- The Flyers, Blues and Blackhawks each find themselves rising from the ashes after making mid-season coaching changes. How far can they take their hot streaks?
What do we make of the suddenly surging Blackhawks? What about the Blues? The Flyers? Of the three, the Blues have a real shot at making the playoffs, in the Wild Card as of Monday and could possibly snag a Central Division spot.
It might be a little too late for Philadelphia and Chicago, though it's not impossible (more likely for the Flyers than Blackhawks). Still, we saw with Buffalo that a big winning streak can propel you into playoff conversation. Maintaining that (still looking at you, Buffalo) is the hard part.
But with the deadline approaching, all three teams could be sneaky buyers, hoping to ride this wave into the playoffs.
31. Ottawa Senators | Record: 21–29–5 | Previous Ranking: 31
The Sens finally broke their losing streak last week, but for now we wait for the Matt Duchene shoe to drop.
30. New Jersey Devils | Record: 21–26–8 | Previous Ranking: 27
Brian Boyle is the first of many veterans who could find themselves in new homes shortly.
29. Los Angeles Kings | Record: 23–27–5 | Previous Ranking: 29
There's a surplus of goaltending here, but the price to keep Jonathan Quick might be a bit too rich.
28. Florida Panthers | Record: 23–23–8 | Previous Ranking: 25
Watch out: The Panthers could be deadline players. You already saw a taste with the trade for Derick Brassard, earning impressive wins over the Knights, Pens and Caps since.
27. Detroit Red Wings | Record: 21–28–7 | Previous Ranking: 28
A nice little streak was brought back to Earth with three bad losses in a row.
26. Anaheim Ducks | Record: 21–26–9 | Previous Ranking: 20
Firing Randy Carlyle was the right choice. Probably should’ve happened sooner. How soon will they end the seven-game losing streak?
25. Colorado Avalanche | Record: 22–22–11 | Previous Ranking: 19
Guess who else is on a seven-game losing streak! It's getting ugly in Colorado. A big makeover is needed.
24. Chicago Blackhawks | Record: 23–24–9 | Previous Ranking: 30
Hey, now this is more like it. It's likely too little too late to make a real run, but an encouraging sign for next year.
23. Edmonton Oilers | Record: 24–26–5 | Previous Ranking: 26
Things are rough. It makes no sense to still try and go for it at the deadline.
22. Arizona Coyotes | Record: 24–26–5 | Previous Ranking: 21
Niklas Hjalmarsson is +5. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is -18. They play different roles, but that's striking.
21. Vancouver Canucks | Record: 25–24–7 | Previous Ranking: 18
Losing Alex Edler for a time is a blow on the ice and could hurt any attempt to trade him.
20. St. Louis Blues | Record: 27–22–5 | Previous Ranking: 22
19. New York Rangers | Record: 24–23–8 | Previous Ranking: 23
Mika Zibanejad deserves more national attention. He’s already set a career high in points with 54, with three goals in the last week.
18. Philadelphia Flyers | Record: 25–23–7 | Previous Ranking: 24
Is Carter Hart the solution to the long-time goalie problem? It's early. But he looks like a keeper for the team who has a 10-game point streak.
17. Minnesota Wild | Record: 27–24–5 | Previous Ranking: 14
Losing Mikko Koviu for the season is such a blow, and probably puts a fork in any long-shot playoff bid.
16. Carolina Hurricanes | Record: 28–22–6 | Previous Ranking: 16
The Canes haven't played bad of late, in fact they won three of their four road games this last week. Could they be a fit for Artemi Panarin?
15. Buffalo Sabres | Record: 27–21–7 | Previous Ranking: 15
Without finding consistent wins, the playoffs are slipping away. Should the Sabres try to trade Jeff Skinner?
14. Dallas Stars | Record: 28–22–5 | Previous Ranking: 17
Don't look now, but Dallas is quietly heating up. Looked good in a tough OT loss in Nashville.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets | Record: 31–20–3 | Previous Ranking: 13
Beating Colorado is a nice way to stop a five-game skid, but there's so much uncertainty around this team that it might not be the only losing streak.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins | Record: 28–20–7 | Previous Ranking: 11
It would be foolish to think Pittsburgh is done trading. The Metropolitan is still very much up for grabs.
11. Washington Capitals | Record: 30–18–7 | Previous Ranking: 12
We're still unsure what's going on with Washington, but it's getting to the point where a shakeup of some sort might need to happen. Every game since the All-Star break has been decided by one goal.
10. Vegas Golden Knights | Record: 31–22–4 | Previous Ranking: 8
The Golden Knights roke out of a slump with an impressive win against Tampa Bay. Let's see how sustainable that type of play is.
9. Boston Bruins | Record: 31–17–8 | Previous Ranking: 10
8. Montreal Canadiens | Record: 31–18–7 | Previous Ranking: 9
Don't sleep on Montreal. The Canadiens are quietly hot, could pull off a deadline move and have a top goalie.
7. New York Islanders | Record: 33–16–6 | Previous Ranking: 5
Devon Toews has been a revelation on defense. The rookie is a stabilizing force on the blueline for this team.
6. Nashville Predators | Record: 33–20–5 | Previous Ranking: 6
Boyle is a really good acquisition for Nashville. Cody McLeod? Not so sure.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs | Record: 34–18–3 | Previous Ranking: 7
With the contract behind him, could we see a burst of scoring from Auston Matthews?
4. San Jose Sharks | Record: 33–16–7 | Previous Ranking: 3
3. Winnipeg Jets | Record: 35–18–3 | Previous Ranking: 4
An OT loss to San Jose isn't a terrible thing, but it could be a preview of how good a playoff series between the two could be.
2. Calgary Flames | Record: 34–15–6 | Previous Ranking: 2
Lost in the production of the top line has been Matthew Tkachuk, who has found his niche as being super hard to play against, with tons of offensive upside.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning | Record: 41–11–4 | Previous Ranking: 1
It's worth noting that Steven Stamkos—who is still averaging over a point per game—is the team's third-leading scorer. That's just ridiculous depth.