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Power Rankings: Predators plowing through opponents on the way to playoffs

The already-deadly Predators went out and added more punch at the deadline by acquiring Ryan Hartman, and it's becoming increasingly clear that it will take a Herculean effort for anyone to knock off Nashville come the post-season.

If the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets meet in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs this year, expect a plethora of hits, a lot of goals and an overabundance of elevated heart palpitations. The two teams have met three times this season and have produced a total of 29 goals. The Predators 6-5 win over the Jets Wednesday night might have been the most entertaining game so far this season. If it happens, it will be must viewing in the spring.

The Predators, meanwhile, are doing a pretty good job of running roughshod over the NHL of late. Winners of their past five games, they’ve scored 25 goals in that time span. For that reason, the Predators are back at No. 1 on’s weekly Power Rankings, but they’ve got some very, very hot teams nipping at their heels, one of them in their own division. At the other end of the spectrum are the St. Louis Blues, who have given up 16 goals in their past three games. They’ve lost six in a row. They’ve lost Paul Stastny. And they’re rapidly frittering away a chance to make the playoffs after a great start to the season. (Last week’s rankings in parentheses.)


1. Nashville Predators (6)

2. Minnesota Wild (11)

3. Philadelphia Flyers (8)

4. Tampa Bay Lightning (5)

5. New Jersey Devils (15)

6. Toronto Maple Leafs (3)

7. Boston Bruins (2)

8. Los Angeles Kings (10)

9. Vegas Golden Knights (4)

10. Winnipeg Jets (7)

Powered by five assists against the Jets, which tied a franchise record for points in one game, defenseman Roman Josi has 12 points in his past five games…Smart guy, that Bruce Boudreau. Three games ago, he put Eric Staal on a line with Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund and all that trio has done since then is combine for 26 points. Of course you could point out that if Boudreau was that brilliant, why didn’t he put them together sooner?...The Flyers have an 18-5-2 mark in 2018 and will try to win their seventh game in a row tomorrow night at home to Carolina. And do you know who has really picked it up of late? Well, a lot of guys, but second overall pick Nolan Patrick in particular…Injuries to Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson are expected to be only of the day-to-day variety…Taylor Hall hasn’t gone without a point in a game in which he’s played in 2018. He missed three Devils’ games with a hand injury, which is why the NHL recognizes his consecutive point streak at only 15 games…Is William Nylander ultimately going to be a center or a winger for the Leafs? When Auston Matthews went down, he was moved to center for one game, but after a couple of defensive miscues, it was right back to the wing...It’s important to note that Patrice Bergeron will have his fractured right foot evaluated in two weeks. There’s no guarantee he’ll be back in two weeks…Jack Campbell, who picked up his first career victory in the Kings 4-1 over Vegas Tuesday night, is a perfect example of perseverance. The 11th overall pick from 2010 is 26 years old and hadn’t made an NHL start in more than four years…The Golden Knights can add another first to their resume. Their 3-2 overtime loss and 4-1 loss to the Kings marked the first time they’ve been swept in a back-to-back series…Nobody seems to believe there’s a chance Paul Stastny will sign with the Jets regardless of how his time in Winnipeg goes because even if he takes a deep discount on his $7 million salary, the Jets still would not be able to fit him under the cap. Stastny referred to his stint as, “potentially three and a half months out of an 80-year life.” 


11. Anaheim Ducks (12)

12. San Jose Sharks (9)

13. Washington Capitals (13)

14. Florida Panthers (17)

15. Pittsburgh Penguins (1)

16. Dallas Stars (14)

17. Columbus Blue Jackets (21)

18. Colorado Avalanche (22)

19. Calgary Flames (16)

20. Detroit Red Wings (25)

The Ducks probably got a little faster with the acquisitions of Jason Chimera and Chris Kelly, but a team laden with veterans also got older…Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said the second period of San Jose’s 5-2 win over the Oilers, “was one of our best periods in a while,” and credited the newly acquired Evander Kane with driving it…After scoring 10 goals in 32 games, Jakub Vrana of the Capitals hasn’t scored in his past 25…It’s certainly a case of too little, too late, but the Panthers registered a franchise-high five wins in February…Just when it looked as though his season was getting back on track, Penguins goalie Matt Murray was hit in the head by a shot in practice and sustained a concussion…Stars coach Ken Hitchcock had no love for his team, even after a 2-0 shutout win over Calgary Tuesday night. “What did we give up, 30 scoring chances,” Hitchcock said. “It really pisses me off.”…Josh Anderson, who is tied with Artemi Panarin for tops on the Blue Jackets with 18 goals, will miss a month after colliding with Dmitri Orlov of the Capitals Monday night…The Avs, who take on Calgary at the Pepsi Center tonight, have won 11 of their past 12 home games and have outscored their opponents 43-19 in those games…Waiver pick-up Chris Stewart was installed on top line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau for his first game as a Flame…The biggest beneficiary of the Tomas Tatar trade is Tyler Bertuzzi, whom Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said will see his minutes, “increase by a lot.”


21. Arizona Coyotes (19)

22. Buffalo Sabres (27)

23. Edmonton Oilers (29)

24. New York Islanders (24)

25. Carolina Hurricanes (20)

26. Chicago Blackhawks (30)

27. New York Rangers (31)

28. Montreal Canadiens (28)

29. Vancouver Canucks (26)

30. Ottawa Senators (23)

31. St. Louis Blues (18)

Coyotes GM John Chayka made it clear that the fact he wasn’t busy at the deadline is by no means a message that he’s satisfied with his roster. “We need better players,” he said after the deadline…Look who has woken up for the Sabres. Sam Reinhart has points in four straight games entering tonight’s game in Tampa and has 7-13-20 totals in his past 19 games…Connor McDavid should get some Hart Trophy votes even with the Oilers hopelessly out of a playoff position…In the latest John Tavares news, the Islanders star hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing before the end of the season. But he won’t commit to it, either. The situation remains as clear as mud…The Hurricanes have lost six in a row and been outscored 24-9 in that time span. But they’re in a god awful conference so they find themselves only four points out of a playoff spot…It must have been strange for Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman to see his team in last place and be a seller at the deadline this year…Rangers GM Jeff Gorton got high marks for recognizing the rebuild that’s required with the Rangers and making the bold moves at the deadline to start the process…Their 1-0 shootout loss to Philadelphia Monday night dropped the Canadiens to 29th in NHL scoring this season…The Canucks re-signed defenseman Alex Biega to a two-year contract extension Tuesday…With his next goal, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson will have as many goals as he’s making millions of dollars this season…The Blues will try to avoid their first eight-game losing streak in more than a decade when they take on Detroit at home tonight. They’ve given up 16 goals in their past three games so they might want to tighten things up a little there.

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