The top teams are consolidating positions for the final stretch, while the “bubble” teams decide whether to buy or sell before the NHL’s March 3 trade deadline.
Let’s take a look at our power rankings for the week 18 before Friday’s games.
eleven) Boston Bruins, 41-8-5
It seemed downright normal to lose four of five games before winning on Thursday, but that’s still not enough to bring them down.
2. (2) Carolina Hurricanes, 10-36-8
They have won 11 of the last 13 by spreading the wealth like the Kraken, with eight players scoring 10 or more goals.
3. 4) Toronto Maple Leafs, 33-14-8
Auston Matthews scored the game-winner against Chicago on Wednesday in the first game back after missing three weeks with a knee injury.
4. (3) New Jersey Devils, 35-14-5
The Devils team, which relies heavily on top stars, had lost two of the last three with Jack Hughes injured, but would be back at any moment.
5. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning, 35-16-3
They defeated the Avalanche again in another Stanley Cup rematch, then beat Dallas before somehow losing 1-0 to Arizona and former Lightning goaltender Connor Ingram in a shootout on a night they had 47 shots.
6. (7) New York Rangers, 32-14-8
Six straight wins and has scored six goals in each of the three games since the transfer of Vladimir Tarasenko.
7. (6) Dallas Stars, 14-30-11
The Western Conference leaders lost a pair of games to the Bruins and Lightning that underscored struggles with the power play, now 1 of the last 20.
8. (9) Vegas Golden Knights, 33-18-4
Without Mark Stone, it doesn’t matter. Four straight victories allowed them to extend his lead at the top of the Pacific Division.
9. (8) Edmonton Oilers, 30-19-6
Connor McDavid entered Friday needing a point to become the seventh NHL player to reach 100 at 56.he game.
10. (11) Winnipeg Jets 34-20-1
The Jets have $9 million in cap space available for improvements at the trade deadline to what is already one of the top three defensive teams in the NHL.
11. (10) Seattle Kraken, 31-18-6
Philipp Grubauer is 4-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in his last eight outings to claim the mantle of No. 1 goaltender.
12. (13) Los Angeles Kings, 30-18-7
Journeyman professional goaltender Pheonix Copley received a one-year contract extension, then won his 16thhe and 17he games since his debut on December 6, the highest total in the NHL in that time period.
13. (12) Colorado Avalanche, 29-19-5
Nathan Mackinnon scored 48he his career-winning goal, passing Michel Goulet for third all-time on the Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise list.
14. (14) Pittsburgh Penguins, 27-17-9
Amazing advanced analytics show that the back line of Brock McGinn, Jeff Carter and Kasperi Kapanen is the worst in the NHL for expected targets, a big reason the team has struggled.
15. (18) Florida Panthers, 28-24-6
It took 58 games, but defenseman Marc Staal, 36, finally scored a goal as the Panthers beat Washington to tie the Capitals for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
16. (16) Washington Capitals, 28-23-6
Scoring leader Alex Ovechkin is expected to miss at least a week after his father’s death.
17. (15) Calgary Flames, 25-19-11
Allan Walsh, the agent for struggling forward Jonathan Huberdeau, attacked the Flames franchise, tweeting: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”
18. (17) Minnesota Wild, 28-21-5
He has gone 11 consecutive games without scoring more than three goals, losing eight of them.
19. (24) Detroit Red Wings, 25-20-8
Dylan Larkin had multiple points in four straight games as the Red Wings, winners of five in a row, moved within two points of last place in the conference playoffs.
20. (23) Ottawa Senators, 26-24-3
Team Streaky has won six of the past seven, and while the playoffs remain a pipe dream, at least the GM now says he won’t trade young star Alex DeBrincat before the deadline.
21. (19) Buffalo Sabers, 27-22-4
Rasmus Dahlin has 173 assists, moving him to eighth all-time by an NHL defenseman before the age of 23.
22. (20) New York Islanders, 27-23-7
Bo Horvat went from a disappointing Vancouver team that couldn’t win with him to another disappointing team that apparently can’t win with him.
23. (25) St. Louis Blues, 26-25-3
Dead cat rebound from three straight wins after ending the season by trading Vladimir Tarasenko.
24. (21) Philadelphia Flyers, 22-23-10
I’ve lost seven of the last nine, and coach John Tortorella was too embarrassed and volatile after back-to-back losses to Kraken to risk saying anything to the media other than that I shouldn’t say anything.
25. (22) Nashville Predators, 25-21-6
Outscored 15-5 since the All-Star break, this “Fake .500” team looks increasingly likely to be sold for parts come the trade deadline.
26. (27) Montreal Canadiens, 23-28-4
The first three-game winning streak in three months ended Thursday at Carolina, and Kirby Dach is the latest young star on the team sidelined, this time with a non-COVID illness.
27. (29) Arizona Coyotes, 19-28-8
Seven-game point streak (4-0-3) aided by a 47-save performance by Connor Ingram in a 1-0 win over Lightning (!!), the most recorded by the goaltender in the first shutout of his career.
28. (26) Vancouver Canucks, 21-30-4
The scoring is more even since Horvat was traded, but the lousy defense has still produced five or more goals in five of the last six games and four in the other.
29. (30) San Jose Sharks 17-28-11
Defenseman Erik Karlsson’s 73 points were 21 more than his closest teammate and 31 more than any Kraken player.
30. (28) Chicago Blackhawks, 16-32-5
Being outscored 13-3 in three straight losses has put Columbus on notice that the Connor Bedard fight isn’t over yet.
31. (31) Anaheim Ducks, 17-32-6
He had been on a bit of a roll before three straight losses once again had the bookies touting Dallas Eakins as the next manager to be fired.
32. (32) Columbus Blue Jackets, 17-32-5
We were navigating a bid to be the worst team in the NHL until they beat the Maple Leafs and Jets to potentially ruin another quest.