Who will be in, and who will be out of playoffs in the East?
The Tampa Bay Lightning are tough to knock from top spot. They remain at No. 1 in this week’s edition of Snapshot, ahead of the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights, and New York Rangers are rising, while the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens are falling.
(Snapshot is a continuation of the analytically-based Power Rankings that I’ve been doing on TSN for many years. They are generated using statistics and individual player grades, which allows for ranking flexibility based on player availability due to injuries, suspensions, coaching decisions etc. and are used for the model being measured, with others, here.)
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (14-2-2)
THIS WEEK: 1 LAST WEEK: 1
GF: 3.90 GA: 2.52 SA CF%: 52.8
NET PP/60: +9.84 NET PK/60: -3.49
Saturday’s loss to the Islanders was Tampa Bay’s only regulation loss in the past nine games, just a little evidence that they can’t win every single night, but with the league’s top two scorers and G Andrei Vasilevskiy playing at a Vezina level, the Lightning sure have a good chance to win every night.
Key Injuries: None.
ST. LOUIS BLUES (16-5-1)
THIS WEEK: 2 LAST WEEK: 3
GF: 3.45 GA: 2.64 SA CF%: 53.4
NET PP/60: +5.13 NET PK/60: -6.81
The trio of Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko is dominating, with 16 goals for and just four against during 5-on-5 play.
Key Injuries: RW Robby Fabbri (knee), C Patrik Berglund (shoulder), D Jay Bouwmeester (ankle).
NASHVILLE PREDATORS (13-6-2)
THIS WEEK: 3 LAST WEEK: 5
GF: 3.14 GA: 2.90 SA CF%: 51.4
NET PP/60: +7.69 NET PK/60: -5.81
With eight wins in the past nine games, the Predators are looking like contenders again, especially when the power play is clicking, and it’s at 36% (9-for-25) over the past half dozen games.
Key Injuries: D Ryan Ellis (knee), LW Scott Hartnell (lower body).
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (14-7-1)
THIS WEEK: 4 LAST WEEK: 7
GF: 2.77 GA: 2.36 SA CF%: 53.2
NET PP/60: +2.32 NET PK/60: -6.20
The Jackets have won five straight, even though they scored just 10 goals in those five games. It helps to have G Sergei Bobrovsky putting up a wall night after night – he’s allowed just four goals in those five wins.
Key Injuries: LW Matt Calvert (upper body), C Alexander Wennberg (lower body).
WINNIPEG JETS (13-5-3)
THIS WEEK: 5 LAST WEEK: 8
GF: 3.24 GA: 2.71 SA CF%: 48.3
NET PP/60: +8.00 NET PK/60: -6.59
The Jets have won five of six and, in a strange turn of events given their history, they are riding a wave of hot goaltending, from both Connor Hellebuyck and Steve Mason, who have combined for a .920 save percentage in all situations, ranking sixth in the league.
Key Injuries: D Tobias Enstrom (lower body).
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (14-8-1)
THIS WEEK: 6 LAST WEEK: 10
GF: 3.48 GA: 2.96 SA CF%: 50.9
NET PP/60: +7.33 NET PK/60: -6.79
The Leafs are winless in two, but also have one regulation loss in the past eight games and Auston Matthews has returned from injury.
Key Injuries: None.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (12-7-2)
THIS WEEK: 7 LAST WEEK: 9
GF: 3.62 GA: 3.24 SA CF%: 50.5
NET PP/60: +4.39 NET PK/60: -5.67
The Islanders have won four of five and while John Tavares is playing at his customary elite level, he’s not the top point-getter on the team, sitting one point behind linemate Josh Bailey, who has 26 points (5 G, 21 A) in 21 games.
Key Injuries: None.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS (12-5-4)
THIS WEEK: 8 LAST WEEK: 6
GF: 3.19 GA: 3.05 SA CF%: 46.4
NET PP/60: +7.28 NET PK/60: -5.65
If the Devils are going to carry this early success further, they will likely need to tighten up defensively. Getting veteran C Travis Zajac into the lineup should help, but this is precarious position for the Devils, who have two regulation wins in the past 10 games.
Key Injuries: LW Marcus Johansson (concussion), RW Kyle Palmieri (foot).
SAN JOSE SHARKS (11-8-1)
THIS WEEK: 9 LAST WEEK: 2
GF: 2.45 GA: 2.20 SA CF%: 53.9
NET PP/60: +5.08 NET PK/60: -2.61
The Sharks have scored just eight goals in the past five games, and Logan Couture (with 11) and Joonas Donskoi (with seven) are the only Sharks with more than four goals in 20 games.
Key Injuries: D Paul Martin (ankle).
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (10-8-3)
THIS WEEK: 10 LAST WEEK: 14
GF: 3.00 GA: 2.67 SA CF%: 51.4
NET PP/60: +5.19 NET PK/60: -4.97
In case you were wondering how the reunion tours were going, Brandon Saad has two points (1 G, 1 A), and Patrick Sharp hasn’t recorded a point in the past 15 games.
Key Injuries: None.
LOS ANGELES KINGS (12-8-2)
THIS WEEK: 11 LAST WEEK: 4
GF: 2.91 GA: 2.36 SA CF%: 49.3
NET PP/60: +6.35 NET PK/60: -2.79
The Kings have one regulation win in the past nine games, and it was a home game in which they managed 20 shots against Florida. For all the talk about playing differently than recent plodding Kings teams, another difference is that this year’s Kings are getting outshot.
Key Injuries: LW Marian Gaborik (knee), C Jeff Carter (Achilles).
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (13-6-1)
THIS WEEK: 12 LAST WEEK: 30
GF: 3.60 GA: 2.95 SA CF%: 51.1
NET PP/60: +6.31 NET PK/60: -6.51
The Golden Knights have won three in a row, but the main reason for the big move up is that G Malcolm Subban has been activated from injured reserve, shoring up the goaltending position. Improving possession stats help their cause, too.
Key Injuries: G Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion).
NEW YORK RANGERS (11-9-2)
THIS WEEK: 13 LAST WEEK: 23
GF: 3.27 GA: 3.05 SA CF%: 48.6
NET PP/60: +8.06 NET PK/60: -6.53
Eight wins in the past 10 games sure helps change the outlook for the Blueshirts, who have a point-per-game scorer, Mika Zibanejad, leading their attack.
Key Injuries: None.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS (11-8-3)
THIS WEEK: 14 LAST WEEK: 15
GF: 2.77 GA: 2.73 SA CF%: 48.6
NET PP/60: +5.80 NET PK/60: -6.51
The Canucks kicked off their road trip in style, with back-to-back 5-2 wins at Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. They got good goaltending from Jacob Markstrom and Anders Nilsson, and rookie RW Brock Boeser buried four goals. That works.
Key Injuries: D Chris Tanev (upper body), D Troy Stecher (leg).
CAROLINA HURRICANES (9-7-4)
THIS WEEK: 15 LAST WEEK: 18
GF: 2.85 GA: 2.85 SA CF%: 55.2
NET PP/60: +5.02 NET PK/60: -7.02
It’s been quite a start to the season for second-year winger Sebastian Aho, who didn’t score a goal in the first 15 games, but now has found the net in five straight.
Key Injuries: RW Lee Stempniak (hip).
MINNESOTA WILD (10-8-3)
THIS WEEK: 16 LAST WEEK: 20
GF: 3.05 GA: 2.76 SA CF%: 47.8
NET PP/60: +7.59 NET PK/60: -3.45
One regulation loss in the past seven games is a move in the right direction for the Wild, who are not surprisingly more dangerous now that Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter are producing.
Key Injuries: LW Zach Parise (back).
ANAHEIM DUCKS (10-8-3)
THIS WEEK: 17 LAST WEEK: 17
GF: 2.76 GA: 2.81 SA CF%: 46.0
NET PP/60: +5.70 NET PK/60: -4.38
G John Gibson has been heroic lately, stopping 135 shots in his past three starts, but if the Ducks continue to have the worst possession numbers in the league, Gibson is going to have to bail them out a lot.
Key Injuries: C Ryan Kesler (hip), RW Patrick Eaves (Guillain-Barre), C Ryan Getzlaf (face), RW Ondrej Kase (concussion).
CALGARY FLAMES (12-8-1)
THIS WEEK: 18 LAST WEEK: 19
GF: 2.86 GA: 3.05 SA CF%: 51.3
NET PP/60: +6.43 NET PK/60: -9.87
It appears that the Eddie Lack goaltending experiment didn’t work out, as he’s been waived, but good for the Flames is that Mike Smith has been terrific and the Flames have one regulation loss in the past six games.
Key Injuries: None.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS (12-10-1)
THIS WEEK: 19 LAST WEEK: 21
GF: 2.83 GA: 3.13 SA CF%: 47.9
NET PP/60: +5.55 NET PK/60: -7.98
It’s really hard for the Capitals to establish any kind of consistency because they are so dependent on top scorers. Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jakub Vrana are the four Capitals with more than four goals in 23 games.
Key Injuries: LW Andre Burakovsky (upper body).
DALLAS STARS (11-10-1)
THIS WEEK: 20 LAST WEEK: 24
GF: 2.77 GA: 2.91 SA CF%: 51.6
NET PP/60: +8.32 NET PK/60: -5.12
It really seems like the Stars are going through growing pains with head coach Ken Hitchcock, with player roles shifting and production way off from the days when Dallas could score with any team in the league.
Key Injuries: D Marc Methot (lower body).
BOSTON BRUINS (9-7-4)
THIS WEEK: 21 LAST WEEK: 22
GF: 2.65 GA: 2.90 SA CF%: 51.4
NET PP/60: +5.85 NET PK/60: -3.89
The Bruins have won three straight on the road, all with Anton Khudobin in net, which has raised questions about the future of Tuukka Rask in Boston.
Key Injuries: C David Krejci (upper body), RW David Backes (diverticulitis), LW Brad Marchand (upper body), RW Anders Bjork.
COLORADO AVALANCHE (11-8-1)
THIS WEEK: 22 LAST WEEK: 27
GF: 3.40 GA: 3.25 SA CF%: 47.1
NET PP/60: +6.22 NET PK/60: -6.26
The Avalanche have won three of four and C Nathan MacKinnon is rising to the challenge of being the star, putting up 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in those four games.
Key Injuries: D Patrick Nemeth.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (11-9-3)
THIS WEEK: 23 LAST WEEK: 12
GF: 2.65 GA: 3.43 SA CF%: 50.0
NET PP/60: +9.05 NET PK/60: -8.22
One regulation win in the past six games and Evgeni Malkin on the shelf knocks the Penguins down a long way.
Key Injuries: C Evgeni Malkin (upper body).
DETROIT RED WINGS (10-9-3)
THIS WEEK: 24 LAST WEEK: 16
GF: 2.86 GA: 2.86 SA CF%: 49.0
NET PP/60: +6.67 NET PK/60: -3.54
A week after finding the positives in the Wings being led by a young scorer like Anthony Mantha, the towering winger is in the crosshairs for criticism from head coach Jeff Blashill after a lackluster loss against Edmonton.
Key Injuries: D Danny DeKeyser (lower body).
FLORIDA PANTHERS (8-11-2)
THIS WEEK: 25 LAST WEEK: 28
GF: 2.90 GA: 3.43 SA CF%: 48.8
NET PP/60: +5.14 NET PK/60: -8.67
Strong play from G Roberto Luongo is keeping the Panthers competitive, and they are 4-3 in the past seven games, but it’s going to take more than that to climb back into playoff contention.
Key Injuries: C Jared McCann (lower body).
OTTAWA SENATORS (8-6-6)
THIS WEEK: 26 LAST WEEK: 11
GF: 3.15 GA: 3.15 SA CF%: 48.9
NET PP/60: +5.44 NET PK/60: -6.08
Matt Duchene has generated a bunch of chances, but has yet to find the scoresheet in six games with the Senators and Ottawa is now winless in the past four games.
Key Injuries: LW Clarke MacArthur (concussion), LW Zack Smith (thumb).
EDMONTON OILERS (8-12-2)
THIS WEEK: 27 LAST WEEK: 28
GF: 2.56 GA: 2.94 SA CF%: 54.4
NET PP/60: +6.29 NET PK/60: -8.82
The Oilers got a much-needed win at Detroit to end a three-game losing streak, but they are in a hole now and need some breaks to start going their way.
Key Injuries: D Andrej Sekera (knee).
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (8-9-5)
THIS WEEK: 28 LAST WEEK: 26
GF: 2.77 GA: 2.86 SA CF%: 50.5
NET PP/60: +5.78 NET PK/60: -9.39
Winless in six, the Flyers have allowed eight power play goals in the past four games.
Key Injuries: D Andrew MacDonald (lower body), D Radko Gudas (suspension).
MONTREAL CANADIENS (8-12-3)
THIS WEEK: 29 LAST WEEK: 13
GF: 2.30 GA: 3.43 SA CF%: 51.6
NET PP/60: +4.64 NET PK/60: -7.47
No regulation wins in the past seven games and No. 1 defenceman Shea Weber and starting goaltender Carey Price are hurt. Other than that, things are going great!
Key Injuries: D David Schlemko (hand), RW Ales Hemsky (concussion), G Carey Price (lower body), G Al Montoya (concussion), RW Artturi Lehkonen (lower body), D Shea Weber (lower body).
BUFFALO SABRES (5-13-4)
THIS WEEK: 30 LAST WEEK: 30
GF: 2.36 GA: 3.55 SA CF%: 46.2
NET PP/60: +1.47 NET PK/60: -4.84
Winless in seven, the Sabres are streaking towards the bottom of the standings, and there are a lot of holes to be filled if this is going to turn around.
Key Injuries: D Zach Bogosian (lower body).
ARIZONA COYOTES (5-16-3)
THIS WEEK: 31 LAST WEEK: 31
GF: 2.42 GA: 3.67 SA CF%: 46.5
NET PP/60: +5.11 NET PK/60: -7.91
The Coyotes earned three straight road wins before returning home and losing to San Jose, and also losing starting goaltender Antti Raanta to another injury.
Key Injuries: D Jakob Chychrun (knee), D Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body), G Antti Raanta (upper body).
Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org