With about a week and a half remaining in the NHL Regular Season, let’s take a look at how the top ten teams in the NHL stack up at the moment.
10. Toronto Maple Leafs:
Dropping a few spots again this week, the Maple Leafs are 4-4-2 in their last ten games, and are currently in third place in the Atlantic Division.
Toronto displayed in their 7-5 win over Florida their offensive ability, however allowing five goals against the Panthers shows their ability to give up goals as well.
An overtime loss to the New York Rangers does not help their case this week either.
The Maple Leafs will take on the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at 7:00 in Philadelphia; Toronto is 22-11-4 on the road.
9. Montreal Canadiens:
The Canadiens are playing some of their best hockey this season as they sit in the second Wild Card spot with 90 points, and are coming off a solid 6-1 win over Florida.
Going 3-0-1 in the past week, Montreal defeated the Islanders 4-0, the Sabres 7-4, lost in overtime to the Hurricanes 2-1, and then beat the Panthers 6-1 as mentioned above.
Just two points ahead of Columbus in the standings, the two teams will face off tomorrow night in Columbus at 7:00 PM ET.
8. Carolina Hurricanes:
Carolina is riding the storm surge as they sit in the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference at 91 points.
Despite losing to two of the top teams, Tampa Bay 6-3 and Washington 4-1, the Hurricanes still came away this week with a 5-1 win over Minnesota, and 2-1 overtime win over Montreal.
With three of their last six games remaining against playoff teams, Carolina will certainly have to prove they can beat contenders if they want to be taken seriously heading into the first round.
Carolina will look to avenge last night’s loss to Washington as they take on the Capitals again tomorrow night at 7:00 PM ET in Carolina.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins:
Despite Malkin, Maatta, Rust, Letang, and Aston-Reese all facing injuries, the Penguins are now in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 95 points.
After losing to the Flyers in overtime, and then the Hurricanes in a shootout, Pittsburgh has won their last three games.
This includes a 2-1 shootout win over Nashville, a 3-2 win over Dallas, and a 5-2 win over division foe the Rangers.
With the fifth best power play in the league, if the Penguins can get any healthier in their last five games, Pittsburgh is no team to take lightly in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh will host the Predators Friday night at 7:00 PM ET.
6. St. Louis Blues:
Making a huge step up this week are the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues have got a point out of each of their last six games, and have won four consecutive games, including a 7-2 win over Edmonton, a 5-2 win over Detroit, a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay, and a 3-1 win over Vegas.
St. Louis is just two points behind Nashville, and just four points behind the Jets for first place in the Central Division as they travel to take on the Rangers in New York Friday night at 7:00 PM ET.
Five of the Blues last six games are against non-playoff teams right now.
5. Vegas Golden Knights:
There is no doubt that Vegas is the hottest team in the league right now.
Going 7-2-1 in their last ten games, Vegas is third in the Pacific Division just five points behind the Sharks who are on a six game losing streak.
Vegas’ best bet is to find a way to sneak into that second seed in the Pacific Division as the Golden Knights are just 19-18-1 on road, however are 23-10-5 at home.
This is definitely manageable due to the fact that only one opponent in their last six games holds a playoff spot right now and that is San Jose.
Vegas will take on Colorado tonight at 10:00 PM ET.
4. Calgary Flames:
The Flames are in first place in the Western Conference with 101 points, however are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
Calgary does have the second best goal differential in the league with a differential of plus-55.
With four of their last six opponents not holding a playoff spot right now, and the Flames already solidified a playoff spot, a few nights off for some players may not be a bad idea heading into the first round.
3. Washington Capitals:
The defending champs are ready to start their playoff run in attempt of a repeat.
Going 6-3-1 in their last ten games, the Capitals are first in the Metropolitan Division with 98 points, and are coming off an important 4-1 win over the Hurricanes.
With the tenth best power play in the league, and the ability to win at home and on the road, Washington is definitely gearing up for another deep playoff run.
The Capitals and Hurricanes will face off again tomorrow night at 7:00 PM ET in Carolina.
2. Boston Bruins:
The Bruins have gone 6-4-0 in their last ten and are coming off a 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay in which they had a two goal third period lead; this comes after the Bruins defeated the Lightning 4-1 earlier in March in Boston.
With a dominant 28-7-3 home record, Boston also has the third best goal differential with a differential of plus-43, third best power play, and tenth best penalty kill.
With a five point lead over third place Toronto, Boston will look to bounce back from their loss to Tampa Bay as they take on the Rangers tonight at 7:30 PM ET at home.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning:
After their 5-4 win over the Bruins, Tampa Bay displayed their explosiveness on offense by scoring three third period goals to come away with the win.
In 77 games the Lightning now have 122 points, and a league best goal differential of plus-100.
Going 8-2-0 in their last ten games, Tampa Bay will face off against the Washington Capitals Saturday at 7:00 PM ET in what could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals.
If Tampa Bay wins out, they will tie the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens for most points in a season at 132; however in that era the Regular Season was just 80 games, and there were no overtime or shootout wins just ties.
Photo Source: http://www.bleacherreport.com
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