NHL Power Rankings – Week 26

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Welcome to the next installment of HockeyClan’s weekly NHL power rankings. Each week throughout the season, HockeyClan ranks every team in the National Hockey League from top to bottom.

Who’s #1? Who’s rising? Who’s falling? It’s week 26 in the NHL season — that’s right — the final regular week of the regular season! With only three more days remaining, teams are jockeying for positioning in the to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Our season rankings have remained remarkably consistent over the last month but with just days remaining before the post-season playoff chase, who’s in, who’s out and who will be playing golf instead of lacing ’em up?

J.T. Miller #10 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, center, celebrates a goal against the Boston Bruins with Dan Girardi #5 and Victor Hedman #77 during the third period of the game at the Amalie Arena on April 3, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

1-Tampa Bay Lightning (53-23-4) Just 5-5 over their last 10 games, with three losses in their last five, but Tampa Bay is just gliding into the post-season and remains the team to beat despite the recent rough stretch. Still the No. 1 offense in the league with a spectacular 281 goals scored. Last: 1

2-Nashville Predators (52-18-11) With Boston’s regulation loss in Florida, Predators clinched first-ever President’s Trophy after victory over Capitals. With 115 points and a game remaining, the Preds seem poised to represent the West with a franchise season in the books. Last: 2

3-Winnipeg Jets (51-20-10) Jets are soaring into the post-season with 10 wins in their last 11 games. With 31 saves in a triumph over Calgary, goalie Connor Hellebuyck tied Tom Barrasso for most wins by an American-born netminder with 43. Winnipeg’s +56 goal differential is the best in the West. Last: 6

Vegas Golden Knights’ William Karlsson (71) Alex Tuch (89), Brandon Pirri (73) and Brayden McNabb (3) celebrate a goal against the Vancouver Canucks on April 03, 2018, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. (Photo by Bob Frid/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

4-Vegas Golden Knights (51-23-7) Started to show kinks in their armor last two weeks, but Vegas has rebounded going 6-2-2 over its last 10 games. 29-10-2 at home at T-Mobile Arena, the Knights will open there in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Last: 3

5-Toronto Maple Leafs (48-26-7) Auston Matthews and back and the Leafs are ready to roll. Toronto has a formidable offense (266 GF, 4th; 24.7% PP, 2nd). If it can get plus goaltending from Frederik Andersen, the Leafs will be tough out. Last: 5

6-Boston Bruins (49-19-12) Backing into the post-season with three straight losses, the B’s are just looking to get healthy before the start of the playoffs. It has to be a concern in New England, but much like Vegas, Boston boasts an impressive home record (27-7-5) and will open at home at TD Garden in the first round. Last: 6

7-Washington Capitals (48-26-7) The Caps have clinched the Metropolitan Division and are poised to break their recent streak of early exits in the post-season in 2017-18. Will this be the year Ovi and Co. silences their playoff demons? Last: 7

8-Pittsburgh Penguins (46-29-6) While the Pens are not among the elite, absolutely no one wants to see the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions in the post-season. Coach Mike Sullivan will have Sidney Crosby, Matt Murray and Phil Kessel ready in an effort to “three-peat.” Last: 8

Related: NHL Power Rankings – Week 24

Tier Two

Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a power play goal during the second period of the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 5, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

9-Columbus Blue Jackets (45-29-7) The BJax are still firing on all cylinders with seven wins and two ties over their last 10 games. Columbus seems rejuvenated since adding Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline. Boone Jenner is picking up his game and Sergei Bobrovsky has returned to Vezina form. Last: 9

10-San Jose Sharks (45-26-10) With a 4-2 victory over Colorado, the Sharks eclipsed the 100-point plateau positioning itself two points ahead of L.A. with one game remaining. San Jose’s second-best penalty killing unit, shutting down the opposition 84.8% of the time, is most impressive. Last: 10

11-Los Angeles Kings (45-28-8) Left for dead in February, the Kings clinched a playoff spot by going 6-2-2 over their last 10 games. Behind Jonathan Quick in between the pipes, L.A. is the top defensive team in the league yielding just 198 goals with the top PK in The League at 84.9%. Last: 11

12-New Jersey Devils (44-28-8) Cory Schneider is the incumbent but this is Keith Kinkiad’s cage now. The backup-turned-backstop has been nothing short of spectacular guiding New Jersey back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Last: 14

Minnesota Wild’s Marcus Foligno (17), Ryan Murphy (6) and Joel Eriksson Ek (14) celebrate a goal in the first period during an NHL regular season game against the Los Angeles Kings on April 5, 2018, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

13-Minnesota Wild (44-26-11) The Wild boast a league-best six losses at home at Xcel Energy Center. Problem is with a 4-2-4 run over their last 10 games, Minnesota backed into the playoffs and will open on the road in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Wild are a dangerous team but are just 17-20-3 outside The State of Hockey. Last: 13

14-Anaheim Ducks (42-25-13) On the outside looking in, HockeyClan predicted the Ducks would punch their ticket to the post-season and with an 8-1-1 run including a three-game winning streak, Anaheim is in and looking to inflict punishment on the opposition. Anaheim is a team built for playoff success. Last: 12

15-Colorado Avalanche (42-30-9) Performing better than everyone anticipated, Nathan MacKinnon and Co. are just trying to hold on to the final position in the Western Conference playoff race. Losers of their last three, Colorado is just one point ahead of the Blues. Last: 15

16-St. Louis Blues (43-31-6) Once among the top tier teams in the HockeyClan rankings, a poor February/March all but sunk St. Louis’ playoff hopes. Despite the lackluster showing, St. Louis is just a point behind Colorado for the final position out west but the Blues have not been able to take advantage with four straight losses. Last: 16

17-Philadelphia Flyers (41-26-14) With just one loss, six wins and three ties over their last 10 games, the Flyers are four points ahead of Florida for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Barring a miracle, Philly should be battling it out in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last: 17

Related: NHL Power Rankings – Week 23

Tier Three

Aleksander Barkov #16 celebrates his first-period goal with Aaron Ekblad #5 and Evgeni Dadonov #63 of the Florida Panthers against the Boston Bruins at the BB&T Center on April 5, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

18-Florida Panthers (42-30-8) Roberto Luongo and James Reimer have helped the Panthers go 6-3-1 over their last 10 games, but Florida has not been been able to make up ground on New Jersey or Philadelphia for the final spot in the east. While still alive, mathematically, the Panthers need help. Last: 18

19-Dallas Stars (41-31-8) With all the off-season additions, including big free agent signee Ben Bishop, this has to be a disappointing season in the Lonestar State. Once among the top teams in The League, Big D has been a big letdown over the final eight weeks of the 2017-18 season. Last: 19

20-Calgary Flames (36-35-10) The Flames proved vulnerable without Mike Smith in between the pipes but this has to be frustrating for coach Glen Gulutzan with so much talent on board. It is a lost season for Calgary but the future remains bright in Alberta. Last: 20

21-Carolina Hurricanes (35-35-11) Dropping each of their last three, Carolina falls to .500 despite the best of efforts from Sebastian Aho, Jeff Skinner and Teuvo Teravainen. Justin Williams and Jordan Staal are fine players but the young guns need more support. Last: 21

Milan Lucic (27), Connor McDavid (97) and Leon Draisaitl (29) rest between shifts in the third period against the Calgary Flames on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. The Flames won the game 3-2. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

22-Edmonton Oilers (35-40-6) After a disastrous start to the season, the Oil rectified itself in 2018 but it was too little too late for Connor McDavid and Co. Following their impressive run in last season’s playoffs, Edmonton will be spectators in 2017-18 but much like Calgary optimism is still high for a rebound next year. Last: 22

23-New York Islanders (34-37-10) Has John Tavares played his last game for the Islanders? On the outside looking in for the sixth time in the last eight years, it may be it for the team captain who may be looking to take his talent elsewhere. Last: 25

24-New York Rangers (34-38-9) The Purge all but hit the reset button for the rebuilding Rangers. King Henrik has 431-career wins in The Big Apple, but heir apparent Alexandar Georgiev has shown flashes of brilliance in relief. Much like JT in Brooklyn, is it an end of an era at MSG? Last: 24

25-Chicago Blackhawks (33-37-10) It was a lost season for Chicago, which will miss the post-season for the first time in a decade. Corey Crawford, Jonathan Toews all missed time while horses Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook finally started showing wear, but a return to form in 2018-19 is expected with Patrick Kane still among the league’s elite. Last: 23

Related: NHL Power Rankings – Week One

Tier Four

Daniel Sedin #22 and Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks salute the fans after playing in their final home game of their career against the Arizona Coyotes in NHL action on April, 5, 2018 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

26-Vancouver Canucks (31-40-10) Last: 29

27-Detroit Red Wings (30-39-12) Last: 26

28-Montreal Canadiens (29-39-13) Last 27

29-Arizona Coyotes (29-40-12) Last: 30

30-Ottawa Senators (28-41-11) Last: 28

31-Buffalo Sabres (25-43-12) Last: 31

 

records and rankings through 4/5

 

 

Main Image: Winnipeg Jets Left Wing Nikolaj Ehlers (27) celebrates his goal with Steve Mason (35) and Patrik Laine (29) versus the Montreal Canadiens game on April 3, 2018, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

 

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