With the NHL Trade Deadline roughly a month and a half away, the Regular Season is starting to heat up as teams have now played twenty games or so.
Let’s take a look at how the top ten teams in the NHL stack up as of right now.
10. Minnesota Wild: 12-6-0
Things appear to be going well for the Wild right now as they are currently on a six game winning streak; however when looking closer, five of those six games I would consider games that the Wild should win, with two games against both Anaheim, and Los Angeles, and games against San Jose, and Colorado in the middle.
It is worth noting though that Minnesota did outscore those opponents by a combined total of 27-10.
Minnesota has a test tonight as they face Vegas, who is just one point ahead of the Wild in the standings.
9. Washington Capitals: 12-5-4
The Capitals had a solid end to their week as they have now won three straight games (5-2 vs Pittsburgh, along with back to back wins over the Devils 5-2, and 3-2).
Washington has two days off then face the Bruins on Wednesday and Friday with the two teams separated in the standings by just two points.
Despite putting up 73 goals for, the Capitals have also allowed 69 goals giving Washington just a plus-4 goal differential; not necessarily the number you’re looking for from a team considered to be a contender by many.
8. Carolina Hurricanes: 13-6-1
Carolina right now looks just how they should, sitting just two points out of first place in the Central Division.
The Hurricanes have played twenty games with just eight of them at home yet have a 6-1-1 home record, and a record of 7-5-0 on the road.
Taking on Florida tonight at 7:00 ET, Carolina will look to win again against the Panthers, this time hopefully in regulation as the Hurricanes have won four games in shootouts already.
7. Winnipeg Jets: 13-6-1
Winnipeg is rolling right now having won four consecutive games with two wins over both Vancouver, and Montreal.
In the next six days, the Jets play four more games, once again two against Vancouver, and two against Montreal.
Special teams is an area the Jets can improve in with the 14th ranked Power Play, and the 13th ranked Penalty Kill.
6. Boston Bruins: 12-5-2
Following Boston’s 7-3 rout over Philadelphia at Lake Tahoe, the Bruins suffered back to back losses to the Islander, and Rangers being outscored by a combined total of 13-4.
However the Bruins were able to end the week on a high note, defeating the Rangers 4-1 in a Sunday matinee.
Boston has two days off then takes on Washington Wednesday, and Friday as the Perfection Line will look to add to their combined total of 61 points in 19 games this season, and take back first place in the Atlantic Division.
5. Philadelphia Flyers: 11-4-3
Despite sitting in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, the Flyers have the fifth best win percentage in the NHL.
Currently on a three game winning streak with a 4-3 win over the Rangers, and back to back shutout wins over the Sabres 3-0.
In my opinion, the Flyers, and Bruins could be swapped, however what gives Philadelphia the edge right now is the fact that Boston is 6-4-0 in their last ten games, compared to the Flyers being 6-2-2 in their last ten games.
Philadelphia will take on their inner-state rival Pittsburgh tomorrow at 7:00 PM ET as they look to make it four consecutive wins.
4. Florida Panthers: 13-4-3
If you told me at the start of the season that the two Florida teams would be tied for first place in the Central Division twenty games into the season I would most likely laugh, and say you are crazy.
But here we are with two of the top three spots in the NHL Standings being occupied by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers with Huberdeau, Barkov, and Hornqvist combining for a total of 63 points.
The Panthers will take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at 7:00 ET as they look to avenge their 4-3 shootout loss to Carolina Saturday.
3. Vegas Golden Knights: 12-4-1
Despite only playing 17 games thus far, the Golden Knights have looked sharp as they post the league’s third best win percentage.
Marc-Andre Fleury has stood on his head in the twelve games he has started, winning nine of them earning himself a save percentage of .941, a goals against average of 1.59 and three shutouts.
Coming off back to back wins (a 3-0 win over Colorado, and a 3-2 win over Anaheim), Vegas takes on Minnesota tonight as they look to continue their dominance in the West Division.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs: 16-4-2
The Maple Leafs continue to dominate the North Division as they have a goal differential of plus-23, and have found ways to win whether it be at home, or on the road with a 9-3-1 home record, and a 7-1-1 road record.
It is worth noting that Toronto has played 22 games already, more than any other team in the top ten.
Auston Matthews leads the league in goals with 18, while Mitch Marner has added 32 points as well.
Toronto takes on Edmonton tonight at 10:00 ET, as they look to continue to increase their stronghold over the rest of the North Division.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning: 14-4-1
The defending Stanley Cup Champions have shown no signs of a “Stanley Cup hangover” as they currently have won four consecutive games, outscoring their opponents by a total of 15-3.
Currently with a plus-30 goal differential, best in the NHL, the Lightning have allowed just 39 goals against in 19 games.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy can be given a lot of credit for this with a save percentage of .938, a goals against average of 1.75, along with recording two shutouts in twelve of his wins thus far.
Tampa Bay is 9-1-0 at home, and 5-3-1 on the road.
Taking on Dallas tomorrow night at 8:30 ET, the Lightning will look to make it five straight wins.
Photo Source: http://www.chronicleonline.com
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