With the trade deadline closing yesterday at 3:00 PM ET, there are now just six weeks until the Stanley Cup Playoffs start in April.
Let’s take a look at the top ten teams in the NHL at this moment.
10. Carolina Hurricanes (35-22-4):
The Hurricanes remain in the top ten after going 2-1-0 this week defeating the Predators, and Maple Leafs.
The highlight of the week was emergency goalie Dave Ayres, 42, who is a zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies coming to the rescue for Carolina after both Mrazek, and Reimer left the game due to injuries; the Hurricanes won 6-3.
Carolina sits just two points behind Columbus, and the Islanders for a Wild Card Spot in the Eastern Conference, which may come sooner rather than later as the Hurricanes are 6-3-1 in their last ten games, while Columbus is 2-3-5 in their last ten games.
The Hurricanes host the Dallas Stars tonight at 7:00 ET in their first game following the trade deadline.
9. Vegas Golden Knights (34-22-8):
There is no doubt Vegas is hot right now, and that they can only get better following the trade deadline.
The Golden Knights have won six consecutive games, and are now first in the Pacific Division.
The penalty kill is Vegas’ largest area of concern as they have the 22nd ranked penalty kill, while having a top ten ranked power play.
Adding Defenseman Alec Martinez, and solidifying their goaltender situation with Robin Lehner now as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup will certainly help Vegas on defense, as well as on the penalty kill.
Vegas will host the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night at 10:30 ET in a highly anticipated game as the Oilers sit just three points behind Vegas for first in the Pacific, however could trail Vegas by just one point come tomorrow if Edmonton defeats Anaheim tonight.
8. Philadelphia Flyers (35-20-7):
One of the most hated teams in the NHL is having a great season so far, and it must be infuriating to many hockey fans.
Currently sitting third in the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers have gone 7-2-1 in their last ten games, including three consecutive wins this week over Columbus twice, and Winnipeg.
With the third best home record of 21-5-4, securing home ice is crucial to a deep playoff run this season as the Flyers are just 14-15-3 on the road.
Philadelphia hosts the San Jose Sharks tonight at 7:00 ET as they seek to climb within one point of Pittsburgh for second in the Metropolitan Division.
7. Pittsburgh Penguins (37-18-6):
After going on a bit of a hot streak, the Penguins hit a speed bump this past week going 1-3-0, and are currently sitting on three consecutive losses all in regulation.
These losses include a 4-0 shutout loss against Toronto, a 5-2 loss to Buffalo, and a 5-3 loss to division rival Washington.
Like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh needs to solidify home ice for the playoffs as they have the second best home record of 22-6-4, with a slightly better road record than the Flyers of 15-12-2.
Improving their special teams into the top ten is certainly a goal for the Penguins as both the power play, and penalty kill currently rank 11th.
Pittsburgh travels to Los Angeles to take on the Kings tomorrow night at 10:30 ET as the race for the Metropolitan Division is on between the Capitals, and Penguins.
6. Dallas Stars (36-20-6):
The Stars were definitely put in their place this past week by division rival St. Louis as the Blues defeated them 5-1.
Besides that the Stars got by this week defeating Western Conference opponents Arizona, and Chicago each by one goal.
Dallas is now 6-2-2 in their last ten games, and have proven they can win at home, or on the road with records of 19-10-2, and 17-10-4 respectively.
Despite being tied for allowing the least goals against in the NHL, Dallas needs to find a way to produce offense as the Stars have the sixth fewest goals for.
The Stars travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes tonight at 7:00 ET.
5. Washington Capitals (38-18-6):
Although Washington has gone 3-6-1 in their last ten games, the Capitals still find themselves in first place of the Metropolitan Division with 82 points.
Surprisingly the Capitals are better on the road, than at home as Washington has a road record of 21-9-1, while having a record of 17-9-5 at home.
This week started slow for Washington as they fell 4-3 in overtime to Montreal, and 3-2 to New Jersey in a game that saw Ovechkin hit 700 goals, however would end on a high note as they defeated Pittsburgh 5-3, and acquired Ilya Kovalchuk for a third round draft pick later that night.
The Capitals have the fourth best penalty kill, but need to be more efficient on the power play as they have the 13th ranked power play; hopefully Kovalchuk can provide a boost.
Washington will host the Winnipeg Jets tonight at 7:00 PM as they look to increase their lead over the Penguins for first in the division.
4. St. Louis Blues (36-17-10):
The defending Stanley Cup Champions are currently on a four game winning streak after going 1-3-2 in their previous six games.
These wins include shutout wins over New Jersey, and Arizona, an impressive 5-1 win in Dallas, and a 4-1 win in Minnesota.
St. Louis has the sixth best power play, while having the 15th ranked penalty kill.
With the Blues sitting first in the Central Division, St. Louis having home ice could dangerous come April as the Blues are 20-6-5 at home.
It is also worth remembering that the Blues will most likely be getting Tarasenko back before the playoffs start as St. Louis made no dives at a goal scorer prior to the trade deadline.
The Blues host division rival Chicago tonight at 8:00 ET; the Blackhawks sit eight points outside of a Wild Card Spot in the Western Conference, and have gone 2-6-2 in their last ten games.
3. Colorado Avalanche (36-18-7):
The Avalanche are playing solid hockey right now, and pose a threat to any team come April in a seven game series.
Colorado is now 7-2-1 in their last ten, and have won three consecutive games with wins over the Islanders, Anaheim, and Los Angeles.
This has led the Avalanche to get just three points behind St. Louis for first in the Central Division.
In all reality, home ice may not be a crucial factor to this team as Colorado has proven they can win anywhere, going 16-9-5 at home, and 20-9-2 on the road.
Special teams however is certainly an area of concern as the Avalanche have the 19th ranked power play, and 18th ranked penalty kill.
Most impressively, Colorado has the third best goal differential of plus-46, largely due from having the fifth most goals for (212), and the third least goals against (166).
Colorado will host the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night at 8:00 ET in their first game following the trade deadline.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (40-17-5):
Following their eleven game winning streak, the Lightning suffered consecutive losses to Pacific Division opponents, Vegas (5-3), and Arizona (7-3).
Tampa Bay currently sits second in the league, five points behind Boston, yet have the best goal differential in the league of plus-50, largely due to having the most goals for of 221.
Add to the mix the fourth ranked power play, and seventh ranked penalty kill, Tampa Bay is ready for another shot at a deep playoff run; hopefully it ends better than last year’s attempt.
Tampa Bay hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at 7:00 ET, which could possibly be a sneak peek of a playoff series as the Lightning sit second in the Atlantic Division, and Toronto sits in third place of the Atlantic Division.
1. Boston Bruins (39-12-12):
After a few weeks of falling off the top of the power rankings, Boston finds themselves back on top.
The Bruins are 8-2-0 in their last ten games, including five wins in their last six games.
Boston also has the second best power play, third best penalty kill, along with the second best goal differential of plus-49.
Defeating Boston is going to be extremely difficult as the Bruins have allowed the fewest goals against of 159, and have scored the sixth most goals for of 208, 45 coming from David Pastrnak who leads the league in goals.
The Bruins have the best home record of 21-2-9, while at the same time having the fourth best road record of 18-10-3.
A few impressive stats worth noting is that Boston has both the most regulation, and regulation/overtime wins with 34, and 39 respectively, and has by far the best point percentage of .714 (Tampa Bay is in second with .685).
The Bruins will look to continue their dominant season tonight as they host the Calgary Flames at 7:00 ET; this is the first home game for the Bruins since Boston went on a four game road trip in which they went 3-1-0 defeating the Rangers, Edmonton, and Calgary.
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