8. Dallas Stars
Previous: No. 13
The Stars are rapidly putting things together this season, having jumped five points ahead of Minnesota for the first wild card. They’re now just a point behind St. Louis in the Central as well. Is Ken Hitchcock the savior, or is Dallas just playing up to its potential right now?
7. St. Louis Blues
Previous: No. 8
Winning just 1-0 over Buffalo isn’t a great result, but it’s also far better than losing. Carter Hutton is still the obvious backup to Jake Allen in net, but Hutton’s stats are just crazy this year. He has a .947/1.61 slashline in 19 starts, and has won 14 games.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous: No. 12
The good news for the Leafs is they’ve gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 to right the ship and blew out Anaheim with a seven-goal outburst. The bad news is they have just as many wins as Boston while playing five more games. The Leafs are in a tough spot to do any better than third in the Atlantic.
5. Winnipeg Jets
Previous: No. 2
The Jets are a force at home this season, sporting a 19-3-2 record in Winnipeg. Should be fun to see that white-out crowd again when the postseason returns to the Jets’ arena. The question is whether Winnipeg will be the top or second Central seed.
4. Boston Bruins
Previous: No. 3
The Bruins now have the games in hand to pass Tampa Bay in the standings if they can stay hot enough. Still 8-1-1 in its last 10, Boston has been fueled by a road record that includes just five regulation losses. Fun note, Blackhawks fans: there are still two games with the Bruins left on the docket.
3. Nashville Predators
Previous: No. 4
Filip Forsberg is back in the fold for Nashville, so the Western Division has been put on notice. After dumping the high-scoring Islanders 5-4 on Monday, the Preds have won three straight and eight of 10. They’re not messing around with barely making the postseason this year.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous: No. 5
Tampa has begun to show a few cracks recently, but it still boasts the league’s best scoring average at 3.57 goals per contest. An incredible start to the season could be enough to carry the Lightning to the East’s top seed, but three games with surging Boston are still on the slate.
1. Vegas Golden Knights
Previous: No. 1
Vegas has already set the record for most points in an expansion franchise’s first season, so why not just keep trying to smash records? The Knights have opened up a 10-point advantage in the Pacific while posting five more regulation/overtime wins than anyone else in the West. They look poised for a deep postseason run — but we all know regular-season success doesn’t always equal that result. Would be fun to watch, though.
That’ll do it for this week’s NHL power rankings. What did you think about where the Blackhawks ended up, or about the list in general? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.