Power Rankings: Week 18

Power Rankings: Week 18

It’s Friday and that means it’s time for our weekly Power Rankings. Using multiple variables we score teams out of 100 and rank them accordingly so you know who the contenders are, who the pretenders are and which way teams are trending. Forget polling a bunch of people, our scientific approach will have you impressing your friends when you tell them who’s moving up and who’s destined to fall.

#1 Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are a mediocre 5-3-2 in their last 10 games, but with the Flames also struggling this week, Tampa stays comfortably on top of the standings. With 82 points in the bank and 28 games to go, Tampa only needs 15 points to tie last year’s wild card teams. We think it’s a safe bet they’re going to be playing this spring.

#2 Calgary Flames

The Flames have been stuck at #2 in our Rankings for the last six weeks and losses to the Sharks and Capitals won’t change that. They face Tampa for the second and last time on Tuesday. The Lightning won the first game in shootout. Can Calgary split the season series and make a run for #1 in the Rankings?

#3 San Jose Sharks

The Sharks pulled off a pair of big wins against the Jets and Flames, but they still sit behind both teams in the NHL standings. Still, the Super Computer likes what it sees and predicts they will jump the Jets sooner than later and with a 7-3-0 record in their last 10, they’re a threat to snatch the first seed in the west from Calgary

#4 Toronto Maple Leafs

Great week on the ice for the Leafs, but their biggest win came off the ice when they agreed on a contract extension with Auston Matthews worth $58mil over five years, making sure to avoid the possibility of offer sheets from opposing teams this summer or a Nylander-like holdout. Now, the attention turns to Mitch Marner, who should be next in line on Kyle Dubas’ list.

#5 Nashville Predators

Three wins for the Preds shoot them up three spots in the Rankings, placing in the top five for the first time in a while. Nashville was also active off the ice, swinging a couple of trades to bolster their depth. In separate deals, they traded away second and seventh-round picks to the Devils and Rangers, respectively, for Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod. Boyle is the more impactful player of the two. He’s a big center who’s solid in the faceoff dot and can chip in on both special teams. With six powerplay goals on the year, maybe he can be the spark that helps Nashville’s league-worst powerplay and make them an even tougher matchup going forward.

#6 Vegas Golden Knights

The Knights went .500 this week, but a win against the Lightning while the Jets drop in the rankings move Vegas up a spot. Vegas sits comfortably in third place in the Pacific, five points down second place but 9 points up from the wild cards.

#7 Winnipeg Jets

Even though they remain third in the NHL standings, the Super Computer continues to be skeptical about the Jets. They crushed the Ducks to start the week, with Jack Roslovic earning the Weekend Warrior award and First Star of the week in the process, but beating the Ducks doesn’t mean much these days. Two losses later and the Jets are out of the top five. With four games this week, all against non-playoff teams, they have a clear opportunity to climb back up in the top 5.

#8 Boston Bruins

The Bruins are currently down in a wildcard spot, trailing the Canadiens by a couple of points, but the Super Computer believes the B’s have the edge over their bitter rivals. They have an extremely easy schedule coming up, with their next 5 games coming against bottom-10 teams in the standings.

#9 Pittsburgh Penguins

Even with three straight losses and a three-place drop in our Rankings, the Super Computer still crowns the Penguins best in the Metro, but they’ll have to get back into shape quickly if they want to stay in the top 10. They’ve now lost seven of their last 10 and face the Lightning next.

#10 Montreal Canadiens

With three straight wins, Montreal climbs back up in the top 10 for the first time since week 6. Jonathan Drouin is coming off arguably his best game as a Hab, Jesperi Kotkaniemi continues to impress with a goal in four straight games and Carey Price looks like his old self. Next week will show if the Habs belong in the top 10 as they face Toronto and Nashville.

#11 New York Islanders

The Islanders pushed the Lightning to the limit but couldn’t get anything past Andrei Vasilevskiy, ultimately losing 1-0 in shootout to kick off a .500 week. The Super Computer still thinks Pittsburgh is the better team, but the Isles stand on top of the Metro even if they couldn’t hold on to a top 10 spot in our Rankings.

#12 Washington Capitals

The All-Star break came at a perfect time for the Caps, who snapped a seven-game losing streak right out of the gates by beating the second-ranked Flames for their first of three wins on the week. They’re closing in on the Isles for the division lead, but a six-game road trip looms ahead for Ovi and company.

#13 St. Louis Blues

Going into the Christmas break, the Blues were 27th in our Rankings and seemed to be heading straight for the lottery. Since then, they’ve climbed up steadily every week and are now in the top half of the league with their latest 4-game win streak, capped off by a 1-0 overtime win against the Lightning. Simply said, the Blues are cruisin’.

#14 Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche are pretty much the exact opposite of the Blues. They have a mere 7 points since the calendar flipped after starting the year as hot as anyone. The losses keep piling up but the bottom half of the Western Conference is so wide open they’re still within two points of the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see if they decide to be buyers or sellers at the deadline if the wild card race remains this tight.

#15 Columbus Blue Jackets

A decent 2-1 week was once again overshadowed by some drama from one of their high-profile pending UFAs. This time it’s Artemi Panarin, who announced he fired his agent today and decided to sign with the same agent as teammate and fellow pending UFA Sergei Bobrovsky. No one is sure exactly what this means for both players’ future, but there is likely to be plenty more drama between now and the deadline.

#16 Minnesota Wild

The Wild received some terrible news this week when their captain, Mikko Koivu, went down with an injury and will be out the rest of the season. Add in four losses this week and the Super Computer has no choice but to drop them accordingly. Minnesota’s holding onto a wildcard spot right now but it’ll be tough now that they don’t have one of their best all-around players.

#17 Dallas Stars

Points in all four of their games this week, the Stars are taking advantage of a tight Western Conference to hold down a spot in the top three of the Central. The Stars have a big test this week against the Lightning but showed last week that they can hang with the big dogs, taking three out of four points against Nashville.

#18 Carolina Hurricanes

An undefeated week for the Hurricanes moved them up in the standings but no love from the Super Computer. An interesting move by it considering the Canes have a relatively easy schedule coming up this week. Carolina currently sits outside of a playoff spot but a good week could get it on the cusp of getting in.

#19 Florida Panthers

The Panthers made a big move this week trading for Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, and a few picks, sparking rumors they may be clearing cap space to take a run at Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky over the summer. The Panthers could still be movers coming up to the Trade Deadline and also have the talent to make a last minute push, even though it would most likely be way too little, way too late at this point.

#20 Buffalo Sabres

Tough times in Buffalo right now. The Sabres have given up 17 goals in their last three games which might be why Sam Reinhart felt the need to call out their goalies after last nights loss to the Hurricanes. They have a tough schedule coming up this week against two top-tier teams. They need to find a way to keep the puck out of the back of their net before they fall too far behind in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

#21 Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the league right now and the Super Computer is taking notice. Another big week and they could find themselves back in playoff contention. The big difference in their play has been the significant contribution of Carter Hart who’s been fantastic in net for them. Oh and is anyone else a bit jealous they weren’t invited to this Super Bowl party?

#22 Edmonton Oilers

A tight Western Conference has the Oilers right in the thick of things and any time you have McDavid on your roster you have hope. Oscar Klefbom made his return this week giving their blueline a boost that they’re going to need with a pretty tough week coming up. Like most teams in the West, a couple wins could mean big things but a couple wins could see you fall behind pretty quick.

#23 Vancouver Canucks

We here at the Point would like to formally apologize for not giving Canucks fans a Pettersson highlight last week. The good news is we apparently lit a fire under him because he responded with two goals in two games from what’s quickly becoming his office. A couple big wins for the Canucks could move them up in the standings in such a tight race for the last wildcard spot in the West.

#24 Arizona Coyotes

Four losses this week and another tough week coming up doesn’t look great for the Coyotes. The Super Computer drops them three spots but is wary of dropping them any lower since they seem to just keep getting back up every time they get knocked down this year.

#25 New Jersey Devils

The Devils made a smart move this week trading away pending free agent Brian Boyle for a second-round pick. That type of return for a depth player is a steal. As it stands the Devils are in it tough without their star player, Taylor Hall, but a couple wins this week could see them move up the standings pretty easily.

#26 New York Rangers

The Rangers see no movement this week in our rankings with a pretty tough week coming up. The good news for them is that Zibanejad and Zuccarello have found some chemistry that’s made them the best duo in the league right now.

#27 Chicago Blackhawks

An undefeated week and a six-game win streak have the Super Computer excited. Not one to be ruled by emotion very often, it moved the Blackhawks up three spots in the rankings even though they moved up five spots in the league standings. With how tight it is right now a couple wins could see the Hawks move up even more but with games against the Devils and the Senators means their placement depends a lot on how those go.

#28 Detroit Red Wings

Two wins and a loss, including an overtime win over the Maple Leafs for the Red Wings yet the Super Computer says no and drops them down a spot. The Wings will have to do more if they want to catch its eye.

#29 Los Angeles Kings

Not a bad week for the Kings who are currently on a three-game win streak since dropping a game to the Islanders at the beginning of the week. The Super Computer rewards them with a bump up in our rankings but a lot of that is due to Ottawa and Anaheim making it difficult for anyone to sit below them. The Kings have a couple tough matchups coming up and will be an interesting team to watch as we get closer to the Trade Deadline.

#30 Ottawa Senators

The Senators continue to struggle and haven’t given any indication on what the future holds for Mark Stone and Matt Duchene. Their owner, Eugene Melnyk, spelled out their plan to compete for a Cup really soon but was met with a lot of skepticism. On the bright side, the Sens moved out of the basement of our rankings but the Super Computer isn’t exactly shaking with excitement about their prospects this year.

#31 Anaheim Ducks

Last week we spoke about how the Ducks were in for a tough week. Well, four losses later and here they are, with six straight losses and no hopes for a turnaround any time soon. The Ducks look like they’re bottoming out. Gibson’s looked drained since the All-Star game and the Super Computer sees this trend continuing.