With the Trade deadline over, teams are looking towards the final stretch before the playoffs.
Introducing the Anchor Sports Network NHL Power Rankings! These rankings will be updated based on teams that have been playing well over the course of the month. The rankings main determinant is monthly record and performance, with an emphasis on how the teams finish the month. Welcome to the first edition!
With just over a month until the regular season comes to a conclusion, we take a look at the teams who have been streaking over the month of February and who have the power to make noise come playoff time. Here are my top 10 teams in the NHL right now.
1. Tampa Bay Lighting
There is no question that the Lightning are the best team in the NHL. They just ended a franchise-long win streak of 10 games, they are the first team to 50 wins and 100 points in the NHL this season, and as of March 12th, they are 17 points ahead in the President’s trophy race. They also have the best statistical player in the league right now in Nikita Kucherov.
2. Boston Bruins
The only reason Tampa Bay is ahead of Boston right now is because of their point total and their recent win streak. Other than that, the B’s have dominated the last month of play, having a 19 game point streak recently closed. Their strong run has pushed them to second place in the Atlantic Division and have caught the attention of the hockey world.
3. Calgary Flames
Calgary has been having one of their best years since their cup run in 2004. During the month of February the Flames had their longest win streak of the season at 7, and a record of 8-3-2 overall. The positive about this run was it came immediately after a four game losing streak. Lately its been either hot or cold for the Alberta side, but if they can turn on the heat, this team looks good.
4. Washington Capitals
11 wins out of their last 15 games, including five straight at the end of the month for the defending champions shoots them up to four in the rankings. They probably would be at about 7 or 8 if there were rankings for the month of January. So, a good jump for the Metropolitan Leaders who seem to be finding a rhythm at a good time of year. Ovechkin continues to be a leader on this team, and they seem to be handling the departure of Barry Trotz just fine.
5. San Jose Sharks
The Sharks went 8-3-1 in the month of February and are toe-to-toe with Calgary out in the Pacific. The addition of Erik Karlsson has helped the team grow this season and Martin Jones has had one of his best season in between the pipes, the team is finding themselves back in contention. 5 straight wins to start the month, got them to a hot start and continued success now has them right at the top of the division. If they keep up this run of expected success, they can make noise in the West.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs
There has been so much hype and expectation for Toronto after the off-season acquisition of John Tavares, and right now they are playing well, just not enough to keep up with Tampa. They seem to be in a contending phase and going 9-4-2 in February helps them, but when Boston gets points in 19 straight, and Tampa Bay running away with the division, it will be tough for the Leafs to get out of 3rd in the division, and 6th in the rankings.
7. Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina continues to be the surprise team of the year, and the month of February fared well for the 3rd place team in the Metro. The Canes had a 10-3 record which would have shot them up multiple spots, and it seems like they are going to make the postseason for the first time since the 2008-09 season. There is still work to do, but Carolina has to be confident with a hot goaltender in Petr Mrazek in net.
8. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets had a poor month of February going just 4-7-2 overall, but they stay in the power rankings because of previous months’ performance. A team that is holding onto the lead of the Central division, Winnipeg has to be careful with a surging Nashville on their heels, and the fact that Connor Hellebuyck gave up at least 3 goals in 8 of the 9 games he played in February.
9. Nashville Predators
Nashville did not have a great February, going 7-6-1 during the month. But, the additions of Wayne Simmonds, Mikael Granlund and Brian Boyle show the Preds’ forward unit has grown in depth. They will continue to be a contender this year, and with a close Western Conference at the top, it would not be surprising if they made another cup run.
10. New York Islanders
The Isles had an up and down February but have done enough to hold off rising teams like Vegas and Pittsburgh. They currently sit 2nd in the Metro and went 8-4-2 during the month. They played an inspired game against Toronto, when John Tavares made his return to the Coliseum, plus their goaltending play from both Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner has been great.