NHL Power Rankings: Predators climb to No. 1 ahead of Lightning and Bruins
Nashville's 10-game win streak is over, but the defending conference champs are still rolling
We are one week closer to the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. If that doesn't get you excited, then our newest edition of NHL Power Rankings should. Because for the first time in a long time, we've got a team other than the Tampa Bay Lightning sitting atop the league.
Don't be mistaken. The Lightning are still the class act of hockey, all things considered. They're now the first team to hit 100 points in the standings, their goal differential is a whopping 118 points better than the last-place Arizona Coyotes, and they've scored no less than four goals in eight of their last 10 games over a 9-0-1 stretch. This is a team that simply hasn't wavered from the get-go, and no one brings more firepower to the postseason.
That said, there's another team who has got the goaltending to rival them, the 2017 playoff run to drive them, and the unparalleled depth to outlast them. That's the Nashville Predators, who are also 9-0-1 over their last 10 and just so happen to be playing some of their best hockey as the regular season winds down. While they haven't -- and may not -- top the Lightning in the hunt for a Presidents' Trophy, the Predsthanks to their onslaught of lineups and red-hot run to April. And that's enough for us to, at least temporarily, make them our No. 1 team in the NHL.
Elsewhere, there's not a whole lot of change, except for the Minnesota Wild upping themselves and the streaky Philadelphia Flyers taking a tumble after what initially looked like a power surge toward the playoffs. But the postseason picture is rounding into shape, and our rankings should offer a look at who's who as the postseason gets closer.
|1||Predators||Their 10-game streak is over, but no one rivals their depth. Maybe Tampa is still the superpower, but they are obvious Cup contenders.||1||53-18|
|2||Lightning||If you still have them at No. 1, fine. They're the first to 100 points, and they've been electric all season long.||1||54-23|
|3||Bruins||How long can they keep on keepin' on with their injuries?||--||50-20|
|4||Golden Knights||All eyes will be on them in the playoffs, but they're still a whopping 24-7-2 at home.||--||51-24|
|5||Jets||Another contender that has to overcome health hurdles.||--||52-20|
|6||Maple Leafs||Talk about teams with hot home records. Auston Matthews is coming back, and they've won 10 straight in Toronto.||--||49-26|
|7||Wild||The gut says it's still too early to believe, but boy, Eric Staal is having himself a year.||3||45-26|
|8||Penguins||Did we mention there are some good teams who dominate at home? Don't ever count them out in the playoffs. Ever.||1||47-29|
|9||Capitals||Brian MacLellan can rest easy knowing he's running the show regardless of another playoff dud.||2||49-26|
|10||Stars||No one might have a more crucial home stretch than these guys, who could face Vegas on the road to start the playoffs.||1||42-32|
|11||Sharks||The feeling here is San Jose will be glad, in hindsight, that it dealt for Evander Kane.||1||45-27|
|12||Avalanche||They won't die. Maybe they aren't contender material, but Nathan MacKinnon is must-watch material.||1||43-30|
|13||Flyers||They're so streaky that they deserve this drop. But Petr Mrazek and Co. will be a tough out in the first round.||5||42-26|
|14||Ducks||Ryan Miller has been doing great fill-in work, but will they gain enough steam to upset one of the powerhouses?||--||44-25|
|15||Panthers||OK, so Florida is actually a very dangerous place to play.||--||44-30|
|16||Kings||Their goal differential will forever be evidence of their unsustainable hot start to the year.||--||45-29|
|17||Devils||Suddenly, they are the only hope for playoff hockey in the Big Apple area.||--||44-29|
|18||Flames||You will not fool us, Calgary. You will not fool us.||--||37-35|
|19||Blue Jackets||Who knew that Thomas Vanek and his ragtag crew of vets were the missing links?||1||45-30|
|20||Blues||Now they're teasing us. A Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko line would've been nice for the postseason.||1||44-32|
|21||Hurricanes||Now we're ready to see what the reshuffled management does to throw a wrench in things this offseason.||--||36-35|
|22||Blackhawks||Down go the Original Six.||1||33-39|
|23||Oilers||Hey, we could've used Connor McDavid in the playoffs again, too. And not just to validate our own predictions.||4||36-40|
|24||Rangers||Away from Madison Square Garden, they've won just 12 of 22 games.||2||34-39|
|25||Islanders||The weight of this season just might be too much for the Isles to keep Doug Weight.||1||35-37|
|26||Red Wings||Two long seasons have made it at least a little more normal to forget them come playoff time.||1||30-39|
|27||Canadiens||Their record on the road is arguably the worst in the league.||1||29-40|
|28||Canucks||My, oh my, how Bo Horvat's loss crippled this team.||--||31-40|
|29||Coyotes||Their 10-game stretch is still solid enough to keep them out of the cellar.||--||29-41|
|30||Senators||The countdown to another Erik Karlsson trade watch has begun.||--||28-43|
|31||Sabres||The bad breaks keep coming. They didn't need more injuries to look like a bad team.||--||25-45|
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