NHL Power Rankings: Stars climb, Wild fall as power balance shifts in Central Division

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He doesn’t get as much credit as some of the bigger names on the team, but Elias Lindholm is a key cog in this Flames machine. Lindholm has eight points in his last four games and is one third of what might be the most dominant line on the planet. To top it off, Calgary controls 58.63% of the expected goals at five-on-five. 1 34-14-7

The Avalanche have not one but two Norris Trophy candidates. Cale Makar will get plenty of attention, but Devon Toews deserves some serious consideration as well. Toews has 43 points in 45 games and with him on the ice at five-on-five, Colorado controls 56.85% of the expected goals. 1 41-11-5

Florida bounced back with a pair of wins this past week, and the team’s explosive offense was on display yet again. In a 6-2 win over the Red Wings, the Panthers scored five straight goals in an absolute barrage. Games against this team can get out of hand quickly. — 38-13-5


Victor Hedman added three assists against the Blackhawks to bring his point total up to 56 on the year, which is his best mark since the 2017-18 season. Additionally, the Bolts have been completely dominant with Hedman on the ice. At five-on-five, Tampa has allowed 41 goals with Hedman on the ice, but it has also scored 52 goals in those situations as well. 1 37-12-6

Martin Necas hadn’t scored since Jan. 15, but that changed in the Hurricanes’ win against the Kraken. Necas tallied the game-winning goal with under 10 minutes remaining, and Carolina has to hope that he heats up after that clutch tally. 1 39-12-5

Since Jan. 28, Sidney Crosby has failed to record a point in just one game. Crosby has 20 points in 14 games over that stretch. Despite having played in far fewer games than some of his teammates, Crosby is third on the Penguins with 9.67 expected goals at five-on-five. 1 34-14-9

With four goals in his last three games, Chris Kreider already has 10 more goals than his career best of 28. Kreider is playing out of his mind this season, and he is well within reach of hitting the 50-goal mark. 2 36-15-5

The Bruins have been playing well lately, and they are right on the heels of the Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division. Of course, getting there would only mean a first-round date against the Panthers or Lightning in the playoffs, so be careful what you wish for. 2 34-18-5

Maple Leafs
Toronto has had better weeks. After beating the Capitals, the Maple Leafs suffered back-to-back losses to the Sabres and Canucks. Both Petr Mrazek and Jack Camplbell got starts in goal this week, and neither one has much success. We’ll see if Toronto upgrades the goaltending before the deadline.

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3 36-16-4

Jason Robertson has now scored a hat trick in back-to-back games, and he has seven in his last three games. The second-year winger is now on the cusp of reaching the 30-goal mark, and he is driving the Stars up the standings with seven wins in their last 10 contests. 3 32-20-3

Between getting run out of the building by the Bruins and taking a key loss to the Stars, the Kings hit their first real speed bump in quite some time. Still, Los Angeles has been one of the hottest teams in the league over the last month, and they have not only hung around in the West, but they have thrived. 1 32-19-7

Golden Knights
Jack Eichel played hero in the Golden Knights’ win over the Senators, to cap off a 3-1-0 week for the team. Since Eichel suited up for Vegas, the results have been somewhat mixed, but that is to be expected with him shaking off the rust after surgery. Maybe Sunday night’s win will serve as a springboard for him. 2 32-21-4

The Blues had the chance to put even more distance between themselves and the Wild last week, but they picked up just one point in three games. Now even the Stars are within realistic striking distance of St. Louis for the second spot in the Central Division. 5 32-16-7

Minnesota is 2-8-0 in its last 10 games, and the team officially has a serious goaltending issue. The Wild have surrendered at least three goals in each of those contests, and Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen have combined to allow 9.73 goals above expected in that time. 3 32-19-3

The Capitals finally have some good news on the goalie front. Vitek Vanacek recently returned from injured reserve, and he has played really well in a very small sample size. In Washington’s wins over the Hurricanes and the Kraken, Vanacek allowed just two goals on a combined 65 shots. 1 30-18-9

I admit that I was kind of waiting on J.T. Miller to cool off at some point this season, but that has not happened. In fact, he has actually gotten even hotter of late. Miller is riding a nine-game point streak in which he has recorded a total of six goals and 11 assists. 1 28-23-6

Nashville suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the slumping Kraken, but the team bounced back with an 8-0 thumping of the Sharks. The Preds finally got contributions from up and down that lineup in that one, and they must find a way to keep that going or risk falling out of a playoff spot.

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2 31-20-4

The Oilers had three very winnable games last week, and they came out of it with a 1-1-1 record. That is not going to cut it for Edmonton, which faces a much tougher slate over the next seven days. The next three matchups on deck for the Oilers are the Flames, Capitals, and Lightning. — 30-23-4

Blue Jackets
Boone Jenner is having his best season since the 2015-16 season. Jenner has tallied 23 goals and 44 assists in 56 games, and he leads the Blue Jackets in expected goals with 18.37. At this point, the contract extension Jenner signed for $3.75 million per year over the summer looks like a savvy move by Columbus. — 28-26-3

Mark Scheifele has experienced some positive regression with respect to his shooting percentage, and it’s right back up to his career average. Scheifele is now up to 20 goals on the year, and seven of those have come on the power play. Having said that, Winnipeg is still minus-12 with Schiefele on the ice at five-on-five. — 24-22-10

The Ducks have been slipping in the playoff race over the last month, and there is a surprising reason for those woes. The usually rock solid John Gibson has posted a league-worst -12.29 goals saved above average since Feb. 7. That is a big reason why Anaheim has had trouble keep up in the Wild Card race. — 27-22-9

From the start of the season through Feb. 16, the Canadiens ranked 31st in the NHL in expected goals share at five-on-five (44.77%). Since Martin St. Louis took over on Feb. 17, Montreal ranks sixth in that category (54.09%). The Canadiens have been unrecognizable with St. Louis at the helm. 3 15-34-7

Red Wings
I am once again going to bang the Calder Trophy drum for Moritz Seider. He just had his eight-game point streak snapped against the Panthers, and Detroit is getting solid results with him on the ice. The Red Wings are now plus-five with Seider on the ice at five-on-five. 1 24-26-6

Noah Dobson, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, is living up to that billing this season. He has already racked up 28 points, which doubles his career high. Dobson’s advanced statistics haven’t always been pretty, but that might have more to do with him being paired up with Zdeno Chara, who has shown his age this season.

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— 21-24-8

There are reports that the Avalanche have interest in trading for Patrick Kane before the trade deadline in a couple of weeks. Considering the price will be astronomical and the fact that Kane has another year left on his contract at $10.5 million, it seems like that would be tough to pull off mid-season. That doesn’t even take into consideration whether Chicago would actually trade him. 1 20-29-8

It appears the tables were turned last week. The Coyotes took down the Avalanche (again), and then they scored eight goals against the Senators in one of the most entertaining games of the entire season, regardless of who the participants were. 4 16-35-4

Speaking of turning tables, the Sabres managed to get wins over the Maple Leafs and the Wild last week. Of course, the good times couldn’t last too long for the devoted fans of Buffalo. The Sabres ended the week with a 3-0 shutout loss to the Kings. 4 18-32-8

The Senators have now lost five in a row. While that might seem like a frustrating setback for a young team that had been playing rather well in recent weeks, it might be better for the franchise in the long-term. Ottawa doesn’t want to damage those draft lottery chances too much. 5 19-31-5

Philadelphia has won two of its last 10 games, and they have found a variety of ways to lose in that time. When the goaltending is there, the scoring completely dries up. When the goals finally come, the Flyers suddenly can’t keep the puck out of the net. 1 17-28-10

For a fifth-round pick, Yegor Sharangovich seems to be working out pretty well for the Devils. He is two points away from matching last season’s total of 30, and Sharangovich is fourth on the team in expected goals for at five-on-five with 8.59. 1 20-31-5

San Jose lost three straight games last week, and one of them was an 8-0 blowout at the hands of the Predators. The Sharks’ playoff hopes have been all but extinguished now, but the team probably wasn’t going to stay in the race much longer with the goaltending duo of Alex Stalock and Zach Sawchenko anyway. 4 24-25-7

The Kraken were able to snap their losing streak with a win over the Predators, but they still have just one win in their last 10 games. Over the last month, Seattle has had trouble limiting scoring chances against, which doesn’t help an already bad goaltending situation. — 17-36-5

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