Analysis

NHL Power Rankings: Eastern Conference Taking Control

By Colin Likas
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate an empty net goal by center Derek Stepan (middle) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate an empty net goal by center Derek Stepan (middle) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 21, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Craig Smith (15) is played off the puck by Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Craig Smith (15) is played off the puck by Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 4: Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous: 8th

Season record: 12-7-1

It may seem a little strange putting Tampa Bay above Washington and Pittsburgh, but the Lightning seem to be having a better run of things despite the worse record.

A 6-3-1 last 10 games has been spurred by a solid 7-5-0 road record and a plus-13 goal differential, among the league’s best.

This rank isn’t going to be easy to maintain, however, with Steven Stamkos out due to a knee injury. He posted 20 points in just 17 games, still second on the team. Nikita Kucherov has soared to 23 points in 19 games to pace the squad, while Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn both have seven goals apiece.

Ben Bishop is treated a bit like a black sheep in Tampa, but he may be playing his way out (.908/2.80). Or, more so, backup Andrei Vasilevskiy may be playing his way into the starting job (.953/1.43). It’s a strong enough combo to bolster the solid offense.

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