Tuesday March 22nd, 2016

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After extending their points streak to seven games (6-0-1), the Kings were poised to take over top spot in this week's Power Rankings ... until they went to Nashville and had their doors blown off by the Predators on Monday night. Both teams earned a bump, but it was the Preds and their rapacious possession game that made the biggest impression. While still defined by airtight defense, Nashville has become equally dominant with the puck, setting itself up to be a dangerous playoff opponent.​

Biggest jump: Pittsburgh Penguins (12 to 4)

Biggest drop: New York Islanders (9 to 17)

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HOW THEY STACK UP AFTER WEEK 24
 
  • 1
    1Washington Capitals
     
    last week: 1
    record: 51-15-5
    Maybe being routed by the Penguins on Sunday could be written off as just another bad day at the office, but slow starts have to be a concern for coach Barry Trotz. The Caps spotted Pittsburgh a 2–0 lead on the way to that 6–2 defeat, the 15th time in their past 18 games that their opponent has scored first. Last week: 2-1-0

  • 2
    2Nashville Predators
     
    last week: 3
    record: 37-23-13
    Filip Forsberg is quietly putting together one of the best offensive seasons in franchise history. His goal in Monday's 5–2 win over the Kings was his 30th of the season, leaving him just three behind Jason Arnott's record of 33. Forsberg has scored 16 times since Feb. 6, tops in the league during that span. Last week: 2-1-0

  • 3
    3Los Angeles Kings
     
    last week: 5
    record: 44-23-5
    Jonathan Quick was pulled after allowing three goals on just 17 shots in Monday's dismal 5–2 loss to the Preds, but that was a rare off night for the Kings keeper. Quick had gone 5-0-1 with a 1.63 goals-against average over his six prior appearances and looks to be in top form heading into the playoffs. Last week: 3-1-0

  • 4
    4Pittsburgh Penguins
     
    last week: 12
    record: 40-24-8
    Sunday's convincing win over the Caps made it six straight wins for the Pens, and five in a row since losing Evgeni Malkin to injury. Sidney Crosby has put the team on his back, stringing together a 12-game points streak (6-14-20) while making like Patrice Bergeron in the defensive zone. Last week: 4-0-0

  • 5
    5San Jose Sharks
     
    last week: 8
    record: 41-25-6
    James Reimer seems like a nice fit in San Jose, eh? The former Maple Leaf has allowed just one even-strength goal on 83 shots over his first four appearances with the Sharks, giving coach Pete DeBoer a reliable option to starter Martin Jones. Last week: 3-1-0

  • 6
    6Anaheim Ducks
     
    last week: 2
    record: 40-22-9
    Anaheim's penalty kill is a thing to be feared. After killing off all three power plays in Sunday's 3–2 OT win over the Jets, the Ducks had gone seven games and 20 short-handed situations without allowing a goal. Their PK sits first in the league at 87.3%. Last week: 2-1-0

  • 7
    7St. Louis Blues
     
    last week: 4
    record: 42-22-9
    Robby Fabbri isn't generating much Calder Trophy buzz, but he's putting together a terrific rookie season nonetheless. The speedy winger has 17 points in 21 games since the All-Star break, tying him for the team lead, and his 27 even-strength points are tied for sixth among all rookie scorers. Last week: 1-1-0

  • 8
    8Philadelphia Flyers
     
    last week: 10
    record: 35-24-12
    The Flyers kicked off a critical four-game road swing with a dominant 4–1 win over the Isles on Monday. Philly is now are 5-1-2 in its past eight road games, and looks primed to grab one of the East's two wild-card berths. Last week: 3-1-0

  • 9
    9Dallas Stars
     
    last week: 11
    record: 43-21-9
    The Stars wrapped up a 3-1-1 homestand that featured at least a hint of the defensive play that powered their early-season success, but it also cost them the services of Tyler Seguin (torn Achilles) for the remainder of the regular season. They now play five of their next seven on the road, a stretch that will test their hold on top spot in the Central Division. Last week: 2-1-0

  • 10
    10Tampa Bay Lightning
     
    last week: 7
    record: 41-26-5
    Congrats to Ben Bishop, who earned his 15th shutout in a Tampa Bay uniform in Saturday's 2–0 victory at Arizona. That was his second whitewashing in his past three appearances, moving him past Nikolai Khabibulin for most shutouts in franchise history. Last week: 1-2-0

  • 11
    11Chicago Blackhawks
     
    last week: 13
    record: 42-24-7
    After dropping a 3–2 decision to the Wild on Sunday, Chicago is 0-6-3 in its past nine meetings with Western Conference playoff contenders. With the Predators closing in on third place, the Hawks need to find some traction, and fast. Last week: 1-1-1

  • 12
    12Boston Bruins
     
    last week: 6
    record: 39-26-8
    The good news for the Bruins: They won't have to play another California team this season unless they make it to the Stanley Cup Final. The B's dropped all three games on last week's West Coast trip and went 0-6 against Golden State squads this season, getting outscored 29-11 in the process. Last week: 0-3-0

  • 13
    13New York Rangers
     
    last week: 12
    record: 41-24-8
    After dropping four of five, the Rangers finally had something to celebrate in Monday's 4–2 win over the Panthers. Henrik Lundqvist earned his first victory since Feb. 27, Rick Nash scored his first goal in 16 games, and the defense managed to avoid looking like a turnstile. It's just one game, but it might give them something to build on. Last week: 2-1-1

  • 14
    14Florida Panthers
     
    last week: 15
    record: 40-24-9
    Is Roberto Luongo starting to wear down? The veteran keeper has posted a save percentage below .900 in three of his past four appearances. In two of them, the Panthers blew a two-goal lead on the way to a painful loss. It won't be a surprise to see a bit more of Al Montoya down the stretch. Last week: 2-2-0

  • 15
    15Colorado Avalanche
     
    last week: 18
    record: 38-31-4
    After dropping the opener in Winnipeg, the Avs reeled off three consecutive wins to finish their four-game swing through Western Canada with a solid 3-1 mark. That was a nice fill-in performance from Calvin Pickard in Sunday's win over the Oilers. He's posted a save percentage of .921 or higher in each of his past four appearances. Last week: 3-0-0

  • 16
    16Detroit Red Wings
     
    last week: 16
    record: 36-25-11
    The Wings embarrassed themselves in that loss to the Flyers on Tuesday, but showed some character by taking the next two in Columbus and Florida. Nice to see Jimmy Howard step up to backstop both of those wins. It's been a disappointing season for the veteran keeper, but he made the most of his opportunity while Petr Mrazek was sidelined by the flu. Last week: 2-1-0

  • 17
    17New York Islanders
     
    last week: 9
    record: 38-24-9
    Two weeks ago, the Isles were sitting pretty in the standings. Now? Four straight losses have left them clinging to a wild-card berth, with just three points separating them from ninth-place Philadelphia, the team that whipped them, 4–1, on Monday night. New York has scored only 11 goals its past seven games. Time for vcaptain John Tavares (goal-less in five) to step up. Last week: 0-3-1

  • 18
    18Minnesota Wild
     
    last week: 17
    record: 34-28-11
    If the Wild make the cut this season, they'll be able to look back on their 4–0 mark against the defending Stanley Cup champs as the difference. Their 3–2 shootout win over the Blackhawks on Sunday stands as their biggest of the season ... at least until they meet up with the Avalanche on Sunday and Chicago for the final time next Tuesday. Last week: 2-1-0

  • 19
    19Ottawa Senators
     
    last week: 20
    record: 34-31-8
    You know the cliché. An injury to one player creates an opportunity for another. When Kyle Turris went down with a high ankle sprain last month, J-G Pageau stepped up into the No. 1 center slot. The 23-year-old has performed well, tallying 13 points in his past 15 games. His goal on Saturday was the game-winner in a 5–0 spanking of the Canadiens as well as his league-leading sixth shortie of the season. Last week: 2-1-0

  • 20
    20Carolina Hurricanes
     
    last week: 19
    record: 31-27-14
    Their playoff hopes haven't yet been officially put to bed, but last week made it clear there would be no miracle run to the finish line. They're banking points in extra time but have only one regulation win so far this month ... and that was back on March 1. Last week: 0-1-2

  • 21
    21New Jersey Devils
     
    last week: 25
    record: 35-31-7
    Amazing what a change of scenery can do for some players. In the nine games since being acquired from Montreal at the deadline, Devante Smith-Pelly has put up seven goals for the Devils. Two of those counted for game winners, including his third-period marker in Sunday's 2–1 win over the Jackets. Nice timing for a kid who becomes an RFA on July 1. Last week: 2-1-0

  • 22
    22Buffalo Sabres
     
    last week: 23
    record: 29-34-10
    The Sabres brought a nice asset into the fold on Monday, signing power forward Hudson Fasching to an entry-level deal. The 6' 2", 216-pound junior winger scored 20 goals and 38 points in 37 games with the Minnesota Gophers this season. He could see top-six ice time in Buffalo's final nine games. Last week: 1-1-1

  • 23
    23Montreal Canadiens
     
    last week: 21
    record: 33-34-6
    There's no way to polish the fact that the Habs were smoked by Ottawa and Calgary by a cumulative score of 9–1 over the weekend. Sure, they had 11 players on IR, but you'd like to see a little more fight out of the guys who were lucky enough to be there wearing La Sainte Flanelle. Last week: 1-2-1

  • 24
    24Edmonton Oilers
     
    last week: 24
    record: 29-39-7
    The Oilers were officially eliminated from playoff contention over the weekend, making it an even decade since their last postseason appearance. What else is there to say? Last week: 2-1-0

  • 25
    25Calgary Flames
     
    last week: 28
    record: 31-36-6
    The Flames appear intent on salvaging a little dignity down the stretch, going 5-2-2 in their past nine games. Nice to see Niklas Backstrom earn the win over the Habs on Sunday. It was the veteran keeper's first appearance in 14 months, and he looked pretty salty. Should be a good one on Thursday when he faces his former team, the Wild, for the first time. Last week: 2-1-1

  • 26
    26Columbus Blue Jackets
     
    last week: 22
    record: 29-35-8
    It's been feast or famine for Columbus's offense this month. The Jackets have scored at least five goals in three of their eight games played so far, but they've also been held to one or fewer in four others. It took a power play goal from Alexander Wennberg late in Thursday's 3–1 loss to Detroit to end a franchise record home scoreless streak at 156 minutes 2 seconds. Last week: 1-2-0

  • 27
    27Toronto Maple Leafs
     
    last week: 30
    record: 26-35-11
    It's nice to see the kids doing well and all, but maybe winning four of five isn't exactly in this team's best interests. This hot streak has pulled the Leafs to within one point of 29th place Winnipeg, a spot that would cut their chances to land Auston Matthews from 20% to 13.5%. Last week: 3-1-0

  • 28
    arizona Coyotes
     
    last week: 29
    record: 31-34-7
    Shut out twice in a row over the weekend, the Coyotes are running on empty as they limp to the finish line. At least Mike Smith has given them solid goaltending since his return from IR, allowing just three goals in three games while posting a .972 save percentage. Last week: 1-2-0

  • 29
    29Vancouver Canucks
     
    last week: 26
    record: 27-32-12
    Sounds like the Canucks could be in for a summer of change: “From some guys right now, the effort is not there,” Daniel Sedin lamented. “I think those guys know who they are. I think it’s embarrassing.” This after Vancouver was shut out in back-to-back games for first time since 1998. Last week: 0-3-0

  • 30
    30Winnipeg Jets
     
    last week: 27
    record: 29-37-6
    As bad as some of the veterans have looked lately, it's nice to see some of the kids getting a chance to show what they've got. Giving Chase DeLeo, Andrew Copp, Scott Kosmachuk and Nic Petan extra ice down the stretch makes sense for the team's future ... and they might help fill some of those empty seats at the MTS Centre. Last week: 0-2-1

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