26. Detroit Red Wings
Previous: No. 24
After punting the Blackhawks recently, the Wings came up with a 3-0 triumph against the New Jersey Devils, who are still inexplicably good. That’s not how one would describe this Wings team, but coach Jeff Blashill has Detroit playing a bit better than a rebuild would suggest it should.
25. Florida Panthers
Previous: No. 25
It’ll be interesting to see what the Panthers do with their goaltending situation moving forward. Roberto Luongo has been injury-prone of late, and James Reimer is not the answer of the future. Is 28-year-old Harri Sateri their guy, or is he doing a Jeff Glass impersonation?
24. Carolina Hurricanes
Previous: No. 23
It’s not exactly news that Scott Darling is having a rough first season in Carolina. But giving up three goals on eight shots in 13 minutes against Vegas is just another level of bad. The Canes were likely hoping they could have moved on a bit more from Cam Ward by now.
23. Edmonton Oilers
Previous: No. 27
Edmonton is on a three-game winning streak, showing more signs of that team everyone thought could come out of the Western Conference this season. It’s just too little, too late in the grand scheme of things. The Oil will need to go on a Colorado-type run to even sniff the postseason picture.
22. New York Islanders
Previous: No. 22
Losing to the Coyotes is just not a good look. The Islanders’ offense is a juggernaut, but the defense and goaltending leaves a lot to be desired. Averaging 3.47 goals per game should be enough to garner a squad more than 24 wins in 49 tries.
21. New York Rangers
Previous: No. 21
The Rangers are slinking around the Eastern Conference wild-card picture despite having lost two straight games. Pavel Buchnevich has come up big for the Rangers, tallying 30 of his 50 career NHL points this season. He could use some help from his teammates.