the fold. 4 11-9-3
16 Capitals They're as up and down as their record suggests. One night, Alex Ovechkin is slamming home a game winner. The next, Washington is getting thumped by the Panthers. 3 14-4-5
17 Islanders Don't look now, but the Islanders are sneakily the best NHL team in New York, and Josh Bailey might have scored the goal of the season. 5 5-10-2
18 Jets Patrik Laine is starting to get in the groove, as is Blake Wheeler. In the net, though, the Steve Mason experiment virtually ended before it ever started, huh? 2 10-8-4
19 Hurricanes They certainly don't deserve a permanent spot here, but with Jeff Skinner clicking and a tight "W' over Calgary, they're on the rise. 2 15-5-1
20 Flames Cut down on the turnovers, and maybe Calgary's loss to Minnesota is a different story. The defense is working, but that's not enough. 5 13-4-5
21 Panthers They've been scratching and clawing for a while, and the grittiness paid off vs. the Caps. This'll be a team to watch down the road. 3 15-4-3
22 Wild Finally, some life. Three third-period goals against Calgary's "D" should help push this club into another gear. 3 15-6-1
23 Canucks Derek Dorsett, ladies and gentlemen. 3 7-14-2
24 Bruins Blowing a three-goal lead Saturday was pretty indicative of Boston's slow start. At least Charlie McAvoy is a beast. 1 11-8-0
25 Ducks Good for them to take advantage of a flimsy Habs team. Bad news, though, if Cam Fowler is seriously hurt. 1 11-8-3
26 Sharks The biggest plus is they've started to score. Back-to-back three-goal games is what they needed. 1 12-9-1
27 Oilers Is this really going to be a year where Connor McDavid is downright dazzling but the Oilers are downright disastrous? 2 15-5-0
28 Rangers Beating the Preds is nice, and this week's schedule should help. In a lot of ways, though, they're still a big mess. A couple of wins over bad teams can't hide their problems forever. -- 13-4-3
29 Sabres Jack Eichel's doing his thing, but so is just about anyone who gets close to the Sabres' net. 1 8-11-3
30 Coyotes Luke Schenn helped push the puck into his own goal in Arizona's latest blunder. That's the type of year this is shaping up to be. 1 5-16-2
31 Canadiens Carey Price is going to smash a whole lot more than one stick if this keeps up. 2 6-16-2