NHL Power Rankings, Week 12

And the NHL Rankings, just a couple of weeks before All-Star Weekend . . .

#31 Ottawa Senators (15-23-5, -36, LW:  30)

#30 Philadelphia Flyers (15-21-6, -35, LW:  29)

#29 Detroit Red Wings (16-21-7, -27, LW:  31)

#28 Anaheim Ducks (19-17-7, -23, LW:  26)

#27 New York Rangers (17-17-7, -27, LW:  20)

#26 Los Angeles Kings (17-24-3, -31, LW:  24)

#25 Chicago Blackhawks (16-22-7, -32, LW:  27)

#24 Arizona Coyotes (18-21-3, -10, LW:  28)

#23 Vancouver Canucks (20-21-4, -15, LW:  15)

#22 Florida Panthers (17-16-7, -12, LW:  16)

#21 New Jersey Devils (16-18-7, -15, LW:  17)

#20 Edmonton Oilers (20-19-3, -13, LW:  25)

#19 St. Louis Blues (17-19-4, -16, LW:  23)

#18 Buffalo Sabres (22-14-6, 0, LW:  18)

The Sabres are finally looking like they will snap a seven year drought and make the playoffs, starting with their prized pick from the 2015 draft, 22-year old captain Jack Eichel.  After missing 20 and 15 games in each of the last two seasons, Eichel is already looking to eclipse his career high in all three scoring categories, playing in 40 of 42 games this season.  I’m happy because the city of Buffalo deserves some good to come their way and it should come from the better of the two leagues they have there.

#17 Colorado Avalanche (20-14-8, +15, LW:  22)

#16 Dallas Stars (22-17-4, 0, LW:  12)

#15 Montreal Canadiens (22-16-5, -2, LW:  14)

#14 Carolina Hurricanes (19-17-5, -10, LW:  21)

#13 Minnesota Wild (21-17-3, +5, LW:  19)

#12 Washington Capitals (25-12-4, +23, LW:  6)

#11 Columbus Blue Jackets (24-14-3, +9, LW:  8)

I would love for Cleveland sports fans to become hockey fans and adopt the Blue Jackets as their team.  One, the AAA affiliate for the Jackets is right here in Cleveland, and several of Columbus’ big contributors were playing right here just three years ago as they captured the Calder Cup in the AHL.  They currently hold the second playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division and this season seem poised to finally break through and have some postseason success.  Go ahead and climb aboard, the NHL is an awesome game to experience!

#10 San Jose Sharks (24-13-7, +17, LW:  10)

#9 Winnipeg Jets (26-13-2, +23, LW:  9)

#8 Nashville Predators (26-15-3, +26, LW:  13)

#7 Boston Bruins (24-14-4, +12, LW:  11)

#6 Toronto Maple Leafs (27-13-2, +35, LW:  3)

#5 New York Islanders (23-13-4, +14, LW:  5)

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins (23-13-6, +25, LW:  2)

At one point this season it looked as if the Penguins would not just miss the playoffs, but miss them badly with a last place finish.  In the month of December the Penguins went 10-3-1, vaulting them up into the postseason mix.  They still have their defensive lapses, but the offense has been strong as in years past, and another run at the Cup could be on the horizon.  I do wonder if all of the playoff games over the last few years will catch up with them, but for right now Penguins fans can enjoy the ride.

#3 Calgary Flames (27-13-4, +31, LW:  4)

#2 Vegas Golden Knights (26-15-4, +17, LW:  7)

After some early season struggles the Knights are more in their 2017-18 form, moving into second in the Pacific Division.  One key to that was Brandon Pirri, a 27-year old originally drafted by the Blackhawks in 2009 who is undersized and streaky, but has plenty of offensive skills to make those streaks worth it.  He’s played seven games for the Knights and has produced six goals and three assists.  Part of surviving a long season is riding hot streaks, and in a city where people try to ride them all the time, Vegas doesn’t have to worry about going all in when the streak goes cold.

#1 Tampa Bay Lightning (32-8-2, +52, LW:  1)

Playoff positions are starting sort themselves out, at least near the top.  By the end of this month – the All-Star Break – we should have some semblence of what to expect come April. Until then, enjoy!

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