Mark Zaleski/Associated Press
15. Pittsburgh Penguins (last week: 13)
At first glance, Saturday's 4-1 win over Winnipeg was just a continuation of the Pens' annoying recent trend of alternating wins and losses every other game. A key difference is that Evgeni Malkin returned to the lineup, playing his first game since Feb. 2. Pittsburgh has been remarkably one-dimensional offensively in his absence, and his return should strengthen the team's chances of hanging on to the final playoff berth out East.
14. San Jose Sharks (last week: 12)
San Jose slips two spots after a mediocre 1-1-1 showing in Week 22. A playoff spot is all but assured for the Sharks, who are third in the Pacific Division and own a 12-point lead on the team in fourth place, the Canucks. The additions of three useful veterans from Toronto—James Reimer, Roman Polak and Nick Spaling—should ultimately end up helping the club in the short term, though the cost in futures was relatively high.
13. Detroit Red Wings (last week: 14)
The Wings won both of their games this week, edging the red-hot Blue Jackets in the shootout and topping the Avalanche in Colorado, thereby improving to 6-2-3 over their last 11 tilts. One odd sour note in all of this success is the offensive dry spell for star rookie Dylan Larkin, who has a single goal and just one assist in his last nine games.
12. New York Islanders (last week: 10)
The Isles have been having a good month but went through a mildly disappointing week, needing overtime to beat the Flames and losing in regulation to the Oilers. Altogether, the team went 2-1-0, which isn't bad, but it would have been nice to see stronger performances against three non-playoff teams. One bright spot has been the play of depth forward Casey Cizikas, who has points in four straight games and nine points in his last 10 after putting up just 14 in his first 50 contests.
11. Nashville Predators (last week: 15)
The Nashville Predators had a great week, playing four games in just six days and winning all of them, including contests against the St. Louis Blues in Nashville and the Blackhawks in Chicago. The team is now 6-0-3 in its last nine games and has plenty of positive individual stories. Filip Forsberg scored two hat tricks in the course of the week and has 12 goals and 16 points in his last 11 games.