1. Nashville Predators(38-12-6)- The Predators have rattled off five straight wins and look primed for the Presidents’ Trophy. Shea Weber is playing like a Norris Trophy candidate and Pekka Rinne has been magnificent between the pipes with a 1.60 goals against average over his last five games
2. Louis Blues(37-15-4)- St. Louis’ depth has been key all season long and it continues to show as only 5 players have a negative +/- rating. The Blues are 14-2-1 in their last 17 games and the 7-1 loss to Columbus continues to look more and more like an anomaly.
3. Montreal Canadiens(37-15-4)- Carey Price continues to lead the charge for the Vezina Trophy and Montreal looks like a team no one wants to face in the postseason. A remarkable 2.18 goals against average for the Canadiens puts them at the top of the league in that category.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning(35-18-6)- In an awkward month that has Tampa Bay playing ZERO eastern conference opponents, Steven Stamkos will have to carry the load for a Lightning squad that leads the league with 3.22 goals per game.
5. Anaheim Ducks(35-15-7)- The return of Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen cannot come soon enough as the Ducks have gone 4-5-1 since he was injured aginst Tampa Bay. The President’s Trophy seems to be slipping away from the Ducks as they currently find themselves 5 points behind Nashville.
6. Chicago Blackhawks(35-18-4)- The Blackhawks continue to be the most mysterious team in the NHL as they followed up a loss against Arizona with an impressive win over Pittsburg on Sunday. Chicago captain Patrick Toews always seems to play big in critical situations like these for the Hawks.
7. New York Islanders(37-19-1)- The Islanders continue to miss the services of injured forward Kyle Okposo as they grasp onto a slim two point lead in the Metropolitan Division.
8. Detroit Red Wings(31-14-10)- Detroit has continued to play well and remains a dark horse in a competitive Atlantic Division. However, Mike Babcock’s squad has lost three games in a row and seems to be missing Jimmy Howard more and more each game.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins(32-15-9)- Pittsburg continues to search for answers as the red-hot New York Rangers gain ground in the Metropolitan. Kris Letang has been the unsung hero for a Penguins squad that often revolves around star center Sidney Crosby.
10. New York Rangers(34-16-5)- Arguably the hottest team in the NHL right now and they have been doing it all without All-Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Major credit goes to Cam Talbot as he has played huge in Lundqvist’s absence.
11. Washington Capitals(30-17-10)- The Capitals have been carried by the stellar play of their first line this season as center Nicklas Backstrom finds himself first in the league in assists and third in points. The Capitals have big games in the upcoming week against the Islanders and the Penguins.
12. San Jose Sharks(29-21-8)- San Jose continues to fight for a playoff birth as Joe Pavelski eyes the Rocket Richard Trophy. The 30-year-old center has 31 goals on the year, 16 of them coming on the power play.
13. Calgary Flames(32-22-3)- Calgary continues to defy expectations as Jonas Hiller and the Flames have managed to continue to win games while maintaining the third best goals against average in the NHL.
14. Boston Bruins(28-20-8)- Boston seems to be limping into the playoff push as Claude Julian’s bunch has lost four games in a row. Tuuka Rask has to be huge down the stretch for the Bruins to have a chance in the postseason.
15. Los Angeles Kings(26-18-12)- The defending champion Kings have won four games in a row and continue to eye a wild card spot in the Western Conference. How about Tyler Toffoli? The 22-year-old rookie has compiled 4 goals and 2 assists on the Kings five game winning streak and was rewarded as the NHL’s second start of the week last week.
16. Minnesota Wild(28-21-7)- Devan Dubnyk has catapulted Minnesota into contention as he has posted a 10-3-0 record since being brought over from Arizona in a trade. Will Dubnyk be able sustain his level of play throughout the playoff push?
17. Vancouver Canucks(32-21-3)- Vancouver has continued to win big games as they find themselves in second place of the Pacific Division; however, they have a tough road ahead and will need the Sedin brothers to produce as the Canucks face playoff teams in three of their next four games.
18. Winnipeg Jets(30-19-10)-Winnipeg is clinging onto the final playoff spot in the West and the offense will have to step up in the absence of the recently traded Evander Kane.
19. Dallas Stars(26-22-8)- Kari Lehtonen remains the problem in net for Dallas as the offense currently leads the Western Conference in goals per game.
20. Philadelphia Flyers(24-22-10)- Philadelphia continues to be a head case for their fans as they have put together multiple quality wins this year but cannot seem to win consistently. A win over Buffalo on Sunday should boost the Flyer’s confidence as they prepare for the tail end of the season.
21. Florida Panthers(24-19-12)- Florida is currently on the outside looking of the Eastern conference playoff race, remaining four points behind the struggling Bruins. Regardless, the impressive season for many of the Panthers young players has the future looking bright in Florida.
22. Colorado Avalanche(24-22-11)- Colorado has made last seasons playoff run look like a complete anomaly as the currently find themselves mired in last place of the Central Division. The Avalanche have won two in a row after losing their previous four games and will look to generate some much needed confidence heading into the offseason.
23. New Jersey Devils(21-26-9)- New Jersey continues to look for answers as they have lost four games in a row and are making a bad season even worse. The coaching situation is a mess and it does not help that the Devils cannot seem to put the puck in the net.
24. Ottawa Senators(22-23-10)- The Senators have experienced a similar stumble as New Jersey and have lost five of their last seven games. Ottawa will be sellers at the trade deadline with such a strong nucleus of young talent.
25. Columbus Blue Jackets(24-27-3)- Columbus continues to struggle to win games; however, this team is flooded with talent and players like forwards Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen continue to provide hope for Blue Jacket fans.
26. Carolina Hurricanes(20-28-7)- The late-season return of Jordan Staal has provided a bit of a spark in a Carolina team that has not had much to smile about all season. Andrej Sekera continues to be the center of trade talks this week and his days as a Hurricane may be numbered.
27. Toronto Maple Leafs(23-29-5)- Toronto continues to slump to new lows as the departure of Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to Nashville signify a lost season. How will Toronto respond down the stretch?
28. Arizona Coyotes(20-31-7)- The only question that remains is who will the Coyotes trade and what will they get in return? Arizona has lost four in a row and the season-ending injury to Martin Hanzal doesn’t help.
29. Edmonton Oilers(16-32-10)- Edmonton continues to endure another rough season and looks primed for yet another high draft pick to add to their already impressive core of young players. The 7-2 loss to Ottawa on Saturday hurts.
30. Buffalo Sabres(16-37-3)- Buffalo is only six games removed from a fourteen game win streak and the offseason can’t come soon enough for the Sabres. 21-year-old center Zemgus Girgensons continues to be a lone bright spot this season with 14 goals and 26 points.