What an exciting week of hockey it was coming out of the All-Star break. We had two games get sent to overtime on goals scored in the last 30 seconds. We also saw the Winnipeg Jets make a statement with big wins against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche. In addition, the Golden Knights raised the bar for every expansion team to come.

With this week I’ll be adding a little something in this edition of NHL Power Rankings: a what-to-watch-for list of matchups consisting of highly-ranked teams and a tracker of which teams moved the most from week to week.

Here are some of matchups to watch in the next week based on my Top-12 rankings:

  • Golden Knights @ Penguins – Tuesday @ 7:00 ET
  • Predators @ Maple Leafs – Wednesday @ 7:30 ET
  • Golden Knights @ Sharks – Thursday @ 10:30 ET
  • Blues @ Jets – Friday @ 8:00 ET
  • Penguins @ Stars – Friday @ 8:30 ET
  • Penguins @ Blues – Sunday @ 3:00 ET
  • Bruins @ Devils – Sunday @ 7:00 ET
  • Lightning @ Maple Leafs – Monday @ 7:00 ET

 

Who moved up the most: Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils (six spots)

Who moved down the most: Colorado Avalanche (four spots)

 

1. Las Vegas Golden Knights (35-13-4, 74 pts) (Last Week’s Rank: 1)

Last Week: 3-1

Next Games: @ Penguins, @ Sharks, vs Flyers, vs Blackhawks

The Golden Knights got a big win against the Washington Capitals this past week. They also beat the Western Conference contender-Winnipeg Jets in overtime. That win gave the Golden Knights their 34th win, setting the record for most wins by an NHL team in their inaugural season.

 

2. Tampa Bay Lightning (36-13-3, 75 pts) (2)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Oilers, vs Canucks, vs Kings, @ Maple Leafs

The Tampa Bay Lightning are taking care of business as usual. However, last week they took a 3-1 loss from the red-hot Winnipeg Jets. Taking recent losses from Winnipeg and Las Vegas is somewhat concerning for the long run, but they’ll likely be okay after going 6-4-0 in their last ten games.

 

3. Winnipeg Jets (31-13-9, 71 pts) (5)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Coyotes, vs Blues, vs Rangers

Once again the NHL was forced to answer a controversial goalie interference call. Jets fans have every right to be mad. I mean, James Neal broke his stick on Hellebuyck’s helmet. Regardless, the Jets beat the Eastern Conference-leading Lightning and shut out the Avalanche, who were hot going into the All-Star break.

 

4. Nashville Predators (31-12-7, 69 pts) (4)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Islanders, @ Maple Leafs, @ Senators, @ Canadiens

The Predators took a loss at home from Chicago, but that was without goalie Pekka Rinne. Since then, Rinne has returned and won his sixth- and seventh-straight games. In their last three games, Nashville has scored 11 goals while only giving up four.

 

5. Boston Bruins (31-11-8, 70 pts) (3)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Red Wings, @ Rangers, vs Sabres, @ Devils

The Bruins got big wins against the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs last week. Between the two games, Boston scored seven goals and gave up only two.

 

6. Toronto Maple Leafs (30-19-5, 65 pts) (8)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Predators, vs Senators, vs Lightning

Toronto’s two wins come in the form of back-to-back shutouts. The Maple Leafs blanked the Islanders and Rangers in 5-0 and 4-0 wins, respectively. They will begin a five game homestand this week.

 

7. St. Louis Blues (32-19-3, 67 pts) (7)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Wild, vs Avalanche, @ Jets, vs Penguins

The Blues lost to the Bruins and beat the Sabres by just one goal. However, the Blues are still in third place in the Central division, and have three Central division matchups this week.

 

8. Washington Capitals (30-17-5, 65 pts) (6)

Last Week: 1-2

Next Games: @ Blue Jackets, vs Blue Jackets, vs Red Wings

The Capitals took 7-4 losses to both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The loss to the Penguins hurts them in the Metropolitan divisional race. Washington is still four points ahead of Pittsburgh, and they have an opportunity to get four more points ahead of Columbus as they play twice this week.

 

9. San Jose Sharks (28-16-8, 64 pts) (10)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: @ Avalanche, vs Golden Knights, vs Oilers, @ Ducks

Also losing to Pittsburgh last week were the San Jose Sharks. They have tough matchups against the Avalanche and Golden Knights coming up, giving the Sharks a chance to cut that ten point deficit to Las Vegas in the Pacific division.

 

10. Dallas Stars (30-19-4, 64 pts) (9)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Rangers, @ Blackhawks, vs Penguins, vs Canucks

The Stars won dominantly against Minnesota last week, beating them 6-1. That win could prove useful, increasing the Stars’ lead on the Wild to three in the Central division.

 

11. Pittsburgh Penguins (29-22-3, 61 pts) (17)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Golden Knights, @ Stars, @ Blues

The Penguins performed well last week, netting wins against both the San Jose Sharks and Washington Capitals at home. Between both games, the Penguins scored 12 goals. All three of their matchups this week are against teams in my Top-12 rankings.

 

12. New Jersey Devils (27-16-8, 62 pts) (18)

Last Week: 2-0

Next Games: vs Senators, vs Flames, @ Blue Jackets, vs Bruins

The Devils are quietly getting their business taken care of in the Metropolitan division. They have a one-point lead on Pittsburgh and trail the Capitals by only three points.

 

13. Los Angeles Kings (28-19-5, 61 pts) (13)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Oilers, @ Panthers, @ Lightning

The Kings claimed the third spot in the Pacific division last week with shutouts against Dallas and Arizona. They got shut-out themselves by Nashville 5-0, however.

 

14. Minnesota Wild (28-19-5, 61 pts) (14)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Blues, vs Coyotes, vs Blackhawks

The Wild had a big win against the Golden Knights 5-2 last week. However, they lost a 6-1 game against Dallas and now sit in the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. They’ll have a chance to make up those Central division points against the Blues and Blackhawks this week.

 

15. Colorado Avalanche (28-19-4, 60 pts) (11)

Last Week: 1-2

Next Games: vs Sharks, @ Blues, vs Hurricanes, vs Sabres

After going on a ten-game win streak, the Avalanche have gone 1-3-1 in their last five games, but I wouldn’t hit the panic button on the Avalanche just yet. I would wait until after they play the Sharks and Blues this week to decide how bad this skid is. Of course, the Avalanche are in a prime spot to make a move in the Western conference, and need to capitalize on their big win streak.

 

16. Calgary Flames (26-18-8, 60 pts) (12)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Blackhawks, @ Devils, @ Rangers, @ Islanders

The Flames took bad losses to the Golden Knights and Lightning last week. They gave up seven goals to the Lightning and lost by two against the Golden Knights. However, they squeaked out a win in overtime against the Blackhawks, who they play again this week.

 

17. Anaheim Ducks (25-18-10, 60 pts) (16)

Last Week: 1-2

Next Games: @ Maple Leafs, @ Sabres, vs Oilers, vs Sharks

The Ducks had a good win against the Bruins with a 3-1 final score. They’ll have a chance to prove their mettle this week against the Maple Leafs and Sharks, the No. 8 and No. 10 teams in points, respectively.

 

18. Columbus Blue Jackets (27-21-4, 58 pts) (15)

Last Week: 0-3

Next Games: vs Capitals, @ Capitals, vs Devils

The Blue Jackets crashed and burned last week, taking losses from the Wild, Sharks, and Islanders. They remain in the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but the race is tight and at least two points would have helped tremendously.

 

19. Philadelphia Flyers (21-19-9, 57 pts) (19)

Last Week: 0-3

Next Games: @ Hurricanes, vs Canadiens, @ Coyotes, vs Golden Knights

The Flyers also lost all three of their games last week. One came in Ottawa in a thrilling shootout in which Mike Hoffman scored a spectacular goal. Let’s not forget the valiant effort the Flyers gave in that game by tying it with 2.6 seconds left in the third period.

 

20. New York Islanders (26-22-5, 57 pts) (20)

Last Week: 1-2

Next Games: vs Predators, @ Sabres, vs Red Wings, vs Flames

The Islanders had a week they’d like to forget soon, after losing to the Panthers and getting blanked by the Maple Leafs. In those two games, the Islanders scored one goal and gave up nine.

 

21. Chicago Blackhawks (24-20-8, 56 pts) (22)

Last Week: 1-2

Next Games: vs Flames, vs Stars, @ Wild, @ Coyotes

The Blackhawks still have a long shot at a Western Conference wild card spot, sitting five points behind Minnesota. Chicago won in Nashville, but against a Pekka Rinne-less Predator team. They face off against two of their Central division rivals, the two current Western Conference wild card teams, this week.

 

22. Carolina Hurricanes (24-21-8, 56 pts) (23)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: vs Flyers, vs Canucks, vs Avalanche

The Hurricanes are in the middle of an eight game streak at home, where they are 12-9-4.

 

23. New York Rangers (25-22-5, 55 pts) (20)

Last Week: 0-2

Next Games: @ Stars, vs Bruins, vs Flames, @ Jets

Last week, the Rangers scored two goals and gave up nine in losses to the Maple Leafs and Predators. They likely won’t find much more luck in matchups against top-10 teams in the Stars, Bruins, and Jets this week.

 

24. Florida Panthers (22-22-6, 50 pts) (27)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Canucks, vs Kings, @ Oilers

Even after winning two games last week, the Panthers sit five points behind the Rangers in the Eastern Conference race.

 

25. Detroit Red Wings (21-22-8, 50 pts) (25)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Bruins, @ Islanders, @ Capitals

The Red Wings sit in the same boat as the Panthers in terms of the Eastern Conference battle, but face a much harder schedule this week.

 

26. Montréal Canadiens (22-25-6, 50 pts) (26)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: @ Flyers, vs Predators

The Canadiens had a good win against the Anaheim Ducks in a 5-2 victory at home. However, they still sit five points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

 

27. Edmonton Oilers (22-24-4, 48 pts) (24)

Last Week: 0-1

Next Games: vs Lightning, @ Kings, @ Ducks, @ Sharks, vs Panthers

Connor McDavid’s heroic efforts were all for not after the Avalanche beat the Oilers in overtime. McDavid had a highlight-reel goal with 27 seconds left in the third period to force the game into overtime.

 

28. Vancouver Canucks (21-25-6, 48 pts) (28)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Panthers, @ Lightning, @ Hurricanes, @ Stars

The Canucks escape the frigid weather of Canada to the much more tolerable Florida climate on a three-game road trip.

 

29. Ottawa Senators (17-25-9, 43 pts) (29)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: vs Devils, vs Predators, @ Maple Leafs, @ Penguins

Mike Hoffman had a beautiful goal to win in the shootout against Philadelphia. The Senators will need about 12 more of those with the Predators, Maple Leafs, and Penguins coming up on the schedule.

 

30. Buffalo Sabres (14-29-9, 37 pts) (30)

Last Week: 0-3

Next Games: vs Ducks, vs Islanders, @ Bruins, vs Avalanche

Buffalo sits at dead-last in the Eastern Conference. It looks to stay that way with matchups against the Ducks, Bruins, and Avalanche coming up.

 

31. Arizona Coyotes (12-31-9, 33 pts) (31)

Last Week: 0-2

Next Games: @ Jets, @ Wild, vs Flyers, vs Blackhawks

Also not winning any games last week were the Arizona Coyotes. Their week is much tougher than Buffalo’s, with contests against the  Jets, Wild, and Blackhawks this week.

 

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