NHL Power Rankings: Bruins Remain at No. 1 as East Teams Dominate the Top 5

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIIJanuary 19, 2023

NHL Power Rankings: Bruins Remain at No. 1 as East Teams Dominate the Top 5

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    NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 28: New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) and Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) await a face-off during the National Hockey League game between the Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils on December 28, 2022 at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Andrew Mordzynski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Andrew Mordzynski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    It may be the Boston Bruins. It could be the New Jersey Devils.

    Or it may be some other team.

    But one thing's for certain: Whomever comes out of the Eastern Conference this spring is going to be a handful in the Stanley Cup Final.

    Each of the top four teams in the NHL's overall standings heading into Wednesday night was from the East, and the conference's fifth-best team—the Tampa Bay Lightning—has reached the championship round in each of the last three seasons, winning two Cups.

    The glut of midseason league powerhouses is reflected in the latest installment of B/R's Power Rankings, which have the Bruins out front for the 10th straight week ahead of an all-Eastern pack in the top five that's completed by the Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Our panel awarded 32 points for first place and one point for 32nd to come up with the weekly list. A team's ranking from last week and how it moved are listed alongside each updated placement. Scroll through to see where your favorites landed, and drop a thought or two of your own in the comments.

Nos. 32-26: Blue Jackets, Ducks, Blackhawks, Coyotes, Sharks, Canucks, Canadiens

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    RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 15: Collin Delia #60 of the Vancouver Canucks tends net during the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on January 15, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

    32. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 31 / Move: -1)

    A loss at Nashville on Tuesday was the fifth in six games and 14th in 17 overall for the anemic Blue Jackets, who've scored three goals just three times in their last nine, dropping to 30th in NHL scoring.

    31. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 29 / Move: -2)

    It's never a good sign when prolonged losing streaks start stacking up, but that's the case for Anaheim, whose Tuesday loss in Philadelphia gave it three streaks of five or more this season.

    30. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 32 / Move: +2)

    The season's a hot mess, but the Blackhawks showed mettle in a stretch of four wins in five games, including a defeat of visiting Buffalo in which they tied the game in the final minute and won in OT.

    29. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 30 / Move: +1)

    A shootout win was as good as any for the Coyotes, who ended a nine-game skid with Tuesday's home defeat of Detroit. "It might not be a Picasso, but you need to find a way," coach André Tourigny said.

    28. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 27 / Move: -1)

    The Sharks are 28th overall, but general manager Mike Grier said he has zero inkling about tanking. "It's not something I believe in," he told The Athletic. "We're going to try and win games right down to Game 82."

    27. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 26 / Move: -1)

    GM Jim Rutherford, a three-time Cup-winning executive, went public and suggested it'd take "major surgery" to get back to relevance with a team that entered Wednesday 12 points off playoff pace.

    26. Montréal Canadiens (Last Week: 28 / Move: +2)

    A 4-1 defeat of Winnipeg on Tuesday gave the injury-ridden Canadiens consecutive victories for the first time since late November and stretched a run of recent success to four wins in six games.

Nos. 25-21: Flyers, Senators, Red Wings, Sabres, Panthers

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    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 17: Kevin Hayes #13 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on after scoring for a Hat Trick during the third period against the Anaheim Ducks at Wells Fargo Center on January 17, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
    Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

    25. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 25 / Move: 0)

    The Flyers checked a pair of boxes on Tuesday at home with Kevin Hayes notching his first NHL hat trick in a 5-2 defeat of Anaheim and John Tortorella (692) tying for 12th on the all-time coaching wins list.

    24. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 24 / Move: 0)

    The Senators negated a run of four wins in five games with a stretch of four losses in their next five, in which they've scored just 10 goals (five in the lone victory) and been shut out twice.

    23. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 22 / Move: -1)

    Goaltending is the latest scapegoat for the Red Wings, who've dropped three straight and six of eight—allowing four or more goals six times and falling to 22nd in the league with a 3.40 goals-against average.

    22. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week 19 / Move: -3)

    The Sabres lost back-to-back to Florida and at Chicago, but Tage Thompson became the fourth player in team history to have 16 goals in his first road 20 games and is third in the league overall with 32.

    21. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 23 / Move: +2)

    Allowing two power-play goals contributed to a 5-4 loss at Toronto on Tuesday, and it's been a season-long problem for the Panthers, who are killing penalties at a 75.4 percent rate—21st in the league.

Nos. 20-16: Blues, Predators, Islanders, Avalanche, Flames

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    NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 17: Kevin Lankinen #32 of the Nashville Predators makes the save against Gustav Nyquist #14 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL game at Bridgestone Arena on January 17, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
    John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

    20. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 21 / Move: +1)

    The Blues are 5-3 since losing both Vladimir Tarasenko (hand) and Ryan O'Reilly (foot) in a game on December 31, but Tarasenko could be close to returning after a full practice on Sunday.

    19. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 15 / Move: -4)

    Kevin Lankinen stepped in on Tuesday against Columbus and kept the goaltending magic going for the Predators with a 39-save victory. Nashville has allowed two of fewer goals in five of seven games.

    18. New York Islanders (Last Week: 18 / Move: 0)

    A 4-3 loss to Washington on Monday was hard because it came after New York had led 3-0 and harder because it kept the Islanders on the outside fringe of the Eastern playoff race heading into Wednesday.

    17. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 17 / Move: 0)

    The odds seem against it, but if the Avalanche—who entered Wednesday below the cutline—miss the playoffs, they'd become the fourth defending Cup champion to miss the subsequent tournament.

    16. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 16 / Move: 0)

    A 2-1 regulation loss in Nashville on Monday was a clinking end to a five-game road trip in which the Flames (2-1-2) bagged six of a possible 10 points. Calgary has points in 17 of 23 games since December 1.

Nos. 15-11: Penguins, Capitals, Kings, Oilers, Rangers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings leaves the ice during warm ups prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks at Crypto.com Arena on January 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Gary A. Vasquez/NHLI via Getty Images

    15. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 14 / Move: -1)

    Goalie Tristan Jarry has been out since suffering an injury during the Winter Classic, and the Penguins were 3-3 in their first six games without him with a 3.17 goals-against average.

    14. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 12 / Move: -2)

    An OT win against the Islanders in New York was the week's only positive for the Capitals, who've dropped three of four and entered Wednesday just four points ahead of the playoff cutline.

    13. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 10 / Move: -3)

    A loss to New Jersey ended a three-game win streak, but Drew Doughty tied Rob Blake for most multi-point games by a Kings defenseman and Anže Kopitar became the fourth King with 200 home goals.

    12. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 20 / Move: +8)

    It was a pendulum-up week for the Oilers, who've won four straight overall and in the Pacific Division—including three on the road and two against teams (Vegas, Seattle) above them in the standings.

    11. New York Rangers (Last Week: 11 / Move: 0)

    Winger Chris Kreider hasn't played since January 10 with an upper body injury, but the sending of Ryan Carpenter to Hartford of the AHL seems to indicate Kreider will be back for Thursday against Boston.

Nos. 10-6: Wild, Golden Knights, Kraken, Stars, Jets

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    MONTREAL, CANADA - JANUARY 17: Kyle Connor #81 of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates a goal with the bench during the second period of the NHL regular season game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell Centre on January 17, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Vitor Munhoz/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Vitor Munhoz/NHLI via Getty Images

    10. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 13 / Move: +3)

    The Wild's sound goaltending and strong road play has yielded a 6-1-2 stretch away from home, including two wins from Filip Gustavsson in which he's stopped 53 of 56 shots—a .946 save percentage.

    9. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 6 / Move: -3)

    The Golden Knights are experiencing turbulence, losing three of four and being shut out for the first time on Monday against Dallas. Defenseman Alec Martinez left that game with an undisclosed injury.

    8. Seattle Kraken (Last Week: 7 / Move: -1)

    The Kraken became the first team in NHL history to sweep a road trip of at least seven games and won eight straight overall before ending the week with consecutive losses to Tampa Bay and Edmonton.

    7. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 4 / Move: -3)

    Coach Peter DeBoer's return to Vegas ended in success, thanks to a 27-save shutout by goaltender Jake Oettinger, who's in the league's top three in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

    6. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 8 / Move: +2)

    A loss at Montréal ended a run of three straight wins and eight in 10 games for the Jets, but Kyle Connor scored his 200th goal and became the second-fastest in franchise history (429 games) to get there.

Nos. 5-1: Maple Leafs, Lightning, Hurricanes, Devils, Bruins

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - OCTOBER 24: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks faces off against Sebastian Aho #20 of the Carolina Hurricanes during their NHL game at Rogers Arena October 24, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

    5. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 2 / Move: -3)

    The Maple Leafs ended a brief skid with a win against Florida, and Mitch Marner reached the franchise record books with a point in his 19th straight home game, passing Darryl Sittler's 1977-78 mark.

    4. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 9 / Move: +5)

    The Lightning started a five-game western swing with wins at St. Louis and Seattle while allowing just three goals on 48 shots. Their goals-against average (2.86) since January 1 is ninth in the league.

    3. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 3 / Move: 0)

    The Hurricanes could add postseason punch in the form of imminent Vancouver free agent Bo Horvat, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun. "A lot of people like the Hurricanes as a fit for Horvat," he said.

    2. New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 5 / Move: +3)

    The Devils are the league's hottest team this week, rallying to beat San Jose on Monday for their fifth straight win overall and seventh straight on the road. Their 18-2-1 road record is the league's best.

    1. Boston Bruins (Last Week: 1 / Move: 0)

    Two straight wins to end the rankings week lifted the Bruins to 34-5-4, which projects to 64 wins if they maintain their 42-game pace. If so, they'd eclipse the league's regular-season record for wins (62).

    Statistics accurate through Tuesday, January 17.