We are now officially half way through the NHL Regular Season, and it has certainly lived up to all the hype.
With the NHL All-Star Weekend set for two weeks from today, let’s take a look at how the top ten teams in the league stack up.
10. Edmonton Oilers (24-17-5):
After roughly a month of falling out of the top ten, the Oilers are back.
Going 5-4-1 in their last ten games, Edmonton is currently sitting on three consecutive wins; all on the road over Boston, Toronto, and Montreal.
With the league’s best power play unit, and sixth best penalty kill unit, Edmonton simply finds a way to win games even if they aren’t pretty.
The Battle of Alberta is renewed tonight as Edmonton hosts the Calgary Flames at 10:00 PM ET, as they look to win four consecutive games, and remain in the top three of the Pacific Division.
9. Carolina Hurricanes (26-16-2):
Carolina is finding a way to survive in the heavily contested Metropolitan Division, which currently holds both Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference.
Sitting on back-to-back wins over Philadelphia, and Arizona the Hurricanes are 5-5-0 in their last ten games, and have a goal differential of plus-25.
Carolina hosts the Los Angeles Kings tonight at 7:00 PM ET, as they look to find their way into the third seed of the Metropolitan Division.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs (24-15-6):
Despite not having the best week, Toronto remains in the top ten.
This week saw losses to the Jets, and Oilers in regulation, a shootout loss to the Jets yet again, along with a 3-0 win over the Islanders.
Toronto is excellent on the power play with the league’s sixth best unit, however struggles on the penalty kill as they currently sit 25th in the league.
The Maple Leafs look to avoid losing three straight games as they take on the Panthers in Florida tomorrow at 7:00 PM ET.
7. Dallas Stars (26-14-4):
There’s no other way around it, the Dallas Stars are scary good right now.
Currently on a six game winning streak, the Stars are 7-3-0 in their last ten games, and have allowed the least goals against in the league with 103.
The only area Dallas could improve in is scoring goals, as the Stars sit 25th in the league in goals for, and 15th in the league on the power play.
In an attempt to extend their winning streak to seven, the Stars head to San Jose to take on the Sharks tonight at 10:30 PM ET.
6. New York Islanders (27-12-3):
Like the Stars, the Islanders are another great Defensive team that sits in a great spot as of right now.
The most impressive win this week for New York was their 1-0 win over the Avalanche.
Special teams is definitely an area of concern if the Islanders want to compete night after night with the league’s top teams. The Islanders have the 17th, and 14th ranked power play, and penalty kill respectively.
New York has another test tonight as they host the Boston Bruins at 7:00 PM ET as both teams look to win their third consecutive game.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (26-13-4):
Well the Tampa Bay Lightning are definitely looking like last year’s team as they have quickly climbed the standings to second place in the Atlantic Division, and sixth overall.
The Lightning have won nine consecutive games, and now have the second best goal differential of plus-33.
Even on special teams Tampa Bay is solid with the second best power play, and eighth best penalty kill unit.
The only thing worth noting about their nine game winning streak is that only two of those wins were against teams that hold a playoff spot.
Tampa Bay travels to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers tonight, who currently sit in the second Wild Card Spot.
4. St. Louis Blues (28-10-7):
The Blues just keep having a great title defending season, 7-2-1 in their last ten games, and first in the Western Conference by seven points.
Despite a 7-3 loss to Colorado, the Blues bounced back with a 3-2 win over San Jose, and a 5-1 win over Buffalo.
With the fifth best power play, and twelfth best penalty kill, St. Louis is solid on special teams.
The Blues, and Jordan Binnington will take on the Rangers at home tonight in attempt of winning three straight games.
3. Washington Capitals (30-10-5):
Sitting in first place overall, the Capitals have gone a little stagnant as of late with a record of 6-4-0 in their last ten.
This week saw Washington end with a 6-1 win over Ottawa, although would fall to Division rival Philadelphia 3-2.
An interesting goalie battle is unfolding between Holtby, and Samsonov which will be great to follow as the playoffs approach us in roughly three months.
Washington hosts Division foe New Jersey tonight at 7:00 PM ET.
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (27-12-5):
No other team has been as injury riddled as the Penguins this season, however Pittsburgh has still found a way into the top teams of the NHL.
In their last ten games the Penguins are 7-2-1, have won back-to-back games, and sit second in the Metropolitan Division.
Pittsburgh has even done this without having neither a top ten power play nor a top ten penalty kill (22nd, and 14th respectively).
The Penguins travel to Arizona to take on former teammate, Phil Kessel, and the Coyotes at 6:00 PM ET.
1. Boston Bruins (26-8-11):
Despite hitting a rough patch the past few weeks, the Bruins still are the best team in the NHL.
Going 5-1-4 in their last ten games, Boston has the best home record of 15-2-9, the best goal differential of plus-34, along with the third best Power Play, and Penalty Kill.
In net, Rask, and Halak have been superb.
Rask has a goals against average of 2.29, and a save percentage of .924, while Halak has a save percentage of .923, and a goals against average of 2.34, with a combined five shutouts.
David Pastrnak has been on fire with a league leading 35 goals on the season, including a hat trick in Boston’s 5-4 win over Winnipeg Thursday night.
Boston will take on the Islanders in New York tonight as they look to win three consecutive games, and inch closer to the Capitals for first overall in the NHL.
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