NHL Power Rankings: Roughed-up Capitals still on top, but Pens and Senators move up
Washington had a tough stretch but remains No. 1 in the NHL, while the Senators are quickly rising in the Atlantic
Another week, another reminder that the Washington Capitals are the top contender in the NHL.
That does not mean, though, that things aren’t getting scarily close.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, in full stride after their late-season bout with injuries, are threatening with a dominant streak. So are the Ottawa Senators, who suddenly have the Montreal Canadiens on alert in the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames are still rolling, and the Minnesota Wild have taken another little dip as they look to overcome some offensive slip-ups:
||They're coming off one of their rougher weeks to date. And yet slip-ups by Chicago and the Wild keep the Caps entrenched atop the league as the most powerful overall unit. Stay tuned.||--||11-9|
||A big win over the Wild helped make up for a poorly timed two-game skid, when Patrick Kane and Co. maybe could have ridden their hot streak to the top of the conference.||--||10-8|
||Phil Kessel's shootout heroics were big for the Pens. All of a sudden, that swarm of injuries on "D" doesn't seem so bad.||1||11-8|
||In the grand scheme of things, the Wild are probably still one of the safer bets atop the NHL. Now isn't the best time for them to hit a dry spell when it comes to scoring goals, though, especially after giving up a lot at the trade deadline.||1||9-8|
||Aside from their 5-3 loss to Buffalo, Columbus has done a solid job of turning up the heat when it's needed to. A 6-3-1 stretch has them right in the mix in the Metropolitan Division.||--||12-7|
||They've been steady for much of the year. And at this point in the season, a 21-8-4 home record stands pretty strong.||1||10-8|
||A little offensive jolt, on top of the continued success of Henrik Lundqvist, makes the Rangers more potent than their recent .500 stretch indicates.||1||10-9|
||Ottawa's suddenly right in the picture atop the Atlantic. Still, the Habs are not to be counted out. They've taken eight of their last 10 under Claude Julien.||--||8-11|
||Alexandre Burrows has stayed hot since debuting for the Senators, and Ottawa is the latest team to find itself on a blazing streak. Let's see if they can keep it going against top competition.||1||8-5|
||Hot, hot, hot. Blowing out Montreal helps, but the Flames have been ablaze since the start of February. Taking on the Pens should be a nice test for Calgary, which has been boosted by Brian Elliott's play in the net of late.||3||11-8|
||It was an OK week for Connor McDavid and the Oilers crew. Stealing one from Pittsburgh would've been nice, though.||2||7-11|
||You certainly can't count out the Ducks, who beat the Caps and who've seen Ryan Getzlaf on a nice run. All of a sudden, though, they're neck and neck with a much hotter team in -- wait for it -- the Flames.||1||9-7|
||Cassi-dy! Cassi-dy! Bruce still has the team rolling, this past week with some offensive aid from an on-point Brad Marchand.||1||8-7|
||A 3-1 win over the Sharks was a good boost for a club fighting to stay ahead of the Blues in the Western Conference.||--||11-6|
||It's going to be a fight between John Tavares, the Islanders and a Maple Leafs team that's crept up on Doug Weight's bunch.||--||11-7|
||Toronto and the Islanders have taken turns beating up on each other throughout the year. If the Maple Leafs' streak stays intact deep into this week, they've got a real case to stay above N.Y. in the standings.||1||14-7|
||The Blues are cruising. Four straight, including victories over contenders like the Wild and Islanders, have them sitting OK in the wild-card race.||1||15-5|
||Is everyone beating the Wild these days? Well, maybe not, but the Lightning did, and they're on a little tear with seven wins in their last 10.||1||15-3|
||What to make of these guys? Forever inconsistent, they topped the Caps, and that counts for something as their hopeful -- and improbable -- playoff journey nears.||2||12-7|
||There's a little life in Philly, but it certainly does not seem to be enough for any kind of dramatic finish.||--||8-8|
||Their flaming road streak not too long ago seems like, well, a long time ago. Goals have been lacking and so have the Panthers' chances.||5||7-11|
||Kudos to them for a two-goal win over the Blue Jackets.||--||5-11|
||Hey, Patrik Laine is still doing some things. Bright, bright future there.||--||12-4|
||The 10-20-3 record on the road is really starting to hurt now.||1||9-8|
||Jaccob Slavin's offense has helped keep the Canes alive in many of their recent contests. At least they haven't gone down without a fight.||1||9-6|
||A nice touch for the Joe Louis Arena with the Red Wings upsetting the Blackhawks.||1||10-8|
||Credit them for playing hard against top-shelf teams, namely the Capitals.||1||10-9|
||Yikes. There isn't a team on a worse stretch right now than the Devils, who still cannot score.||4||11-5|
||Here comes talk of the franchise's future and its ideal location. Translation: The Coyotes are certainly not warranting our attention on the ice.||--||4-15|
||Going to Arizona might be their last best chance to get a double-digit road win total for the year.||--||10-8|
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