Another week of NHL hockey is in the books. We had big blockbuster matchups, including the Penguins topping the Golden Knights and the Blues. We also saw more exciting finishes, including the Islanders scoring four goals in just over three and a half minutes, which eventually lead to an overtime win against the Red Wings.

We are also witnessing dominance by the top three teams in the Atlantic division. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs are all within the top six in points in the entire NHL. Their records from last week combined to 7-2, not including a game in which the Maple Leafs played the Lightning.

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

  • Blues @ Predators – Tuesday @ 8:00 PM ET
  • Capitals @ Jets – Tuesday @ 8:00 PM ET
  • Capitals @ Wild – Thursday @ 8:00 PM ET
  • Blues @ Stars – Friday @ 8:30 PM ET
  • Maple Leafs @ Penguins – Saturday @ 7:00 PM ET
  • Stars @ Sharks – Sunday @ 8:00 PM ET

Who moved up the most: Philadelphia Flyers (six spots)

Who moved down the most: Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils (six spots)

 

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (38-15-3, 79 pts) (Previous Rank: 2)

Last Week: 2-2

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

The Lightning still hold the 1st seed in the Atlantic division, although the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs are gaining on them. If the Lightning keep winning like they have been, they’ll be more than O.K.

 

2. Las Vegas Golden Knights (36-15-4, 76 pts) (1)

Last Week: 1-2

Next Games: vs Blackhawks, vs Oilers, vs Canadiens, vs Ducks

The Golden Knights stumbled a bit last week after taking two losses. One was to the Penguins, which is understandable. The less understandable loss came in Philadelphia to the albeit-red-hot Flyers. Vegas has a relatively easy schedule this week and should get back on track.

 

3. Boston Bruins (34-12-8, 76 pts) (5)

Last Week: 3-1

Next Games: vs Flames, @ Canucks, vs Flames

The Bruins made good use of their easy schedule, netting wins against the Red Wings, Rangers, and Devils all on the road. Those six points will go a long way in their attempt to catch the Lightning in the Atlantic division.

 

4. Nashville Predators (33-12-9, 75 pts) (3)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: vs Blues, vs Flames, vs Red Wings, vs Senators

The Predators made sure to keep things interesting. All four of their games last week went beyond regulation. They lost a close game to the Maple Leafs in a shootout. That loss was goalie Pekka Rinne’s first in nine games.

 

5. Toronto Maple Leafs (34-19-5, 71 pts) (6)

Last Week: 4-0

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

The Maple Leafs are one of two teams to win all their games last week, including a win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Maple Leafs are also 8-1-0 in their last nine games. The Leafs are heating up at a good time, keeping the race tight for top of the Atlantic division.

 

6. Winnipeg Jets (32-15-9, 73 pts) (3)

Last Week: 1-2

Next Games: vs Capitals, vs Avalanche, vs Panthers

The Jets are still a hot team, even after losing two out of their three games last week. They only fell three spots because the other teams outperformed them. Look for the Jets to get back on their feet this week.

 

7. St. Louis Blues (34-21-3, 71 pts) (7)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: @ Predators, @ Stars

After playing four games last week, the Blues get a bit of a break this week with just two games. Those games are as important as ever, though, as they’re against two Central division rivals.

 

8. Dallas Stars (33-20-4, 70 pts) (10)

Last Week: 3-1

Next Games: vs Blues, @ Sharks

The Stars had a great week last week, winning five games in a row. That streak was broken by the Canucks in a humiliating 6-0 loss at home. The Stars have a chance to gain points in the Central division against the Blues on Friday after a break.

 

9. San Jose Sharks (30-18-8, 68 pts) (9)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: vs Coyotes, vs Canucks, vs Stars

The Sharks took a tough loss to the Golden Knights last week, which hurts them in the Pacific division race. They are just eight points behind, however, and have a decent schedule this week with the exception of the Stars.

 

10. Washington Capitals (32-17-6, 70 pts) (8)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Jets, @ Wild, @ Blackhawks, @ Sabres

The Capitals won both of their games agains the Blue Jackets last week, which helps tremendously to keep that 1st seed in the Metropolitan division. They still got points from their overtime loss to Detroit, as well.

 

11. Pittsburgh Penguins (31-22-4, 66 pts) (11)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Senators, vs Kings, vs Maple Leafs, @ Blue Jackets

This just in: Sidney Crosby is good at the hockey thing. Crosby netted his 400th career goal on Sunday against the Blues, a game in which the Penguins won 4-1. They also had an impressive 4-5 win against the Golden Knights.

 

12. Minnesota Wild (30-19-6, 66 pts) (14)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Rangers, vs Capitals, vs Ducks, @ Islanders

The Wild continue to be a quiet force in the Central division, beating the Blues, 6-2, and the Blackhawks, 0-3. They currently hold the 2nd wild card in the Western conference and are only four points behind the Stars, who hold the 1st wild card.

 

13. Philadelphia Flyers (28-19-9, 65 pts) (19)

Last Week: 4-0

Next Games: vs Devils, @ Blue Jackets, @ Rangers

The Flyers are the hottest team in hockey coming out of last week. They earned all eight of their possible points last week and went from being in the 2nd Eastern wild card to being 3rd in the Metropolitan division.

 

14. Calgary Flames (29-19-8, 66 pts) (16)

Last Week: 3-1

Next Games: @ Bruins, @ Predators, vs Panthers, vs Bruins

The Flames picked a good time to get six points. They went from being out of the playoffs to taking the 3rd seed in the Pacific division.

 

15. Colorado Avalanche (30-21-4, 64 pts) (15)

Last Week: 3-1

Next Games: vs Canadiens, @ Jets, vs Oilers

The Avalanche made a nice recovery from their skid out of the All-Star Break. Colorado has a good opportunity to keep the ball rolling with a matchup against Winnipeg this week.

 

16. Los Angeles Kings (30-20-5, 65 pts) (13)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Hurricanes, @ Penguins, @ Sabres, @ Blackhawks

The Kings barely missed with a 3-4 loss to the Lightning. A win would’ve done wonders for their ranking. Still, Los Angeles had impressive wins against Edmonton and Florida.

 

17. Anaheim Ducks (27-19-11, 65 pts) (17)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: @ Red Wings, @ Blackhawks, @ Wild, @ Golden Knights

The Ducks had two games go beyond regulation. They won against Buffalo in overtime but lost against the Sharks in a shootout. They’ll go on the road for all four of their games this week.

 

18. New Jersey Devils (27-20-8, 62 pts) (12)

Last Week: 0-4

Next Games: @ Flyers, vs Hurricanes, @ Lightning, @ Hurricanes

The Devils took losses left and right last week, scoring 10 goals to their opponents’ 18 overall. New Jersey fell from the 2nd seed in the Metropolitan division to the 1st wild card in the Eastern conference.

 

19. Carolina Hurricanes (26-21-9, 61 pts) (22)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: vs Kings, @ Devils, vs Islanders, vs Devils

The Hurricanes picked up five points last week, putting them in the 2nd Eastern wild card spot. They could find four more points against the struggling Devils this week.

 

20. Columbus Blue Jackets (28-23-4, 60 pts) (18)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: @ Islanders, @ Maple Leafs, vs Flyers, vs Penguins

After losing both their games to the Capitals, the Blue Jackets find themselves one point out of the Eastern wild card. Their 1-6 win against the Devils ended a 4-game skid.  They’ll be tested this week with matchups against Toronto and Pittsburgh.

 

21. New York Rangers (27-24-5, 59) (23)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: @ Wild, @ Islanders, @ Senators, vs Flyers

The Rangers also found a win after losing four straight. Theirs came against the Flames, one of the hotter teams in the league. The Rangers then earned an impressive 3-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets.

 

22. New York Islanders (27-24-6, 60 pts) (20)

Last Week: 1-3

Next Games: vs Blue Jackets, vs Rangers, @ Hurricanes, vs Wild

The Islanders had a rough week, losing three of their four games last week. One loss came to the Predators in overtime, while the other two were close but ended after three periods. Their only win, however, was one of the more amazing things witnessed this season and prove that even a three-goal lead is never safe.

 

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

Last Week: 0-4

Next Games: @ Golden Knights, vs Ducks, vs Capitals

The Blackhawks’ hopes at the playoffs dwindles by the day. Rumors of Crawford’s return fill the airwaves, but it may not matter if Chicago can’t stop the bleeding. Currently riding a six-game losing streak, the Blackhawks look to find a win against two top-ten teams in the Golden Knights and the Capitals.

 

24. Detroit Red Wings (22-23-9, 53 pts) (25)

Last Week: 1-2

Next Games: vs Ducks, @ Lightning, @ Predators, vs Maple Leafs

The Red Wings found themselves in overtime twice last week, but only came out victorious once. That win, however, came against a good Capitals team. Detroit sits eight points out of the Eastern wild card, but has three top-six matchups this week.

 

25. Florida Panthers (23-23-6, 52 pts) (24)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Canucks, @ Flames, @ Jets

The Panthers won big in Edmonton and begin a four-game road trip this week with three games in good ‘ol Canada.

 

26. Montréal Canadiens (22-26-7, 51 pts) (26)

Last Week: 0-2

Next Games: @ Avalanche, @ Coyotes, @ Golden Knights

Also going on the road this week are the Canadiens, who lost both of their games last week.

 

27. Edmonton Oilers (23-27-4, 50 pts) (27)

Last Week: 1-4

Next Games: @ Golden Knights, @ Coyotes, @ Avalance

Despite Connor McDavid’s efforts, the Edmonton Oilers have lost four of their last five, including a currently-running four-game losing streak. To the Oilers’ credit, three of their last four losses came against good teams. However, the OIlers have still lost five of their last six games.

 

28. Vancouver Canucks (22-28-6, 50 pts) (28)

Last Week: 1-3

Next Games: vs Panthers, @ Sharks, vs Bruins

Vancouver’s only win last week comes in the form of a 6-0 win in Dallas, which ended a four-game skid. They scored three goals in the first period and had their foot on the gas for all 60 minutes. If only they had played every game like that.

 

29. Ottawa Senators (19-26-9, 47 pts) (29)

Last Week: 2-1

Next Games: @ Penguins, vs Sabres, vs Rangers

The Senators earned two wins last week, one against the down-trending Devils, and another against the dominant Predators in overtime. Their only loss came to the also dominant Maple Leafs.

 

30. Buffalo Sabres (16-30-10, 42 pts) (30)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: vs Lightning, @ Senators, vs Kings

The Sabres actually had a decent week, getting two wins against the Islanders and red-hot Bruins. Both losses came by only one point each, one in overtime to Anaheim.

 

31. Arizona Coyotes (14-32-10, 36 pts) (31)

Last Week: 2-2

Next Games: @ Sharks, vs Canadiens, vs Oilers

Look on the bright side, Coyotes fans, you may be dead-last in the league, but your team got more points in the standings last week than the Canadiens, Blackhawks, and Devils combined!

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