For the third straight week, the Nashville Predators hold the top spot in SI.com's NHL Power Rankings.

By The SI Staff
February 24, 2015

Welcome to the newest installment of our 2014–15 NHL Power Rankings. For the third straight week, the Predators hold the top spot, the second time in a row they've been our unanimous choice. But there's been some scuttling about below, particularly the rise into the top 10 of the reigning Stanley Cup champions who seem to making one of their patented late season charges after sleepwalking through much of the schedule.

Our three sage scribes—Allan Muir, Sarah Kwak and Sam Page—lovingly submitted their detailed choices for the top 10 and ranked all 30 teams. Our final order has been carefully weighted according to results on the ice during the week, strength of competition, a quick glimpse at the tea leaves (future schedule, injuries), spiritual guidance from The Great Beyond via our ouijaboard handcrafted from old WHA sticks, a coin toss or two, and how high each club came in on each of our writers’ ballots. In some cases another purely intuitive, wholly unscientific and certifiably criminal method was used to break ties, rank teams that were chosen by only one or two writers, and make veins bulge on your forehead and neck.

We’ve presented the 30 teams in groups, with the Top 10 receiving the most trenchant commentary. Overview paragraphs precede both the Middle 10 and Bottom 10. Weekly movement up or down has been duly noted. So without further ado, commence to stew!

1
Nashville Predators
1
40-13-7
Last week: 2-1-1
2
St. Louis Blues
2
38-17-4
Last week: 1-2-0
3
Montreal Canadiens
3
38-16-5
Last week: 1-1-1
4
New York Rangers
5
36-16-6
Last week: 2-0-1
5
Anaheim Ducks
8
38-16-7
Last week: 3-1-0
6
Tampa Bay Lightning
7
37-19-6
Last week: 2-1-0
7
Chicago Blackhawks
4
35-20-5
Last week: 0-2-1
8
New York Islanders
6
39-20-2
Last week: 2-1-1
9
Los Angeles Kings
14
28-18-12
Last week: 2-0-0
10
Washington Capitals
11
33-18-10
Last week: 3-1-0

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Sidney Crosby is averaging 1.09 points per game this season, a career low for the vaunted Penguins captain, and his 49.2 face-off percentage hasn’t been lower since his rookie season in 2005-06. And the Penguins’ season has mirrored his—inconsistent and frustrating for a perennial power. Crosby frustration of late seemed to reach a boiling point when the star dropped the gloves in a 2-1 loss to Columbus last week. A light week—just two games until March 4—should give Pittsburgh a chance to regroup. But maybe the best thing that could happen to the Penguins would be sliding into a wild card spot and a possible first-round meeting with an Atlantic Division foe. Pittsburgh has devoured the Atlantic this season, running its mark to 14-2-3 after crushing the Panthers on Sunday. Then again, it might not matter who the Pens face. Patrick Hornqvist scored in consecutive games last week to wake a dormant power play. If they start clicking with the extra man, watch out. 

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What more can you say about the Wild? They are 13-2-2 since the trade to acquire Devan Dubnyk from Arizona, and 11-1-1 since the All-Star break, they're the hottest team in the game right now. Granted, they've faced a creampuff schedule, but you can only beat the teams the schedulemaker puts at the other end of the ice. And while Dubnyk is getting all the credit, here's a tip of the cap to coach Mike Yeo whose decision to break up his top line a week ago has resulted in a more balanced and effective offense.

Detroit's Jimmy Howard has looked pretty poor since his return from injury. And his breaking-in period needs to comes to an abrupt halt on Tuesday night as he stares down the ultra-hot Kings. Meanwhile, someone tell coach Mike Babcock to #FreePulkkinen.

The Bruins finally snapped their six-game winless streak with an emphatic win over Chicago, but they are still a far cry from where they want to be. And with David Krejci back on injury watch, Boston will have to fight hard to hang onto the second wild card spot—or make a move to fill in gaps in their uncharacteristically iffy defense.

11
Pittsburgh Penguins
10
34-17-9
Last week: 1-2-0
12
Minnesota Wild
15
31-21-7
Last week: 3-0-0
13
Detroit Red Wings
9
33-14-11
Last week: 2-0-1
14
Vancouver Canucks
16
34-22-3
Last week: 2-1-0
15
Winnipeg Jets
13
30-20-11
Last week: 0-1-1
16
Calgary Flames
12
32-23-4
Last week: 0-1-1
17
San Jose Sharks
17
30-23-8
Last week: 1-2-0
18
Philadelphia Flyers
20
26-23-11
Last week: 2-1-1
19
Boston Bruins
18
29-21-9
Last week: 1-1-1
20
Florida Panthers
19
26-21-12
Last week: 2-2-0

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And it's pretty much church for the Stars, sports fans. Needing to win two-of-three over the weekend to remain in playoff contention, Dallas managed to grab just a single point against the Red Wings—and it only earned that one after a third-period collapse so epic that nothing like it had been seen in the NHL since 1934. Expect the Stars to go into sell mode this week, moving Erik Cole, Shawn Horcoff and possibly even the recently acquired Jhonas Enroth.

With the March 2 trade deadline just around the corner, Carolina could make for an alluring trade partner. Defenseman Andrej Sekera’s name has been tossed around, as has forward Jiri Tlusty. But reports suggest that center Jordan Staal is attracting some serious interest from his former team, Pittsburgh. Though Staal has just 14 points in 22 games this season, his former team knows his worth. The Penguins have missed the two-way center since trading him in 2012. 

21
Colorado Avalanche
22
26-23-11
Last week: 2-1-0
22
Dallas Stars
21
27-24-9
Last week: 1-2-1
23
New Jersey Devils
26
25-26-9
Last week: 4-0-0
24
Ottawa Senators
23
24-23-10
Last week: 2-0-0
25
Columbus Blue Jackets
24
26-28-4
Last week: 2-1-1
26
Carolina Hurricanes
25
21-30-7
Last week: 1-2-0
27
Toronto Maple Leafs
29
24-31-5
Last week: 1-2-0
28
Phoenix Coyotes
27
20-33-7
Last week: 1-2-0
29
Edmonton Oilers
28
17-34-10
Last week: 1-2-0
30
Buffalo Sabres
30
17-38-5
Last week: 1-1-2

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)