It is just past the halfway mark in the National Hockey League. The All-Star Weekend has come and gone, and now the 31 teams clinch playoff berths, push for the playoffs, or begin rebuilding before the trade deadline.
1. Las Vegas Golden Knights (32-12-4, 68 pts)
One common trend amongst the top teams is superb goalie play, and not many goalies are playing at the level Marc-Andre Fleury is right now. Fleury is second in save percentage (.942%), just behind St. Louis’ Carter Hutton (.943%) by .001%. That, combined with their 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 18, gives them my No. 1 spot.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (34-12-3, 71 pts)
The Lightning have two players in the top 4 in points: Nikita Kucherov leads the league (64) whlie Steven Stamkos is tied at third (58). Kucherov is also tied for second most goals scored (27). Goalie Andre Vasilevskiy has been incredibly consistent this season, netting a .931% save percentage in 41 games played.
3. Boston Bruins (29-10-8, 66 pts)
The big story is how the Bruins will perform without Brad Marchand, who will miss four more games for throwing an elbow into the back of Devils forward Marcus Johannson’s head. Marchand has 50 points in 38 games.
4. Nashville Predators (29-11-7, 65 pts)
Pekka Rinne continues the trend of phenomenal goaltending down in Nashville. Rinne is 5th in save percentage at .926%. P.K. Subban has also been impressive enough to have been named captain for the Central division at All-Star Weekend.
5. Winnipeg Jets (29-13-8,66 pts)
The big question for Winnipeg will be how they survive their laundry list of injuries. Centers Adam Lowry and Mark Schiefele, goalie Stave Mason, and now defenseman Jacob Trouba all will miss significant time. The Jets play their next ten games at home, including their next two against Tampa Bay and Las Vegas.
6. Washington Capitals (29-15-5, 63 pts)
The Capitals lead the Metropolitan division thanks in large part to Alex Ovechkin’s league-high 30 goals. Goalie Brandon Holtby has also been key with a 25-9-2 record and .917% save percentage in 36 games.
7. St. Louis Blues (30-18-3, 63 pts)
Blues goalie Carter Hutton leads the league in save percentage at .943%, just .001% ahead of Marc-Andre Fleury of the Knights. However, the Blues are 18th in goals scored per game, a stat likely holding them back from even higher success.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs (28-18-5, 61 pts)
The Maple Leafs are sitting pretty at third in the Atlantic division while holding a 15-point lead on the fourth-place Red Wings and Canadiens. The overtime win against Chicago could give them momentum coming out of the break.
9. Dallas Stars (28-18-4, 60 pts)
The Stars sent both forward Tyler Seguin and defenseman John Klingberg to the All-Star game. Dallas also has a three-point lead on the four-way tie at 57 points that includes Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Anaheim.
10. San Jose Sharks (26-15-7, 59 pts)
While the Sharks hold the second spot in the Pacific divsion, the question of when Joe Thornton will return remains. Thornton is out indefinitely with an MCL injury.
11. Colorado Avalanche (27-18-3, 57 pts)
Colorado made a statement by going on a ten-game winning streak before the All-Star break. However, they went into the break on a two-game losing streak. It will be interesting to see how that affects the team coming out of the break.
12. Calgary Flames (25-16-8, 58 pts)
The Flames have had bad luck in games lasting longer than three periods, losing six of their last 13 games in overtime or shootouts. They look to turn things around as the Lightning and Golden Knights come to town.
13. Los Angeles Kings (26-18-5, 57 pts)
The Kings lead the league in penalty kills, giving up goals on only 24.1% of power plays. Los Angeles is 3-7 in their last ten games, which puts them in a four-way tie in the Western conference at 57 points.
14. Minnesota Wild (26-18-5, 57 pts)
The Wild are coming off impressive wins at home in 4-1 and 5-2 victories over the Jets and Lightning, respectively. They have a chance to prove themselves in matchups against the Golden Knights, Stars, and Blues coming up.
15. Columbus Blue Jackets (27-17-3, 57 pts)
The Blue Jackets are in a tight race in the Metropolitan division despite being 29th in the league in goals scored per game (2.55)
16. Anaheim Ducks (24-17-9, 57 pts)
The Ducks are last in that four-way tie at 57 points in the Western conference. They are also one point behind Calgary for the third spot in the Pacific division.
17. Pittsburgh Penguins (27-21-3, 57 pts)
The Penguins lead the league in power play percentage at 27.1%. Phil Kessel is tied for third in points (58 in 51 games) while Sidney Crosby is ninth (55 points in 51 games).
18. New Jersey Devils (24-16-8, 56 pts)
The Devils are in the thick of that tight race in the Metropolitan division. Seven teams are within five points of each other and the Devils have a decent shot at staying in it.
19. Philadelphia Flyers (24-16-8, 56 pts)
The Flyers are also in the middle of everything thanks to Jakub Voracek leading the league in assists (47). Flyers teammate Claude Giroux is also second in the league in assists (43).
20. New York Rangers (25-20-5, 55 pts)
The Rangers are sitting in a good spot mostly due, once again, to goalie Henrik Lundqvist. He is eighth in save percentage at .992%.
21. New York Islanders (25-20-5, 55 pts)
The Islanders as a team are tied for second with Las Vegas for most goals scored per game (3.38). This could be because of John Tavares’ 57 points in 50 games while teammate Josh Bailey has 54 points in 46 games and is fourth in assists (42).
22. Chicago Blackhawks (23-19-7, 53 pts)
The biggest question for the Blackhawks is if goalie Corey Crawford will return this season. He has no certain timetable for return and you could argue he was the best player for Chicago this season. He currently sits at fourth in the league in save percentage at .929% in 28 games.
23. Carolina Hurricanes (22-19-8, 52 pts)
The Hurricanes haven’t quite gotten what they wanted out of goalie Scott Darling, acquired in a trade with Chicago for a third round draft pick. Darling is 44th in the league in save percentage (.892%).
24. Edmonton Oilers (22-24-3, 47 pts)
Despite the ever-so-talented Connor McDavid, the Oilers are 24th in goals scored per game (2.71). It wouldn’t be shocking for Edmonton to acquire more talent before the trade deadline.
25. Detroit Red Wings (19-21-8, 46 pts)
The Red Wings sit ten points out of a wild card spot, probably because they are 28th in the league in goals scored per game (2.56) and give up the tenth-most goals per game (3.02).
26. Montreal Canadiens (20-23-6, 46 pts)
The Canadiens also sit ten points out of a wild card spot, and must decide if they want to start rebuilding or acquire assets to make a long-shot push for the playoffs.
27. Florida Panthers (19-22-6, 44 pts)
The Panthers give up the sixth most goals per game (3.30) in the league.
28. Vancouver Canucks (19-24-6, 44 pts)
The Canucks have lost eight of their last eleven games.
29. Ottawa Senators (15-23-9, 39 pts)
Ottawa went into the All-Star break on a five-game losing streak. They lost six of their last seven, including an 8-2 pounding from the Blackhawks.
30. Buffalo Sabres (14-26-9, 37 pts)
The Sabres are dead-last in the league in goals scored per game (2.34).
31. Arizona Coyotes (12-29-9, 33 pts)
The Coyotes may be looking to start the rebuilding process before the trade deadline. They’ve already acquired Richard Panik and Laurent Dauphin from the Chicago Blackhawks.