The latest NHL power rankings of 2018 find the Boston Bruins reaching closer to the top as several other squads are looking less like contenders than before. In this week's edition of the rankings, Boston has now reached the top five, putting them closer to the mighty squads leading the way. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Washington Capitals, and Nashville Predators remain unchanged from last week, but they'll be on notice as the Bruins are moving higher. Here are the latest details on this week's movers and shakers in the NHL power rankings.
As reported by Sporting News' Jim Cerny, the Boston Bruins have continued their upward momentum because of a five-game winning streak ahead of the NHL All-Star break. The team's 10 losses in regulation is the best of any team in the league. It's pointed out that the Bruins suffered their last regulation loss back on December 14 as they are currently second in the Atlantic Divison behind only the team atop the power rankings, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Boston ranks in the top seven in the league for goals per game (3.2) and power play percentage (21.2 percent), while ranking second in goals against (2.4) and fifth in penalty kill percentage (83.3 percent). In addition, three of their players rank within the league's top five for player plus/minus stat. That has the Bruins looking like a tough opponent for teams throughout the remainder of the season and a legitimate contender for when the postseason begs if they can continue this great momentum.
NHL Power Rankings 2018 (Jan. 31)
- Tampa Bay Lightning 34-12-3 (No. 1)
- Vegas Golden Knights 32-12-4 (No. 2)
- Washington Capitals 29-15-5 (No. 3)
- Nashville Predators 29-11-7 (No. 4)
- Boston Bruins 29-10-8 (No. 6)
- Winnipeg Jets 29-13-8 (No. 5)
- St. Louis Blues 30-18-3 (No. 7)
- Toronto Maple Leafs 28-18-5 (No. 9)
- Pittsburgh Penguins 27-21-3 (No. 10)
- San Jose Sharks 26-15-7 (No.8)
Two other teams that don't show in the top 10 but that have continued to drop quite a bit are Eastern Conference squads New York and New Jersey. The Rangers fell from No. 12 to No. 19 in the last week's rankings due to recent injuries to Chris Kreider and Kevin Shattenkirk. The team sits at 25-20-5 and are third to last in the Metropolitan division.Fellow tri-state area team New Jersey is third in the division with a 52-28-21 record and has recently won but they've gone just 2-7-3 over their last 12 games. There's still plenty of time for both the Rangers and Devils to regain composure and put together a solid stretch as they look towards the postseason.
With the NHL season more than halfway over now in 2018 with teams will be looking to improve their rosters with some moves ahead of the trade deadline in February. Some of these moves could make a major impact on the upcoming rankings depending on how well teams do to fix any glaring issues as the playoffs draw closer.