In the last two weeks, Nashville has beaten Vegas, Tampa Bay and Colorado, all by a score of 4–1. Two of those games were on the road. The Preds ended a five-game winning streak with a shootout loss at Anaheim Monday night, but are still 13–3–1 to start the season and 8–0–1 on the road.
You can't put too much stock in this early run. Things change. People get hurt. Other teams make good trades. But man, at this point who can catch up with the Preds? It's hard to find a good option.
31. Los Angeles Kings | Record: 5–10–1 | Previous Ranking: 31
There's not a ton to like, obviously. And now Jack Campbell is hurt. It’s going to be a long season.
30. Chicago Blackhawks | Record: 6–8–4 | Previous Ranking: 18
It’s odd to see the Hawks without Joel Quenneville, a decision that might have been a bit rash but a change might not be the worst thing. New head coach Jeremy Colliton is still searching for his first win with the team, however.
29. Vegas Golden Knights | Record: 7–10–1 | Previous Ranking: 24
We expected regression in Vegas’s sophomore. What we didn't expect was for the Golden Knights to have the 29th-ranked offense in the league.
28. New Jersey Devils | Record: 6–8–1 | Previous Ranking: 21
Cory Schneider's injury might have bought coach John Hynes some time. Now that he's healthy, the clock starts ticking.
27. St. Louis Blues | Record: 6–6–3 | Previous Ranking: 26
Mike Yeo should be looking at his seat's temperature, because it's getting quite warm.
26. Detroit Red Wings | Record: 7–8–2 | Previous Ranking: 30
The rebuild continues, but a three-game winning streak shows that there are bright spots. Dennis Cholowski is averaging 20:43 on defense as a rookie.
25. Florida Panthers | Record: 6–5–3 | Previous Ranking: 28
Getting Roberto Luongo back will help. Not sure it will be enough to propel them back to playoff contention anytime soon.
24. Anaheim Ducks | Record: 8–8–3 | Previous Ranking: 23
The sell-off time might be nigh. There are attractive parts here, but it's just not working as a whole right now.
23. Carolina Hurricanes | Record: 8–7–3 | Previous Ranking: 15
So the hot start was a mirage, as the Canes have lost six of their last eight. A 3–2 overtime win against Chicago on Monday was encouraging, but this team needs to find a goaltender and stick with him.
22. Arizona Coyotes | Record: 8–7–1 | Previous Ranking: 22
The Yotes have a stingy offense. More scoring is needed—outside of the penalty kill, that is—but the top four on defense is pretty good.
21. New York Rangers | Record: 9–7–2 | Previous Ranking: 29
Things are finally looking up. Henrik Lundqvist is playing well. And some players are playing themselves into trade contention at the deadline.
20. Philadelphia Flyers | Record: 9–7–1 | Previous Ranking: 27
The typical Flyers problems are still evident: great first line, not much after it, and rough goaltending. But they have won five of their last six games and deserved a bump this week.
19. Ottawa Senators | Record: 7–8–3 | Previous Ranking: 25
Secret videos or not, there's a real accomplishment in the Sens trading two of their best offensive players and still ranking fourth in goals per game.
18. Washington Capitals | Record: 7–6–3 | Previous Ranking: 17
It can be hard to square the two versions of the Capitals in our minds: The dominant playoff one, and the meandering start to the season one. Which is it? That all depends on how Braden Holtby plays.
17. Buffalo Sabres | Record: 9–6–2 | Previous Ranking: 14
The line of Jeff Skinner, Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville is a winner. There's a drop off after that, but it's a start.
16. Pittsburgh Penguins | Record: 7–5–3 | Previous Ranking: 11
After a strong return from injury, Matt Murray has quickly fallen off. Four straight losses for him with three or more goals allowed. That was followed by two good games by Casey DeSmith to finally snap the team’s losing streak.
15. Columbus Blue Jackets | Record: 10–6–2 | Previous Ranking: 19
Columbus has the profile of a typical John Tortorella team. A really good defense, but not so great of an offense.
14. Dallas Stars | Record: 9–7–2 | Previous Ranking: 20
Not sure anyone had Dallas pegged as an impressive defensive team. That part has been good. But where's that explosive offense?
13. Montreal Canadiens | Record: 9–5–3 | Previous Ranking: 12
While Montreal has certainly been better than expected, Carey Price is struggling with his .892 save percentage.
12. Edmonton Oilers | Record: 8–8–1 | Previous Ranking: 13
This is, right now, a three-person team. It's a good trio—Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl—but it's going to be tough to sustain this without more secondary scoring.
11. Colorado Avalanche | Record: 8–6–3 | Previous Ranking: 4
Losing to two of the best teams in the league isn't the worst outcome. And the Avs are starting to recover from that five-game losing streak as they beat the Oilers on Sunday. But this is becoming an unsustainable defense.
10. New York Islanders | Record: 8–6–2 | Previous Ranking: 16
The Isles have been surprising, and the defense is so much better than last year. They need a bit more scoring, but they're certainly on the right track.
9. Boston Bruins | Record: 10–5–2 | Previous Ranking: 6
Hoping for the best for Tuukka Rask. For the B's, though, it helps that Jaroslav Halak and David Pastrnak are playing really, really well.
8. Minnesota Wild | Record: 11–4–2 | Previous Ranking: 5
Not sure there's enough scoring for a long run in the playoffs, but the veterans—Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Eric Staal—have showed up.
7. Winnipeg Jets | Record: 10–5–1 | Previous Ranking: 7
If the Finland trip gets Patrik Laine going, then that's all that matter. Blake Wheeler was outstanding in a good win against Colorado.
6. Vancouver Canucks | Record: 10–7–2 | Previous Ranking: 9
We'll be asking the entire season: How long can this hot streak last? For what it's worth, we kept asking the same thing about Vegas last year.
5. Calgary Flames | Record: 10–7–1 | Previous Ranking: 10
The Flames are undoubtedly playing well. But can they rely on either Mike Smith or David Rittich long term?
4. San Jose Sharks | Record: 9–6–3 | Previous Ranking: 8
The fact that Erik Karlsson and Joe Pavelski have largely been invisible is actually a good sign. The Sharks are still playing well. But just wait until those two get going.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs | Record: 11–6–0 | Previous Ranking: 3
It's not being talked about, but Morgan Rielly should get some love as a possible Norris candidate.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning | Record: 12–4–1 | Previous Ranking: 2
A note to the other 30 teams: Steven Stamkos is the Lightning's fourth-leading scorer (15). That should terrify everyone.
1. Nashville Predators | Record: 13–3–1 | Previous Ranking: 1
What a streak the Preds are on, winning all but one of their games on the road, and that shootout loss to the Ducks still earned them a point in the standings. Can they pull away as the runaway best team in the league?