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Columnists

MORE From TSN'S Hockey COLUMNISTS

Mar 19, 2018

The 7-Eleven Power Rankings: Preds back on top, Bruins move up

Predators reclaim top spot in 7-Eleven Power Rankings

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The Nashville Predators, one of the league’s best teams for much of the season, sit in first place overall with 104 points and 11 games remaining, two points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning. They were also the first team to clinch a playoff spot. The Lightning nailed down a berth over the weekend.

What a difference a year makes. Last season, the Preds secured the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference and, as we all recall, went on a crazy run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. The Predators, who were No. 2 last week, are back on top in TSN’s 7-Eleven Power Rankings, according to consensus rankings formulated by the TSN Power Ranking panel of Ray Ferraro, Jeff O’Neill, Jamie McLennan, Craig Button and Darren Dreger.

The Lightning, who have 10 games left, drop to No. 3 after leading the pack last week as they try to fend off the surging Boston Bruins (No. 2), who are just four points back in the Atlantic Division in the race for the Eastern Conference crown with two games in hand. The injury-riddled Bruins shut out the Bolts Saturday in Tampa minus star centre Patrice Bergeron and their top blueline pairing of Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy.

On the strength of 19-year-old Patrik Laine’s goal scoring (his 43 goals are tied with 32-year-old Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin) and Connor Hellebuyck’s play in net (third-most wins with 37 and a .925 save percentage), the Winnipeg Jets remain at No. 4 this week with 96 points, while the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs (No. 5) move up a spot to round out our panel’s top-five teams. The Leafs have won 12 straight at the Air Canada Centre – a franchise record. The Vegas Golden Knights slip a spot to No. 6 after losing four of their last five on home ice. After a 17-2-1 run at home to start the season, they’ve gone 8-7-1 in Vegas.

The Jets still have the best record in Canada, followed closely by the Leafs. The No. 20 Calgary Flames, who have a subpar 15-17-4 record at home, are the third-best team in the country. The Ottawa Senators are next, moving up six spots in the rankings to No. 24 from second-last overall a week ago to make the biggest leap of the week. Connor McDavid and his Edmonton Oilers slip a spot to No. 25 to round out the top-five Canadian teams.

The defensively challenged New York Islanders, sliding all the way to No. 29 this week to hit the bottom five from No. 22 a week ago after going 1-7-4 in their last 12, and the road-weary Dallas Stars, spiraling to No. 18 from No. 11 last week, had the biggest drops of the week.

As for the other cellar dwellers, the Buffalo Sabres move up to No. 27 from last overall last week, followed by the No. 28 Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings at No. 30 and the Vancouver Canucks, who are the NHL’s worst team this week.

Nashville Predators
1. Nashville Predators

  • 2017-18
    47-14-10
  • LAST 10
    9-0-1
  • LAST WEEK
    2
The Predators set a new team record with their 14th straight game of earning a road point, going 11-0-3. They also tied their overall point streak record of 14, going 13-0-1 in those games.
Boston Bruins
2. Boston Bruins

  • 2017-18
    45-17-8
  • LAST 10
    8-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    3

A 3-0 shutout in Tampa was meaningful in more ways than one for Tuukka Rask. He's also the first Bruins goalie in franchise history to record five consecutive 30-win seasons.

Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • 2017-18
    49-19-4
  • LAST 10
    7-2-1
  • LAST WEEK
    1

The Lightning don’t lose often, but when they do, it’s often to a weak team. Among their last seven losses they’ve fallen to Ottawa, Edmonton, and Buffalo…twice.

Winnipeg Jets
4. Winnipeg Jets

  • 2017-18
    43-19-10
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    4

A win over Chicago this week was the 25th of the season at home for the Jets, besting the previous franchise home mark of 24. They also tied a franchise record for wins (43) in a season on Sunday.

Toronto Maple Leafs
5. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • 2017-18
    43-22-7
  • LAST 10
    6-2-2
  • LAST WEEK
    6
Thanks to a 4-0 win over Montreal, the Leafs extended their franchise record home-winning streak to 12 games. Curtis McElhinney is 6-0-1 since the all-star break (.954 save percentage, 1.54 GAA).
Vegas Golden Knights
6. Vegas Golden Knights

  • 2017-18
    46-21-5
  • LAST 10
    5-5-0
  • LAST WEEK
    5

All of a sudden home isn’t so sweet for Vegas. They’ve lost four of their last five there and have been outscored 21-14. Since starting out 17-2-1 at home, they’re 8-7-1 in Sin City.

Minnesota Wild
7. Minnesota Wild

  • 2017-18
    41-24-7
  • LAST 10
    6-4-0
  • LAST WEEK
    7
The Wild have been much better at home this season than on the road, but three road wins in their last four have come at the right time, as they attempt to hold off any playoff spot challengers.
Pittsburgh Penguins
8. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • 2017-18
    41-26-5
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    9

Evgeni Malkin has reached the 40-goal plateau for the third time in his career. Since Jan. 1 he’s played 32 games, scoring a league-high 26 goals and earning 27 assists for 53 points.

Washington Capitals
9. Washington Capitals

  • 2017-18
    41-24-7
  • LAST 10
    6-4-0
  • LAST WEEK
    10

Alex Ovechkin became the 20th player in NHL history to score 600 career goals, and the first Russian. In his next game he tied Jari Kurri at the 19th spot with No. 601, with Dino Ciccarelli within reach at 608.

San Jose Sharks
10. San Jose Sharks

  • 2017-18
    40-23-9
  • LAST 10
    7-2-1
  • LAST WEEK
    14
Four goals in one game by trade deadline acquisition Evander Kane tied a Sharks record, also held by Tomas Hertl, Patrick Marleau and Owen Nolan. Kane has 25 goals, just five off his NHL-high of 30.
Columbus Blue Jackets
11. Columbus Blue Jackets

  • 2017-18
    39-28-5
  • LAST 10
    8-2-0
  • LAST WEEK
    15
A seven-game winning streak by the Blue Jackets is the longest current streak in the NHL. Nashville and Colorado had 10-game winning streaks to lead the league in that category.
Anaheim Ducks
12. Anaheim Ducks

  • 2017-18
    37-24-12
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    13
John Gibson has been on fire since the all-star break, with an 11-3-1 record, and league bests (at least 10 games) with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage.
Florida Panthers
13. Florida Panthers

  • 2017-18
    35-27-7
  • LAST 10
    7-2-1
  • LAST WEEK
    8
Playing just his second game since March 2, James Reimer shut out Boston with 46 saves, second-most all time in a shutout for the franchise behind Craig Anderson’s 53 in 2008.
Philadelphia Flyers
14. Philadelphia Flyers

  • 2017-18
    37-25-11
  • LAST 10
    3-6-1
  • LAST WEEK
    12
The Flyers are hopeful that wins over Carolina and Washington have stopped a March slide of 1-6-1 prior to those weekend games. That’s after going 10-1-2 in February – best in the league.
Colorado Avalanche
15. Colorado Avalanche

  • 2017-18
    39-25-8
  • LAST 10
    6-1-3
  • LAST WEEK
    18
The Avs are happy to see the end of the Preds this regular season. They lost to them all four times (once in OT). Since Dec. 29 at home against teams other than Nashville, the Avs have a 15-1-0 record.
Los Angeles Kings
16. Los Angeles Kings

  • 2017-18
    39-27-6
  • LAST 10
    6-3-1
  • LAST WEEK
    16
After being shut out at home by New Jersey, the Kings will hit the road for four games starting Monday night against the Wild and then come back home for five of six to end the season.
New Jersey Devils
17. New Jersey Devils

  • 2017-18
    37-27-8
  • LAST 10
    5-5-0
  • LAST WEEK
    17
The Devils got off to a great start on a six-game road trip, winning their first three, including 8-3 in Vegas and a 3-0 shutout by Keith Kinkaid in L.A. New Jersey is 4-2-1 in their last seven on the road.
Dallas Stars
18. Dallas Stars

  • 2017-18
    38-27-8
  • LAST 10
    2-4-4
  • LAST WEEK
    11

A mini road trip to Canada was unsuccessful for the up-and-down Stars, who lost in overtime, the shootout, and regulation time twice. They’ve now gone eight straight on the road without a win.

St. Louis Blues
19. St. Louis Blues

  • 2017-18
    39-28-5
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    20
The Blues are on the road to recovery after going 4-1-0 in their last five. They’ll need to keep it up if they want a playoff spot. Captain Alex Pietrangelo has led the way (four goals, seven assists) in his last five.
Calgary Flames
20. Calgary Flames

  • 2017-18
    36-28-10
  • LAST 10
    3-6-1
  • LAST WEEK
    19

The good news is that the Flames have one of the league’s best road records at 20-11-6. The bad news is that they have one of the worst home records at 15-17-4 and have five home games left.

New York Rangers
21. New York Rangers

  • 2017-18
    32-32-8
  • LAST 10
    5-2-3
  • LAST WEEK
    23

Not that it’s doing them any good now, but the Rangers are 5-2-2 since the trade deadline. Alexandar Georgiev has made his presence felt in net by going 3-0-1 in those games.

Carolina Hurricanes
22. Carolina Hurricanes

  • 2017-18
    31-30-11
  • LAST 10
    4-5-1
  • LAST WEEK
    21
Home has not been kind to the Hurricanes, who are nine points out of the final wild-card spot. They are 1-6-0 in their last seven, have been outscored 26-14 and play five of their last 10 games at home.
Arizona Coyotes
23. Arizona Coyotes

  • 2017-18 RECORD
    23-37-11
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    24

The Coyotes are improving on defence. Since Feb. 12 they have allowed 35 goals in 16 games, second best to Anaheim. Another plus? Rookie Clayton Keller scored his 20th goal of the season.

Ottawa Senators
24. Ottawa Senators

  • 2017-18
    26-34-11
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    30

How about that? The Senators won three games in a row for the first time since their third, fourth and fifth games of the season. The streak ended in a 2-1 loss to red-hot Columbus on Saturday.

Edmonton Oilers
25. Edmonton Oilers

  • 2017-18
    31-36-5
  • LAST 10
    4-5-1
  • LAST WEEK
    26
From Dec. 31 to Feb. 27 the Oilers scored a paltry four power-play goals in 25 games and had a league worst 7.1 power-play percentage. Since March 1 they have four power-play goals in nine games.
Chicago Blackhawks
26. Chicago Blackhawks

  • 2017-18
    30-34-9
  • LAST 10
    3-6-1
  • LAST WEEK
    25
Since Feb. 1 on the road, the Blackhawks are 1-10-1, have scored 29 goals and allowed 59, an average of 4.9 per game. Coach Joel Quennville could lose his job in an absolutely disastrous season.
Buffalo Sabres
27. Buffalo Sabres

  • 2017-18
    23-36-12
  • LAST 10
    5-4-1
  • LAST WEEK
    31

It’s not saying much to beat Chicago this season, unless you’re Buffalo. They broke a 12-game (0-9-3) winless skid against them Saturday in a 5-3 win. Jack Eichel returned to the lineup to earn an assist.

Montreal Canadiens
28. Montreal Canadiens

  • 2017-18
    26-34-12
  • LAST 10
    3-5-2
  • LAST WEEK
    27

Since Jan. 30 the Canadiens are 1-10-3 on the road, and have been shut out four times, including Saturday in Toronto. Half of the 10 games they have left are on the road, including April 7 in Toronto.

New York Islanders
29. New York Islanders

  • 2017-18
    30-32-10
  • LAST 10
    1-6-3
  • LAST WEEK
    22
It’s been a disaster for the Isles since Feb. 19 with a 1-7-4 record, worst in the league. On the plus side, Matt Barzal, with his 73 points, is the third-highest scoring Islander rookie in team history.
Detroit Red Wings
30. Detroit Red Wings

  • 2017-18
    26-35-11
  • LAST 10
    0-9-1
  • LAST WEEK
    28

The Red Wings are mired in a 10-game losing streak (0-9-1) although eight of those games (0-7-1) were on the road. They’ve been outscored 41-19 over that stretch. Bring on the draft lottery.

Vancouver Canucks
31. Vancouver Canucks

  • 2017-18
    25-38-9
  • LAST 10
    1-7-2
  • LAST WEEK
    29
A three-game road trip was a disaster for the Canucks, failing to score a single goal in any of the games. Overall, they’ve lost six in a row and were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week.