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CBS Sports

The NHL's elite Stanley Cup contenders have been pretty well established by now, but one team is trying to re-enter that conversation. The Minnesota Wild have caught fire again, and they are surging up the rankings.

Minnesota started the year off by getting trounced in the Winter Classic, but the team has been on its game since then. In the nine games since the Winter Classic, the Wild have gone 8-0-1 and now sit just one point behind the Nashville Predators for second place in the Central with five games in hand.

Since the calendar turned to 2022, the Wild are seventh in the league in five-on-five expected goals share at 54.25%. That puts them sandwiched in between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning over that stretch. Not bad company to keep.

As the Wild make their charge toward the top, here are the update NHL Power Rankings:

Biggest Movers
7 Wild
4 Lightning
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Avalanche It took a little while for them to get here, but the Avs are the terrifying juggernaut everyone thought they would be before the season started. Colorado has won 10 straight games, and the team has not lost a game in regulation since Dec. 16. That said, they will be without Nathan MacKinnon for a few games as he gets nose surgery after a devastating hit from the Bruins' Taylor Hall. -- 56-19-7
2 Panthers The Panthers are simply inevitable. No lead is safe against this team. The Sharks had two different two-goal leads in the third period, and neither ever felt safe. Once Florida decides to flip the switch, there's not much the other team can do. In that win over San Jose, Jonathan Huberdeau notched three points, and he now leads the NHL in that category with 62. -- 58-18-6
3 Hurricanes Frederik Andersen continues to make the Hurricanes look smart for ditching last season's goaltending duo and signing him. Andersen is third in goals saved above average this season with 16.47, and if he keeps playing like this, Carolina will stack up nicely against even the best teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs. 2 54-20-8
4 Maple Leafs Michael Bunting is having a special rookie season for the Maple Leafs. He had a hat trick in the team's comeback win over the Red Wings, but Bunting has been a strong creator of offense all season. Bunting's 10.07 expected goals at five-on-five rank third on the team, behind only Auston Matthews and John Tavares. 4 54-21-7
5 Wild Mats Zuccarello spoiled the jersey retirement of his good friend Henrik Lundqvist in a 3-2 comeback win over the Rangers. He had two points in that game and 18 points in his last 11 games. Zuccarello's hot streak is a big reason why the Wild have started to roll again recently. 7 53-22-7
6 Penguins This was not the strongest week for the Penguins, but every team experiences some hiccups in the regular season. What's more important is that Brian Boyle is still scoring between-the-legs goals at the age of 37. Of course, it came against the Coyotes, so maybe he only gets half credit. 2 46-25-11
7 Lightning Alex Killorn is quietly having the best statistical season of his 10-year NHL career. The veteran forward has 40 points in 45 games, and he only needs 10 more to set a new career high. There are some reasons to believe this pace won't be sustainable for Killorn over 82 games, like an unusually high shooting percentage, but he is playing a major role for this Lightning team right now. 4 51-23-8
8 Golden Knights With games against the Capitals, Hurricanes, Panthers and Lightning, the level of difficulty was high for Vegas last week. Coming out of that gauntlet with a 2-1-1 record is better than most teams would fare. The Golden Knights just haven't been able to get going at all in 2022 as they have gone 4-4-3 since Jan. 1. 3 43-31-8
9 Rangers I have been critical of the Rangers' lackluster five-on-five numbers all season, but they flipped the script against the Blue Jackets. The Rangers controlled 69.60% of the expected goals at five-on-five in a pretty dominant effort against Columbus. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they lost that game. That's what happens when Alexandar Georgiev starts over Igor Shesterkin. 2 52-24-6
10 Bruins It's going to take some time for Tuukka Rask to get back in the swing of things for the Bruins. After missing the first half of the season, Rask has started in four games. He has surrendered five goals twice already, and he has allowed 5.78 goals above expected. 4 51-26-5
11 Predators In his first two seasons as a Predator, which spanned 100 games, Matt Duchene scored a combined 19 goals. In 41 games played this year, Duchene has already found the back of the net 21 times. Duchene's insanely high 17.5% shooting percentage is driving some of that success, but he was due for some good luck after some bad bounces in the two years prior. 1 45-30-7
12 Blues The goaltending situation in St. Louis has gotten very interesting all the sudden. With Jordan Binnington slumping, the Blues have given Ville Husso some run in net, and it has worked out tremendously. Since Jan. 7, when he started to play more frequently, Husso has saved 10.73 goals above average, which is far away the best mark in the NHL over that span. 3 49-22-11
13 Flames The Flames scored six goals against Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, and he didn't look all that bad. That's because Calgary put a jaw-dropping 62 shots on the Columbus netminder. I'm not sure whether that says more about the Flames or the Blue Jackets, but it was impressive either way. 5 50-21-11
14 Stars Joe Pavelski has never quite played at a point-per-game pace, but that is exactly what he's doing at age 37. He has 19 goals and 29 assists in 42 games, and he has excellent chemistry with Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson. Now Dallas must decide what to do with Pavelski, a pending UFA. The team has gotten itself back in the playoff race with a 5-1-0 run. -- 46-30-6
15 Capitals Washington may need to upgrade its goaltending situation before the trade deadline, and Marc-Andre Fleury is reportedly a target for the Capitals. I can think of nothing less offputting than seeing Fleury suit up for a team he terrorized for so many years. 2 44-26-12
16 Ducks The Ducks have been getting out-chanced on a regular basis, but they are still 4-0-1 in the last five games. That's because John Gibson has been doing what he loves to do most, which is steal games for Anaheim. He has stopped 4.70 goals above average at five-on-five since Jan. 1 1 31-37-14
17 Oilers Have the Oilers found their mojo again? It's starting to seem that way. Edmonton has now won four games in a row, and Connor McDavid made Vezina Trophy contender Juuse Saros look downright foolish in a shootout win over the Predators. 4 49-27-6
18 Kings Quinton Byfield, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, tallied his first career goals in a win over the New York Islanders. Hopes were high for Byfield entering the 2021-22 season, but he suffered an ankle fracture in the preseason. Now that he's healthy, it will be interesting to see how much he can contribute for the Kings as they make a playoff push. 2 44-27-11
19 Canucks The Canucks have cooled off after a hot start under Bruce Boudreau, but J.T. Miller has not. After his hat trick against the Jets, Miller now has eight points in his last five games. There have not been too many positives in Vancouver this season, but he has been one of them. -- 40-30-12
20 Islanders The Islanders' offense has been toothless for a lot of the season, but Ilya Sorokin has been strong in net. In fact, he might even be in the Vezina Trophy conversation by the time the season is over. Sorokin is eighth in the NHL in goals saved above average at five-on-five (8.75). 3 37-35-10
21 Jets Winnipeg has struggled of late, and that's no surprise when you look at Connor Hellebuyck's recent performance. In the month of January, Hellebuyck allowed 3.62 goals above expected. Considering how much the Jets rely on Hellebuyck, they can't afford for him to go cold, especially considering their current position in the standings. 1 39-32-11
22 Sharks Erik Karlsson will miss an extended period of time after undergoing surgery to repair an arm injury. Karlsson was in the midst of a resurgent season with 26 points in 33 games, and the team controlled 55.75% of the expected goals with him on the ice at five-on-five. 1 32-37-13
23 Blue Jackets Columbus was on the receiving end of one of the most thorough beatings of the entire season. The Blue Jackets surrendered 62 shots on goal and 4.73 expected goals in a 6-0 loss to the Flames. 4 37-38-7
24 Kraken As the trade deadline approaches, the Kraken have some intriguing players on their roster.Defenseman Mark Giordano is one of them. By his own standards, the veteran defenseman is having a bit of a down season, but he could still be a big help for any Stanley Cup contender. 2 27-49-6
25 Blackhawks Even though the Blackhawks have been mired in misery for much of the season, Alex DeBrincat is pacing for just under 50 goals this season. He may very well top his career high of 41 goals from the 2018-19 season. -- 28-42-12
26 Red Wings Detroit went 1-2-0 last week, and the team coughed up a 4-2 lead against the Maple Leafs. Despite that result, Tyler Bertuzzi showed a lot of promise in goal by making back-to-back saves in the empty-net situation. 2 32-40-10
27 Senators The Senators will now be without leading scorer Drake Batherson for an extended period of time after he was dumped into the boards by Sabres goalie Aaron Dell. A tough season gets even tougher in Ottawa. 1 33-42-7
28 Flyers Philadelphia finally ended its losing streak at 13 games with an overtime win over the Kings. The Flyers' first win in January will also be their only win in January. Maybe February will be kinder to Philly. 4 25-46-11
29 Devils New Jersey has lost four games in a row and is now dead last in the Metro Division behind a team that just ended a 13-game winless streak. After a promising offseason, the wheels have come off for the Devils just halfway through the year. -- 27-46-9
30 Sabres Goaltender Aaron Dell got suspended three games for injuring Ottawa's Drake Batherson with a dirty hit, and he was promptly placed on waivers by the team. Then, the Sabres accidentally won a game against the Coyotes. It was not a banner week in Buffalo. -- 32-39-11
31 Coyotes The Coyotes went 0-3-0 last week, and reports indicate that they are getting closer to playing their home games at Arizona State for the next few years. If there is any needle in the haystack of dysfunction, it's that Arizona improved its draft lottery odds by losing to the Sabres. 3 25-50-7
32 Canadiens It is tough to fall below a team that may well play its home games at a college arena in the near future, but that is how bad this week was for the Canadiens. Montreal allowed 26 goals over four games as the goaltending duo of Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau got shelled. 1 22-49-11