NHL Power Rankings: Streaking Flyers on the rise; Flames, Sharks inch closer to Lightning
Can Carter Hart really get Philly into the playoff picture?
The Philadelphia Flyers may not be top-10 or even top-15 material, but they have been the talk of the NHL recently.
Pit the Metropolitan Division's wintertime darling against the Tampa Bay Lightning, this year's Presidents' Trophy front-runner, and you may well see why the Flyers' 2018-19 campaign has largely been in the dumps. However, because of a young man named Carter Hart, Philly now has itself not only a potential Calder Trophy candidate and a player who finally outshines Gritty but, most shockingly of all, an outside shot at cracking the postseason. That's right. They've been that good lately, stringing together eight straight wins, including over contenders like the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets, to change what long looked like a lost season.
Now, it's anyone's guess as to how long the Hart magic will last -- and whether it'll be enough to keep Philadelphia's improbable streak alive. But with games against the lowly Los Angeles Kings (Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, streaming on fuboTV) and Anaheim Ducks on deck, there's a good chance the Flyers will be sniffing the playoff picture in a matter of days. And that alone justifies the team's rise up this week's edition of our NHL Power Rankings.
The Lightning are still on top, of course, and Philly isn't the only team on the move. It's also not crazy to suggest that other top-five teams, namely the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks, are inching closer to Tampa Bay in terms of total-team dominance. The Flames seemed like a too-good-to-be-true story for a while, but that time has passed. They're for real. As for the Sharks, the team's slow start seems well behind them, and with star power like they've got, there's still time for an even bigger rise before the playoffs.
|1||Lightning||At what point do we guarantee them a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals?||--||62-16|
|2||Flames||David Rittich has been darn near Vezina Trophy worthy for this team.||--||50-25|
|3||Jets||And just think: Patrik Laine hasn't even really hit his stride yet. They're going to give someone trouble in the playoffs.||--||47-30|
|4||Sharks||Their ceiling is even higher than this. With their big names on peaking, they can seriously be the best in the NHL.||--||46-27|
|5||Maple Leafs||Good on them to get Auston Matthews locked up. That takes care of probably the most important issue of the season.||2||46-28|
|6||Islanders||They're legitimate. They beat who they're supposed to and give the real ones a fight. Barry Trotz really got this defense up to par.||--||48-27|
|7||Predators||With their schedule this month, it's almost time they reclaim one of the top five spots.||2||47-29|
|8||Penguins||It's tough to get a true read on them, but they sure have been busy tweaking the roster. More consistency on the ice would help.||2||44-26|
|9||Bruins||Even their losses have been close contests lately. And with Tuukka Rask doing his thing, they should only trend upward from here.||--||49-24|
|10||Canadiens||If Carey Price keeps this up, the Habs will stick around the top 10. Fans can breathe a sigh of relief on Paul Byron, too.||1||44-30|
|11||Golden Knights||Their spot in the standings is fine, but the only reason they come close to the top 10 right now is because of who's below them.||3||43-32|
|12||Stars||This might be the most volatile team of the top 20. They are streaky as can be, yet it's so hard to ignore them when their first-line talent goes off against contenders.||4||43-32|
|13||Capitals||We'd definitely take them over the Stars if we're talking playoffs, but they still have ground to make up.||1||48-26|
|14||Wild||This is only a mildly impressive No. 14. Let's see if Victor Rask can really settle in and make a difference.||1||37-36|
|15||Blue Jackets||Are we finally on the verge of a massive overhaul? It's probably still a few weeks away.||3||47-31|
|16||Hurricanes||We'll say it again: They tease us all the time. But if they can land a legitimate piece via trade, who's to say they can't finally make a push?||1||46-29|
|17||Flyers||Um ... maybe Carter Hart should've been starting earlier?||8||37-37|
|18||Canucks||They're still a big piece or two away from taking that next step, but the big question is whether they go for it all sooner rather than later.||2||35-36|
|19||Sabres||It'll be surprising if they don't sink lower considering the faces they're trotting out now.||1||33-39|
|20||Blues||So apparently they're still going for it. At least Ryan O'Reilly gives them hope along the way.||2||45-28|
|21||Avalanche||It feels like they've been having 3-7 stretches for weeks now. And that's because, well, they basically have.||4||38-30|
|22||Coyotes||The effort is still there, but the results just aren't good enough to warrant any deadline additions. Time to refocus once again.||3||39-35|
|23||Rangers||It's just about time to start dealing. Rangers Nation already has eyes on free agency.||2||32-36|
|24||Panthers||They made headlines by landing Derick Brassard. But let's see how long it takes until he's moved again.||1||36-32|
|25||Red Wings||At the very least, they've done a good job putting together just enough streaks to stay out of the cellar.||2||32-40|
|26||Blackhawks||Don't get too excited. Patrick Kane is doing things, and the streak is nice. But we're still in for a boatload of change.||4||36-34|
|27||Oilers||Seriously, somebody needs to shake things up here. How many years must we hype up Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl only to be left with this?||3||35-38|
|28||Devils||Cory Schneider is back. Oh boy.||2||31-41|
|29||Kings||It says something that they haven't been awful for a little while now and yet own a minus-37 goal differential.||--||31-42|
|30||Ducks||Welp. Even John Gibson isn't working anymore.||2||35-37|
|31||Senators||Deadline Day looms large. Where, oh where, will they strike a deal?||--||29-47|
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