NHL Power Rankings: 3/24/14

RANK

TEAM (Record)

LW

MOVEMENT

THE SKINNY

1

Boston (49-17-5)

4-0-0

∧ 1

Twelve straight wins. 103 points. +78 goal differential. They’re the second highest scoring team in the league, and all people talk about is how good they are defensively. Is there any Eastern Conference club that can beat them in a best-of-seven series?
2

St. Louis (48-16-7)

2-2-0

∨ 1

The Blues looked vulnerable last week for the first time in the Ryan Miller era, but the number one seed in the West is still their’s to lose. GM Doug Armstrong is building a juggernaut in St. Louis.
3

San Jose (46-18-8)

1-1-1

After a dogged winter pursuit, the Sharks finally passed the Ducks last week with a big 3-2 win over Anaheim on Thursday night. But San Jose’s best work came on Tuesday, in a loss to the Panthers.
4

Anaheim (46-18-7)

1-2-0

The Ducks continues to sputter, but a playoff berth is just around the corner. With games this week against the Flames, Oilers and Canucks, Anaheim looks to get back on track.
5

Pittsburgh (46-20-5)

2-1-1

∧ 1

Decimated by injury, the Penguins press on. They’ve got the Metropolitan Division locked up, and Evgeni Malkin, dazed in his return from Sochi, is coming back to life. Nothing like a good heart-to-heart.
6

Chicago (41-16-15)

2-1-1

∧ 1

Losing Patrick Kane for the rest of the season hurts, but the Blackhawks probably weren’t going to catch the Blues anyway. With the playoffs still two weeks away and the Central Division all but decided, it’s Teuvo Teravainen time in Chicago!

7

Philadelphia (38-25-7)

3-0-0

∧ 3

It’s one thing to simply win five games in a row; it’s another thing entirely to do it against the league’s best. The Flyers close out a homestand for the ages Monday night against the Kings, as Jeff Carter and Mike Richards return to Philly.
8

Colorado (44-21-6)

0-2-1

∨ 3

A tough week for the Avs, who have lost three in a row and four of their past five. Gut-check time for a young team. Oh, and if you weren’t a Matt Duchene fan before, aren’t you now?
9

Los Angeles (40-25-6)

2-1-0

Why is winning the Pacific Division so important? Because the runner-up gets a first-round matchup with the Kings, a flat-out deadly team in the playoffs. If you enjoy sharing the puck, don’t invite LA to your next game of shinny.
10

Tampa Bay (39-24-8)

3-0-1

∧ 3

The Lightning lost their leading scorer at the trade deadline, and have averaged a 3.55 goals per game since. Rookie surprises Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat – “found money!” – have made the loss of Martin St. Louis easier to swallow.
11

Minnesota (37-24-11)

2-1-1

∨ 3

Credit the Wild for picking up points in 13 of their past 15 games, but the fact of the matter is Minnesota hasn’t won back-to-back games in nearly a month. There aren’t any Bettman Points to be had in the playoffs.
12

Montreal (39-26-7)

2-1-0

∨ 1

The floodgates have opened for Thomas Vanek, but even more encouraging for the Canadiens is the recovery of Carey Price. As the playoffs near, he seems to be settling back into his first-half groove.
13

N. Y. Rangers (39-29-4)

3-0-0

∧ 4

Much-needed bounce-back week for the Rangers, who look to be coming into their own at the right time. Huge game against Philadelphia on Wednesday.
14

Phoenix (34-26-11)

2-1-0

∧ 1

The Coyotes have risen from the ashes in the Western Conference, roaring back to life in March. On the broad shoulders of Mike Smith, this team can go anywhere.
15

Detroit (33-24-14)

3-0-1

∧ 4

What a week for Gustav Nyquist and the Wings, who grabbed seven of eight points to haul themselves back inside the playoff picture. But there’s work yet to do: Columbus, Montreal, Toronto and Tampa Bay are on deck.
16

Washington (34-27-11)

2-0-1

∧ 2

The Caps ran the Pacific Division gauntlet last week, and came away with five out of a possible six points. Huge. But to make it count, they must take care of business at home this week.
17

Dallas (33-26-11)

1-2-0

∨ 3

After winning six of nine in early March, the Stars have dropped four of their past five to lose ground in the Wild Card race out west. They’re going nowhere without their power play.
18

Columbus (36-29-6)

1-3-0

∨ 2

A day in the life of a Blue Jackets fan: your team loses a gimme to the Islanders on Sunday, and is then spurned by a college football coach shortly thereafter.
19

Toronto (36-29-8)

0-4-0

∨ 7

Nothing says panic quite like a Twitter assault on a goalie’s wife, but five straight losses will do that to you. The Leafs are hanging on by a thread in the East.
20

New Jersey (31-28-13)

2-2-0

They’re five points out of the Wild Card, but the Devils continue to hang around in the East. Jaromir Jagr, the ageless wonder, can do no wrong.
21

Vancouver (33-29-10)

2-1-0

∧ 1

The Canucks aren’t going quietly, which makes sense when you remember who their coach is. Speaking of, has Torts thrown owner Francesco Aquilini out of his office yet?
22

Nashville (31-31-10)

2-2-0

∨ 1

Impressive 2-0 win over Chicago to close out the week for the Preds, who are happy to have back Pekka Rine. Now what can that Filip Forsberg kid do?
23

Carolina (31-31-9)

2-1-0

Great move by GM Jim Rutherford to get defenseman Justin Faulk locked up long term. And for relatively cheap, too.
24

Calgary (29-36-7)

2-1-0

∧ 2

 The Flames are living proof to everyone else down here that tanking is indeed different from rebuilding. Calgary isn’t built to win now, but the team is doing its best to prove otherwise.
25

Winnipeg (30-28-12)

1-2-0

A couple thousand miles from Winnipeg, it’s safe to the Jets are done. So where did it go wrong?
26

Ottawa (28-31-11)

0-3-0

∨ 2

An ugly season got uglier still for the Sens last week, who gave up 16 goals over three games. What to do with Jason Spezza?
27

N. Y. Islanders (25-37-7)

1-1-0

One bright spot for the Isles this season? The breakout year for Kyle Okposo, who looks to have put it all together in his fifth NHL season.
28

Florida (26-37-8)

1-3-0

The Panthers were whacked this weekend in California. Time for the young guns to get their shot.
29

Edmonton (24-36-9)

1-2-0

Consecutive losses to the Sabres and Flames pretty much sums up the Oilers’ season. The organization is taking some harsh rebukes in the media, and deservedly so.
30

Buffalo (20-43-8)

1-2-0

Who has scored lately for the Sabres? No one, really. For fans in Buffalo, the draft can’t come soon enough.

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