Nashville Predators knock Montreal Canadiens out of top spot in SI.com's NHL Power Rankings.
We've presented the 30 teams in groups, with the Top 10 receiving the most trenchant commentary. Overview paragraphs precede the Middle 10 and Bottom 10. Weekly movement up or down has been noted. So without further ado, commence to stew!
Detroit hasn’t played consecutive games without securing a point all season. That’s how these Red Wings have been this season: never too high, nor too low. They seem to plug people into different situations almost seamlessly, and now they'll count on backup keeper Petr Mrazek with starter Jimmy Howard out for two-to-four weeks due to a groin tear.
The Bruins and Kings remain on the cusp of the playoffs, a surge away from giving themselves some breathing room and a slump away from needing oxygen tanks to keep their postseason hopes alive. It's probably not a coincidence that Boston is on a 7-2-3 roll since getting top defenseman Zdeno Chara and first-line center David Krejci back in the lineup after long spells on IR. No fluke either that the Bruins have won three straight since being put on notice by new CEO Charlie Jacobs last week. Maybe that's fear or maybe the gears are starting to mesh. To their credit, they're playing something closer to Bruins hockey lately than they have all season.
The tragic hilarity of the Canucks having everything but their goaltending come together this season was underscored by Roberto Luongo's bittersweet return to Vancouver last week ...
In Toronto, the Maple Leafs finally have a new victim behind the bench in Peter Horachek, who is trying find a balance. His team has been giving up fewer shots (66 total in their last three games) and goalie Jonathan Bernier, who had been facing 33 per night, has to be happy about that. Now they just have to figure out how to score in their new system and win on the road where they are 2-7-0 in their last nine away outings.
To think the Wild were in Sam Page's Top 10 earlier this season. But this feels like the week where they either stop the bleeding or raise the white flag. Minnesota has just two wins in its last 10 games and outside of a good effort against Chicago, the Wild's pulse has been hard to detect in most of their recent losses. No one's expecting much from their game against the Penguins, but they need to wring four points out of Buffalo and Arizona. Anything less and big changes could be coming.
Down in the cellar, the Sabres seem to have upped their pursuit of Connor McDavid again, and this time there may be little to stop them as the Oilers are showing signs of life.