NHL Power Rankings: Where Every Team Stands Heading into March
The 2013 NHL regular season is nearing the midway point as the calender gets set to flip to March.
Even though we are just five weeks into the lockout-shortened, 48-game season, we've seen a ton of hockey, both good and bad. The good has been highlighted by the Chicago Blackhawks, who have yet to drop a single game in regulation this season.
On the other hand, the bad has been highlighted by a number of teams, including the Buffalo Sabres, who have lost four straight overall and have since parted ways with head coach Lindy Ruff.
With February nearly in the books, here we'll power rank all 30 NHL clubs heading into March.
No. 1. Chicago Blackhawks (35 points, 16-0-3)
The Blackhawks have still yet to lose in regulation this season. They've won six in a row as well.
No. 2. Anaheim Ducks (27 points, 13-3-1)
Anaheim has won 10 of its last 12 games overall and is one of the highest scoring teams in the league, averaging well over three goals per night.
No. 3. Montreal Canadiens (27 points, 12-4-3)
The Canadiens are one of the top defensive teams in the NHL this season, allowing just 2.1 goals per night.
No. 4. Pittsburgh Penguins (26 points, 13-6-0)
At plus-17, the Penguins boast the second-best scoring differential in the NHL this season behind only Chicago.
No. 5. Boston Bruins (24 points, 11-2-2)
No team in the league is better than Boston when it comes to killing penalties. The Bruins rank first in that category, plus, they've won 11 of their first 15 games to start the season.
Not too shabby.
No. 6. Ottawa Senators (26 points, 12-6-2)
Don't look now, but Ottawa has won five straight games. The Senators are making life very easy for themselves, ranking second in goals against this year.
No. 7. Vancouver Canucks (24 points, 10-4-4)
Which is the best Canadian-based team in the NHL right now?
The Canucks managed to bounce back from their three-game losing streak quite nicely. Their 8-3 loss at Detroit this past weekend was disturbing, but it was the last game of a four-game road trip.
No. 8. Toronto Maple Leafs (24 points, 12-8-0)
Toronto has won eight of its last 11 games and is a top-10 team defensively.
No. 9. New Jersey Devils (24 points, 10-5-4)
The Devils have lost some momentum in recent days, but they are still strong in goal and on the power play. The defending Eastern Conference champions will certainly be a force come playoff time.
No. 10. Los Angeles Kings (20 points, 9-6-2)
The reigning Stanley Cup champions have begun figuring things out, winning four straight games to pull back into the playoff picture.
No. 11. St. Louis Blues (22 points, 10-6-2)
St. Louis is the most efficient power play team in the league this season. The Blues have also rebounded nicely from their five-game losing streak to begin February, winning four of their past six games overall.
No. 12. Detroit Red Wings (21 points, 9-7-3)
The Red Wings have poured in 12 goals in their past two games (both wins), and suddenly that five-game losing streak seems like it was an eternity ago.
No. 13. Nashville Predators (23 points, 9-6-5)
Nashville has done a fantastic job of keeping the puck out of its own net. Unfortunately, the Predators have had a tough time scoring this season, ranking just 28th in goals per game.
No. 14. Carolina Hurricanes (19 points, 9-7-1)
Carolina can score with any team in the league, and that's why the Hurricanes are leading the Southeast division this season.
No. 15. Dallas Stars (20 points, 9-8-2)
The Stars have played much better in February, but there's still a lot to be desired. Dallas is strong on the power play and is solid when it comes to killing penalties, but it needs to be better at even strength.
No. 16. Tampa Bay Lightning (19 points, 9-8-1)
Tampa Bay boasts the most electrifying offense in the NHL, ranking first in goals per game (3.8). The Lightning's lackluster defense and play in the crease has held it back, however.
No. 17. Phoenix Coyotes (19 points, 8-7-3)
Phoenix has won six of it's last 10 games overall, but the Coyotes have yet to win more than two games in a row this year.
Until that happens, they will continue to be mediocre.
Which 19-point team is the best in the NHL?
No. 18. Philadelphia Flyers (19 points, 9-11-1)
Philly deserves credit for rebounding from a disastrous 2-6 start, but until the Flyers become more consistent in goal and in front of the net defensively, they will be an outside playoff contender and nothing more.
No. 19. Minnesota Wild (18 points, 8-7-2)
The Wild has cooled off considerably after a strong start to the truncated season. Minnesota has lost six of its 10 games so far in the month of February.
No. 20. Edmonton Oilers (18 points, 7-7-4)
Smiles have turned into frowns in Edmonton, as the Oilers are just 3-5-4 following a 4-2 start to the season.
To make matters worse, after scoring four goals over the course of Edmonton's first six games, Nail Yakupov has scored just two goals in the team's last 12 games.
No. 21. San Jose Sharks (19 points, 8-6-3)
After going 7-0 in January, the Sharks are just 1-6-3 in February. It's only because of San Jose's strong start that its still in the mix.
No. 22. Winnipeg Jets (17 points, 8-9-1)
Winnipeg has won three of its last four games and is picking up steam this winter.
No. 23. New York Islanders (17 points, 8-10-1)
The Islanders must be more consistent moving forward, but for now they can take some pride in the fact that they are playing better than the Rangers. They are 1-1 against New York's other team this season with another showdown with the Rangers coming up next week.
No. 24. New York Rangers (18 points, 8-7-2)
Which New York team is better right now?
It's not often that the Rangers are below the Islanders in power rankings, but having lost three in a row, John Tortorella's squad finds itself fading fast.
No. 25. Calgary Flames (17 points, 7-7-3)
The Flames' minus-11 scoring differential is third-worst in the NHL this season. Calgary has given up a ton of goals so far, and unless it turns things around, an early offseason awaits.
No. 26. Colorado Avalanche (16 points, 7-8-2)
Colorado hasn't done any one thing well this season, and its record is the evidence. The Avalanche hasn't won more than two games in a row this season, and already has two three-game losing streak under its belt.
No. 27. Washington Capitals (13 points, 6-10-1)
The Caps have been solid following a brutally bad start. But they need to pick it up if they are going to get back into the playoff mix.
Washington's minus-7 scoring differential proves things aren't quite as terrible as they seem.
No. 28. Columbus Blue Jackets (12 points, 5-12-2)
Losers of two straight, Columbus has fewer points than any other team in the NHL this season.
No. 29. Florida Panthers (14 points, 5-9-4)
The Panthers minus-26 scoring differential is the worst in the NHL this season. Florida's 65 total goals allowed is also the worst mark in the league in 2013.
No. 30. Buffalo Sabres (13 points, 6-12-1)
Buffalo has dropped four straight games and is tied with Columbus for most regulation losses (12) to start the season
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