The latest NHL power rankings of 2018 come just ahead of the league’s annual All-Star Game, and fittingly, the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins are among the teams on the rise. In particular, All-Star Sidney Crosby has been leading the way like fans know he’s capable of, and the team has now vaulted into the top 10 list. That has Pittsburgh looking like a contender once again, or at least like they’re working towards defending that Stanley Cup Championship. The Penguins have now joined the NHL top teams in the top 10, rising up six spots to get there.
In addition to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sporting News reports that the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators have also jumped up a bit among the top 10 teams. San Jose has won three games in a row and is sitting in second place for the Pacific Division behind the Vegas Golden Knights. The Predators have also won three straight and are in second place for the Central Division. Due to their positions in the standings and their recent winning streaks, San Jose has moved from No. 13 up to No. 8, while Nashville has moved from No. 6 to No. 4.
That has the Predators just behind the three teams that stayed in their spots from last week: the Lightning, Golden Knights, and Capitals. Those seem to be the measuring stick as of this point in the season for other teams to compete with.
NHL Power Rankings (1/17/18)
- Tampa Bay Lightning 31-10-3 (No. 1)
- Vegas Golden Knights 29-11-3 (No. 2)
- Washington Capitals 28-14-3 (No. 3)
- Nashville Predators 26-11-6 (No. 6)
- Winnipeg Jets 26-13-7 (No. 5)
- Boston Bruins 24-10-8 (No. 8)
- St. Louis Blues 27-17-3 (No. 9)
- San Jose Sharks 24-13-6 (No. 13)
- Toronto Maple Leafs 25-17-4 (No. 10)
- Pittsburgh Penguins 24-19-3 (No. 16)
There are a few teams not listed in the top 10 worth mentioning due to their own surges or collapses lately. The Calgary Flames had been ranked at No. 22 a week ago, but since then, they have put together a seven-game winning streak to move to 19-16-4 for their record. That has them up to No. 13 in the rankings and trying to get to the top 10 with more wins.
The L.A. Kings are a team that looks to be plummeting in the NHL standings and power rankings, though. Los Angeles was at No. 4 in the rankings last week but has now lost four straight games, dropping them to No. 16 in the listing. Los Angeles will need to find their winning ways for the second half of the season or risk missing out on an NHL postseason trip.
The NHL is heading toward the 2018 All-Star Game, giving players a chance to get ready for the next half of the regular season. With Tampa Bay, Vegas, and Washington holding their spots at the top, teams will need to up their level of play to try to knock them off those perches.