How do the league’s teams stack up halfway through March?
Another eventful week of hockey is in the books.
Darryl Sutter earned his first (this time around, at least) win as the new head coach of the Calgary Flames.
No one can seem to stop the red-hot New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes.
The Buffalo Sabres continue to be one of the best dramedies we’ve ever seen.
That being said, let’s dive further into how all 31 teams performed over the past week.
31. Buffalo Sabres
Previous Ranking: 27
The Sabres have now lost a league-worst nine in a row and have been outscored 10-20 over their past four games. To make matters worse, they’re without their injured captain and best player, Jack Eichel.
Remind me, why did Taylor Hall want to sign here?
30. Ottawa Senators
Previous Ranking: 29
Ottawa’s play has improved as the season has progressed, but this is still a bad team. His teammates aren’t great, but Matt Murray has been just terrible in net.
29. Anaheim Ducks
Previous Ranking: 31
After a truly terrible stretch, the Ducks managed to come up with two wins and go to overtime in one of their two losses this past week.
Scoring 14 goals in four games seemed an impossible task not too long ago, but the Ducks were able to do just that this week.
28. Detroit Red Wings
Previous Ranking: 30
The Red Wings outscored their opponents this past week? Are we reading this correctly? They’ve been able to hold their own against the reigning champion Tampa Bay Lightning, which is not an easy task.
27. New Jersey Devils
Previous Ranking: 26
The New Jersey Devils have lost two straight, but they came back in the first to take the Washington Capitals to overtime and were able to score three in the third period of Thursday’s game against the Islanders.
The effort and drive are there, there are just too many things wrong with this team. MacKenzie Blackwood doesn’t look like the guy we saw to begin the season and having the worst penalty kill in the league won’t ever get you far.
26. San Jose Sharks
Previous Ranking: 24
The Sharks continue to play the same subpar hockey we’ve seen from them all season. They went 1-1-1 this past week while being outscored 7-11.
25. Nashville Predators
Previous Ranking: 22
The Predators aren’t scoring and have a depleted defense. It seems like nothing is going right for this team. Matt Duchene, who had been having an awful season, was placed on IR with a long-term lower-body injury.
24. Dallas Stars
Previous Ranking: 28
After going through the roughest of rough patches, the Stars didn’t look too bad this past week. The absences of Alexander Radulov and Tyler Seguin are hurting this team, but Joe Pavelski is stepping up and rookie Jason Robertson looks good.
23. Columbus Blue Jackets
Previous Ranking: 21
The Blue Jackets still look bad, and that’s highlighted by Patrick Laine’s scoring drought. At least Cam Atkinson is having a decent season. People were starting to get worried.
22. New York Rangers
Previous Ranking: 16
This was an eventful week for the New York Rangers: number one pick Alexis Lafrenière managed to get a point-streak going, defenseman Jacob Trouba returned to the team, and it looks like Artemi Panarin will be ready to play again soon.
Igor Shesterkin’s absence is glaring: Alexandar Georgiev’s dreadful play is costing his team. Some more good news? Top prospect Vitaly Kravtsov’s KHL season has come to an end and he’s on his way to New York.
21. Vancouver Canucks
Previous Ranking: 20
Quinn Hughes, one of the top young defensemen in the league, has struggled mightily defensively, something representative of Vancouver’s defense as a whole.
However, the Canucks have looked better over the past couple of weeks and might be able to get something going as we get further into the season.
Goalie Thatcher Demko, who was the most recent NHL second star of the week, deserves a ton of credit for helping the team get back on track.
20. Calgary Flames
Previous Ranking: 14
One of the most inconsistent teams in the league is back, baby.
Head coach Geoff Ward was fired last week, and it’ll be interesting to see if (former Flames coach) Darryl Sutter can get his players to settle in and play consistently good hockey for the remainder of the season.
19. Arizona Coyotes
Previous Ranking: 23
The Coyotes had a pretty good week, but were hit with some bad news when it was revealed that goalie Darcy Kuemper had sustained a lower-body injury and is considered week-to-week. Can Antti Raanta hold down the fort in the meantime?
18. Los Angeles Kings
Previous Ranking: 25
The Kings are one of the strangest teams in the league this season. They looked rough last week, but played much better in their last four games.
They’ll be tested in goal with Troy Grosenick becoming the starting netminder with both Cal Petersen and Jonathan Quick out.
17. Chicago Blackhawks
Previous Ranking: 17
The Blackhawks have cooled down a bit lately, but there was much to celebrate this week with the great Patrick Kane skating in his 1,000th career game. In other news, not enough people are talking about Chicago’s youth movement paying dividends this season. The Hawks’ rookies lead the NHL in scoring as a group thus far.
16. Philadelphia Flyers
Previous Ranking: 9
The Flyers continue to underperform. They went 1-3 this past week while being outscored 12-16. Their sole win came against the awful Sabres, and even that game went to shootout. This isn’t what we expected to see from Philadelphia at all this season.
Additionally, Alain Vigneault might want to consider making the veteran Brian Elliott the starting goalie moving forward. Carter Hart continues to look completely lost in net.
15. St. Louis Blues
Previous Ranking: 8
Goalie Jordan Binnington signed a six-year extension with St. Louis on Thursday. This should be interesting. The Blues didn’t have the best of weeks, but they did welcome back Vladimir Tarasenko, whose offensive ability has been missed.
14. Montreal Canadiens
Previous Ranking: 18
The Canadiens are coming off their best week in some time, but have a long way to go if they hope to return to the form they were in to start the season. This might require benching Carey Price for Jake Allen, but that’s a conversation for another day.
13. Colorado Avalanche
Previous Ranking: 5
The Avalanche don’t look fantastic in the standings, but they are still dealing with several injury issues. All the hockey world wants is to see this team at full strength, but it appears that’s been too much to ask.
12. Winnipeg Jets
Previous Ranking: 10
The Jets have been playing consistent hockey, and that’s been crucial for them. They could’ve had a better three-game stretch this past week, but they’re still an impressive team and are fully capable of exceeding expectations.
11. Edmonton Oilers
Previous Ranking: 19
The Oilers look like a completely different team when they play the Senators. They’re on a three-game winning streak and appear to have left that awful three-game losing streak against the Toronto Maple Leafs behind them.
10. Boston Bruins
Previous Ranking: 12
The Bruins looked like they forgot how to score early this week, but a 4-0 shutout of the Rangers on Thursday might have been their way of righting the ship. Nick Ritchie has been a huge positive for the team and has been consistently impactful.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins
Previous Ranking: 13
Kasperi Kapanen was meant to be a Penguin. Pittsburgh are on a four-game winning streak and Kapanen is a big reason why.
Evgeni Malkin continues to get hot at the right time. If the Penguins can keep this up, they should have no problem making it to the playoffs.
8. Minnesota Wild
Previous Ranking: 15
It seems like the Wild have a new player break out every week. Kaapo Kähkönen has looked wonderful in net and has made great saves against some great teams. We can’t forget to show some praise to Kirill Kaprizov, however.
7. Vegas Golden Knights
Previous Ranking: 2
Vegas have lost defenseman Alex Pietrangelo for some time and and they went an unimpressive 2-2 this past week, but this is a deep enough team. Mark Stone, the first star of the week, continues to be formidable.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous Ranking: 3
The Maple Leafs are coming off their worst week of the season, so far. They went 1-2 and were outscored 9-11. We all know they’ll be just fine, though.
5. Florida Panthers
Previous Ranking: 11
The Central Division has some serious powerhouses. The Panthers went 3-1 this week while outscoring opponents 17-12. Everyone is contributing, even Sergei Bobrovsky, who’s looked his best since joining the team.
4. Washington Capitals
Previous Ranking: 6
The Capitals are to be taken seriously. Washington’s power play is a contributing factor to their success, and credit must be given to T.J. Oshie, who’s been awesome on the man-advantage.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous Ranking: 1
The Lightning continue to be elite, but they weren’t as defensively sound this past week as they have been, conceding 16 goals in four games. Even so, this is arguably the scariest team in the league, from the top line to the goalie.
2. New York Islanders
Previous Ranking: 7
It really does look like the Islanders can do no wrong. They’re on a seven-game winning streak and have outscored opponents 17-8 during that span.
The only concern: captain Anders Lee left Thursday’s game against the Devils with an injury, and something long-term to one of their best players won’t yield pretty results.
1. Carolina Hurricanes
Previous Ranking: 4
The Canes are on fire. They’re on a seven-game winning streak, as well, and are getting it done against both good and bad teams.
They outscored opponents 12-5 this past week, and they have their centers to thank for that. They’ve all been producing but the league’s third star of the week, Martin Necas, deserves some love.