NHL Power Rankings: 3/31/14

The Bruins occupy the top spot in our power rankings for the second week in a row, while a certain Eastern Conference team in free-fall shakes things up at the bottom. 

RANK

TEAM (Record)

LW

MOVEMENT

THE SKINNY

1

Boston (52-17-6)

3-0-1

No dethroning the Bruins this week, whose last loss in regulation came sometime in 2006. Okay, so March 1 to be real, but the B’s ability to keep this points streak alive despite wearing a massive target on their back is seriously impressive.
2

St. Louis (50-17-7)

2-1-0

There’s no such thing as a flawless hockey team, but the Blues certainly make you think twice. Meanwhile, TJ Oshie continues to scoff at the notion that nobody’s perfect.
3

Anaheim (48-18-8)

2-0-1

∧ 1

The leapfrogging continues in the Pacific Division, and right now it’s the Ducks back in front. Anaheim can all but wrap things up this week with games against Winnipeg, Nashville and Edmonton (twice).
4

Pittsburgh (48-22-5)

2-2-0

∧ 1

A big statement-win on Sunday for the Penguins, knocking off the Blackhawks 4-1 at home. Sidney Crosby’s next point will be his 100th, a plateau he will share to himself when the season ends. He is playing in a league of his own.
5

San Jose (47-20-9)

1-2-1

∨ 2

After plowing through the first three weeks of March, the Sharks have hit a snag. They’ve lost five of seven, and appear destined for a cruel first-round matchup with the Kings.
6

Colorado (47-21-6)

3-0-0

∧ 2

The Avalanche are one of the great stories of the 2013-14 season, which is why you hate to see them lose Matt Duchene with just two weeks to go. Can the Avs keep up with the Blackhawks in the first round without their leading scorer?
7

Los Angeles (38-25-7)

4-0-0

∧ 2

Here come the Kings again, who are in the midst of their second long winning streak this month. Marian Gaborik – four points in the past three games – is starting to percolate in L.A.
8

Montreal (43-26-7)

4-0-0

∧ 4

13 teams have tried beating the Bruins this month, and only the Canadiens have succeeded. Montreal will put its five-game winning streak on the line in Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, in what is likely to be a first-round playoff preview.
9

Chicago (42-19-15)

1-3-0

∨ 3

If the Blackhawks return to the Stanley Cup Finals, the two teams they’re most likely to face just smacked them on the head – first the Bruins on Thursday (3-0), and then the Penguins on Sunday (4-1). Of course with Chicago banged up and struggling as the playoffs near, there’s no guarantee the defending champs make it past the first round.
10

Tampa Bay (41-25-9)

2-1-1

Fans in Tampa have to be thrilled with the way this team has responded since the Martin St. Louis trade, picking up points in 11 of 13 games. Big six-game homestand starts Tuesday.
11

N. Y. Rangers (42-30-4)

3-1-0

∧ 2

In terms of ROW, the Rangers rank 5th in the NHL, ahead of the Sharks, Blackhawks, Kings and Canadiens. If they can find a way to start winning at home, the Blueshirts will be a dangerous team come playoff time.
12

Philadelphia (39-27-8)

1-2-1

∨ 5

The Flyers cooled off last week, but the playoffs are pretty much a lock. Could anyone have guessed in November that Claude Giroux would be the NHL’s third leading scorer come March?
13

Minnesota (38-26-11)

1-2-0

∨ 2

The Wild tightened their dying grip on a playoff spot with a big 3-1 win over Phoenix on Saturday – but they can’t coast yet. A possibly season-defining week brings games against the Kings, Blackhawks and Penguins.
14

Detroit (35-26-14)

2-2-0

∧ 1

If the Wings can hold on to a Wild Card spot in the East, Mike Babcock has to get some serious consideration for coach of the year. Detroit is second in the league in man-games lost, and still very much alive with two weeks to go.
15

Phoenix (36-27-12)

2-1-1

∨ 1

With Mike Smith out for at least another week, the Coyotes must rally around backup Thomas Greiss. Adversity seems to do this team well, so look for Phoenix to respond in positive fashion.
16

Dallas (36-27-11)

3-1-0

∧ 1

It’s hard to imagine the Bruins, way up there at number one, regret any of the moves they made last summer. But is it possible they gave up too early on Tyler Seguin? With 76 points, he ranks 5th in the NHL in scoring.
17

Columbus (38-30-6)

2-1-0

∧ 1

Nothing’s ever easy for the Blue Jackets, but they play well enough – and hard enough – as a team to get the points they need. What a year for Ryan Johansen, who looks to be the franchise cornerstone for years to come.
18

Washington (34-28-13)

0-1-2

∨ 2

Is it possible that Alex Ovechkin, the NHL’s leading goal scorer, is a detriment to his team on the ice? Out of 858 players, Ovie is dead last in plus/minus with a –34 rating.
19

Nashville (33-32-9)

2-1-1

∧ 3

With 25 goals in their past six games, the Preds are finally showing some pep at the other end of the rink. It’s too little too late, of course, but with games against Dallas, Phoenix and Minnesota on the horizon, Nashville can still have a say in the playoff race out West.
20

Vancouver (34-31-11)

1-1-1

∧ 1

With five points to make up in the standings and just six games left, the Canucks are all but finished. Was John Tortorella the right hire in Vancouver?
21

New Jersey (31-28-15)

0-0-2

∨ 1

Two shootout losses last week pretty much sum up the Devils season. New Jersey is 0-10 in shootouts this year, a mark that has come to doom them down the stretch.
22

Ottawa (31-31-12)

3-0-1

∧ 4

The playoffs are out of question at this point for Ottawa, but the Sens are trying to salvage at least some of their integrity.
23

Calgary (31-38-7)

2-2-0

∧ 1

A portrait of resiliency, the Flames refuse to go belly-up even with nothing tangible to play for. Two impressive wins last week over the Sharks and Rangers.
24

Carolina (32-32-10)

1-1-1

∨ 1

With just 17 goals on the season, Eric Staal is costing the Hurricanes almost half a million bucks for each biscuit he buries.
25

N. Y. Islanders (27-37-8)

2-0-1

∧ 2

Owner Charles Wang is in talks to sell the Isles, which has to make you wonder about the future of GM Garth Snow as well.
26

Winnipeg (31-30-12)

1-2-0

∨ 1

The fans in Winnipeg, a bunch as hardy as they come, deserve better than what the Jets have given them in March.
27

Florida (27-39-8)

1-2-0

∧ 1

Does the injury to Roberto Luongo raise concerns about his long-term future with the Panthers?
28

Edmonton (25-38-9)

1-2-0

∧ 1

Coach Dallas Eakins made some noise after Sunday night’s loss to the Rangers, noting the Oilers are misidentified as an offensive team. That may be true, but having allowed more goals than any team in the NHL, they’re certainly not a defensive team either.
29

Buffalo (20-45-9)

0-2-1

∧ 1

Coach Ted Nolan, who kept a severely undermanned Sabres team motivated all season long, was rewarded on Monday with a three-year contract extension.
30

Toronto (36-32-8)

0-3-0

∨ 11

The curtain has finally been lifted on Toronto’s season, which was a mirage through the first 68 games. They’re not this bad, of course, but they were never as good as their record suggested.

 

 

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