- The season is entering its final weeks and there is still a long list of playoff contenders. Teams who have been in the front have been slipping of late, while bubble teams are starting to find their grooves.
A few teams that have spent most of the season at the top of rankings have been struggling. The Islanders are 4-5-1 in their last 10. Same for the Jets. Nashville is 5-5-0; so is Columbus and Montreal. How much to read into it? For teams like Columbus and Montreal, a lot. For Nashville, it's been this way for some time. For the Islanders and Jets, it’s probably too soon to tell. But the playoffs aren't that far away. It's time to get your act together.
31. Ottawa Senators | Record: 23-40-6 | Previous Ranking: 31
Getting some good performances out of Anthony Duclair isn't the worst thing in the world.
30. Detroit Red Wings | Record: 24-35-10 | Previous Ranking: 29
Looks like the Red Wings are ready for the year to be over.
29. Los Angeles Kings | Record: 25-36-8 | Previous Ranking: 30
February and March have not been kind, at all. The wins have been few and far between.
28. New Jersey Devils | Record: 25-35-9 | Previous Ranking: 27
The rest of the year should be a showcase for Mackenzie Blackwood, despite reports saying he and Cory Schneider will split starts.
27. Anaheim Ducks | Record: 27-34-9 | Previous Ranking: 28
The loss to St. Louis, with two goals scored against in 12 seconds, seems to sum up the Ducks’ season.
26. Chicago Blackhawks | Record: 29-30-9 | Previous Ranking: 22
The Blackhawks were so close to being in a playoff spot, but then lost four out of five.
25. New York Rangers | Record: 28-28-12 | Previous Ranking: 24
The Rangers haven't seen much from last year’s Ryan McDonagh trade—until now. It's early, but defenseman Libor Hajek looks like the real deal.
24. Florida Panthers | Record: 30-27-12 | Previous Ranking: 20
The Panthers started March with four consecutive one-goal losses, but finally put together two convincing wins over the Wild and Red Wings this weekend.
23. Vancouver Canucks | Record: 28-32-9 | Previous Ranking: 25
A nice come-from-behind win over Toronto is a building-block victory for next season, as is signing Quinn Hughes to his entry-level contract.
23. Edmonton Oilers | Record: 30-31-7 | Previous Ranking: 26
Hey, some signs of life! The Oilers put together a string of four straight wins before the Maple Leafs came to town.
21. Buffalo Sabres | Record: 30-29-9 | Previous Ranking: 21
It's been a struggle. And losing Jack Eichel for two games won’t help much.
20. Colorado Avalanche | Record: 30-27-12 | Previous Ranking: 17
Losing Gabriel Landeskog to injury might mean losing out on the playoffs.
19. Arizona Coyotes | Record: 34-29-5 | Previous Ranking: 23
That the Coyotes were in the playoffs, even for a minute, makes this season a tremendous success.
18. Philadelphia Flyers | Record: 33-27-8 | Previous Ranking: 18
Ryan Hartman playing third-line, mediocre minutes was probably not what the Flyers had in mind when trading Wayne Simmonds.
17. Minnesota Wild | Record: 33-28-8 | Previous Ranking: 14
Great wins against St. Louis, Winnipeg and Calgary, but some bad losses against Nashville (twice). And then to shut out the Lightning in Tampa Bay is a great way to cap it off. (We can overlook the next-day loss to Florida.)
16. Dallas Stars | Record: 35-28-5 | Previous Ranking: 19
How the Stars manage Alexander Radulov—hat trick or not—will go a long way toward deciding their playoff future.
15. Columbus Blue Jackets | Record: 38-27-3 | Previous Ranking: 13
Not sure this is what the Blue Jackets had in mind post deadline. Now we wait to see if the 4–1 win over the Penguins was a sign of the new parts coming together.
14. St. Louis Blues | Record: 36-25-7 | Previous Ranking: 11
It's reasonable that Jordan Binnington has come down to earth a bit. Have to see if it's momentary or long term.
13. Montreal Canadiens | Record: 36-26-7 | Previous Ranking: 12
Mike Reilly was highly coveted when he was a college free agent from Minnesota. He signed with Minnesota, but was traded at last year's deadline. In his first full season, he's been really good on an underrated defense corp.
12. Vegas Golden Knights | Record: 38-27-5 | Previous Ranking: 15
Marc-Andre Fleury has been stellar in the last two weeks.
11. Pittsburgh Penguins | Record: 37-23-9 | Previous Ranking: 16
A team with four players at or near point-per-game levels barely hanging onto a playoff berth is pretty stunning.
10. Carolina Hurricanes | Record: 37-24-7 | Previous Ranking: 10
It's been a remarkable run. But there hasn't been many signature wins. The 5–3 win over Nashville was certainly marred by the 8–1 drubbing by Winnipeg the night before.
9. Winnipeg Jets | Record: 40-24-4 | Previous Ranking: 8
Tampa Bay dominating Winnipeg doesn't bode well for a future playoff series.
8. Nashville Predators | Record: 39-26-5 | Previous Ranking: 9
Don't underestimate a home-and-home sweep over Minnesota, especially after a month or so of listlessness.
7. New York Islanders | Record: 39-22-7 | Previous Ranking: 6
Not sure which is more important: the 6–1 win over Toronto or the 3–1 loss to Washington. Think it's the 3–1 loss.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs | Record: 42-21-5 | Previous Ranking: 4
Beating Calgary 6–2 is impressive. Getting depth scoring from Tyler Ennis is a nice treat, too.
5. San Jose Sharks | Record: 41-19-8 | Previous Ranking: 5
It's remarkable that Brent Burns is not just the team's leading scorer. He's the leading scorer by a bunch.
4. Washington Capitals | Record: 41-21-7 | Previous Ranking: 7
It's mostly below-average teams, but Washington has beaten up on a lot of them lately and is on a seven-game winning streak.
3. Calgary Flames | Record: 42-20-7 | Previous Ranking: 2
After a seven-game winning streak, Calgary has stumbled a bit, and has had some shakier goaltending. Beating up on Vegas was a good sign.
2. Boston Bruins | Record: 42-18-9 | Previous Ranking: 3
On an undeniable hot streak, though the Marcus Johansson injury will hurt.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning | Record: 52-13-4 | Previous Ranking: 1
Beating up on Winnipeg sends a pretty strong message, no?