Playoff spots are gradually being clinched and the postseason is starting to shape up in this final stretch. But the hottest team in hockey resides in Vegas.
The Golden Knights have had some huge wins of late: beatdowns of San Jose (on the road) and Winnipeg, wins against Calgary and Dallas. Although they failed to clinch a playoff berth in a loss to the Blues, the Golden Knights are still poised to make another mighty run. The Mark Stone trade has galvanized the team. And remember: Last year, the Knights swung big on Tomas Tatar and whiffed badly. Credit to the Knights for going back to the well and not being afraid of past mistakes. It's paying off.
31. Ottawa Senators | Record: 26-43-6 | Previous Ranking: 31
Sure looks like Erik Brannstrom is going to be a huge star.
30. Los Angeles Kings | Record: 28-39-8 | Previous Ranking: 29
Think the Kings just want this year to be over?
29. Detroit Red Wings | Record: 28-38-10 | Previous Ranking: 30
Lots of credit should go to Niklas Kronwall, who is still playing well at 38.
28. New Jersey Devils | Record: 29-39-9 | Previous Ranking: 28
Give the Devils credit for sticking to giving Mackenzie Blackwood and Cory Schneider equal time.
27. New York Rangers | Record: 29-33-13 | Previous Ranking: 26
It's been a rough go since the sell-off at the deadline, though the Leafs might want to snatch up Alexandar Georgiev, who becomes superman against Toronto.
26. Anaheim Ducks | Record: 31-36-10 | Previous Ranking: 27
It's been a better month for the Ducks than they would probably like—hurting their draft stock!
25. Buffalo Sabres | Record: 31-35-9 | Previous Ranking: 23
In hindsight, Buffalo probably should've seen if there were takers for impending free agent Jeff Skinner.
24. Edmonton Oilers | Record: 33-34-8 | Previous Ranking: 24
Probably worth asking if a first pair of Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse is tenable going forward.
23. Vancouver Canucks | Record: 32-34-10 | Previous Ranking: 25
Brock Boeser hasn't set the NHL on fire like last year, but he's had a sneaky good sophomore season with 25 goals and 53 points.
22. Chicago Blackhawks | Record: 33-32-10 | Previous Ranking: 21
It's a shame, given the team's struggles, that Patrick Kane's fantastic season has gone largely unnoticed.
21. Florida Panthers | Record: 33-31-12 | Previous Ranking: 20
Nice victory against Arizona after back-to-back losses to Anaheim and Dallas.
20. Minnesota Wild | Record: 35-33-9 | Previous Ranking: 19
March has not been kind to the Wild.
19. Colorado Avalanche | Record: 34-29-13 | Previous Ranking: 22
Another reminder that Derick Brassard, thus far, has done nothing for the Avs.
18. Philadelphia Flyers | Record: 36-32-8 | Previous Ranking: 18
Another reminder that Ryan Hartman, thus far, has done nothing for the Flyers.
17. Arizona Coyotes | Record: 36-33-7 | Previous Ranking: 17
The 4–1 loss to Tampa Bay shows that the Yotes still have a ways to go.
16. Montreal Canadiens | Record: 40-28-8 | Previous Ranking: 13
Think Arizona wishes they had Max Domi right now?
15. Columbus Blue Jackets | Record: 41-30-4 | Previous Ranking: 14
Back-to-back losses against big boys in Boston and Calgary.
14. Dallas Stars | Record: 39-31-6 | Previous Ranking: 16
Ever since that odd benching, Alexander Radulov has been on fire.
13. St. Louis Blues | Record: 41-27-8 | Previous Ranking: 15
Jordan Binnington looks like he's getting his form back.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins | Record: 42-24-11 | Previous Ranking: 8
The Penguins earned nice wins against Nashville and the Rangers, after three straight losses.
11. Carolina Hurricanes | Record: 42-26-7 | Previous Ranking: 9
Canes are fun, for sure. Their loss against Tampa Bay wasn’t the best, but it was followed up with good wins against Minnesota and Montreal, and Carolina earned an impressive eight points in a five-game home stand.
10. New York Islanders | Record: 44-25-7 | Previous Ranking: 7
Those were some bad losses to Boston and Montreal.
9. Nashville Predators | Record: 43-28-6 | Previous Ranking: 11
Just when it looked like there was some momentum, the Preds lose to both Pittsburgh and Winnipeg.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs | Record: 45-25-6 | Previous Ranking: 6
Are things going off the rails? Maybe. But remember the type of talent still on the roster, and let John Tavares’s four-goal night be proof.
7. Winnipeg Jets | Record: 45-27-4 | Previous Ranking: 10
The Jets following up the 5–0 loss against Vegas with a 5–0 win against Nashville was important, but falling to Dallas is tough.
6. Vegas Golden Knights | Record: 42-28-6 | Previous Ranking: 12
Hottest team in hockey. Man, did that Mark Stone trade work out.
5. San Jose Sharks | Record: 43-24-9 | Previous Ranking: 2
Two losses to contenders, including an ugly 7–3 loss to Vegas, but remember, no there's no Erik Karlsson right now.
4. Washington Capitals | Record: 44-24-8 | Previous Ranking: 5
The Caps had two losses to Tampa Bay in a three-game span, but second loss was a lot closer.
3. Calgary Flames | Record: 47-22-7 | Previous Ranking: 3
Even though it was a loss, Mike Smith's performance against Winnipeg could swing the job in his favor.
2. Boston Bruins | Record: 46-21-9 | Previous Ranking: 4
The Bruins fixed their slide with a dominant win against the Islanders and had flashes of good things against the Lightning on Monday.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning | Record: 59-14-4 | Previous Ranking: 1
It was a heavyweight fight and the Bolts came out on top against Washington. You could make the case that Andrei Vasilevskiy having to make 54 saves is not a good thing, though.