NHL top ten teams entering week 21
With one week to go before the trade deadline, teams are already figuring in who they want to acquire and who they want to trade. There are many teams right now that are hitting their stride and some that are just slumping. Here are this week's top 10 NHL teams:
10. New Jersey Devils: New Jersey picked up a huge 4-3 win on the road on Saturday Night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Devils defeated the Carolina Hurricanes on the road on Sunday 3-2 in overtime. Taylor Hall has recorded a point in 18 straight games and he has scored 24 goals and recorded 38 assists so far this season. Hall is a possible Hart Trophy Candidate right now. Eddie Lack stopped 48 shots on Saturday for New Jersey. Keith Kinkaid stopped 40 shots on Sunday for New Jersey. The Devils record so far this season is 31-20-8 with 70 points. Last week's ranking: not ranked.
9. Washington Capitals: Washington is on high alert right now when it comes to the NHL standings. They momentarily slipped into second place in the Metropolitan Division at the moment. With the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins playing well right now, the Capitals need to find ways to win. Washington has one game in hand on New Jersey and Philadelphia, but they have three games in hand on Pittsburgh. The Capitals record so far this season is 33-18-7 with 73 points. Last week's ranking: 9.
8. Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers erupted for seven goals on Sunday Afternoon against the New York Rangers. Philadelphia is playing really well right now. Michal Neuvirth left Sunday's game with a lower-body injury. Alex Lyon came in relief and made 25 saves. With Brian Elliott already sidelined, how will the Flyers goaltending situation get? The first line of Travis Konecny-Sean Couturier-Claude Giroux continues to give headaches for opponents. Philadelphia's record so far this season is 30-19-10 with 70 points. Last week's ranking: 10.
7. Nashville Predators: The Predators are in the middle of a mini dry spell with losing their last two games. Nashville continues to use their defense and turn in into offense. They have scored 177 goals and given up 150 goals so far this season. Nashville's record so far this season is 34-19-9 with 77 points. Last week's ranking: 3.
6. Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto's offense continues to be electric and they have scored 204 goals so far this season, which is the second most in the NHL. The Maple Leafs have four lines that can score at any moment, including their defense. Auston Matthews scored the game-winning goal with :30 seconds remaining for the Maple Leafs on Sunday in a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings. Matthews now has 27 goals and 22 assists this season. Curtis McElhinney made 27 saves for the Maple Leafs on Sunday. Toronto's record so far this season is 36-20-5 with 77 points. Last week's ranking: 7.
5. Boston Bruins: The Bruins might be the dangerous silent team in the NHL. No one talks about them and that is how they just like it. Everyone talks about the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Winnipeg Jets, but not enough respect is given to the Boston Bruins. They have the second-best goal differential in the NHL (186 goals scored and 139 goals given up). Bruce Cassidy is a terrific head coach for the Bruins and he has them playing at a high level every night. Boston's record so far this season is 35-13-8 with 78 points. Last week's ranking: 2.
4. Winnipeg Jets: Winnipeg's goal differential of 39 (196 goals scored and 157 goals given up), is one of the best in the NHL. They are a dangerous team to play against because of the speed and physically they possess. Winnipeg is currently on a three-game winning streak and they have scored 17 goals in their last three games. The Jets won 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday Night against the Washington Capitals, 6-1 on Friday against the Colorado Avalanche, and 7-2 against the Florida Panthers on Sunday. Winnipeg's record so far this season is 35-15-9 with 79 points. Last week's ranking: 4.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins: The Pittsburgh Penguins won four games this past week and they have won five in a row. Pittsburgh defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3 on Tuesday Night, the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Thursday Night, the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on Saturday Night, and the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road on Sunday Night 5-2. They are starting to find a groove and it seems like no one wants to play them right now. Evgeni Malkin is on a mission and he could be making a serious case for the Hart Trophy. He has scored 33 goals and recorded 37 assists so far this season. Malkin is seven points behind Nikita Kucherov for the most in the NHL. Pittsburgh has scored 195 goals and given up 180 goals so far this season. Matt Murray has been sensational between the pipes as of late. Zach Aston-Reese has scored four goals in his past four games and he is becoming a reliable player for the Penguins. Mike Sullivan is becoming the alpha male in the room once again for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh's record so far this season is 35-22-4 with 74 points. Last week's ranking: 5.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa Bay suffered a surprising 4-3 loss on Saturday Night at home against the New Jersey Devils. Is Tampa Bay starting to crack a little bit? I know all teams can't be perfect, but it seems like the rest of the league is catching up to them. What's scary for the Lightning is that Toronto is only four points back of them and Boston is only three points back of them. Pittsburgh is starting to get hot as well and they are the defending back-to-back champions. Andrei Vasilevskiy has cooled off recently. He has given up at least four goals in his past two out of three starts (at Toronto on Monday Night and vs New Jersey on Saturday Night). The Lightning still have the best goal differential in the NHL at 52 (211 goals scored/159 goals given up). Tampa Bay's record so far this season is 39-17-3 with 81 points. Last week's ranking: 1.
1.Vegas Golden Knights: It doesn't matter what player scores for the Vegas Golden Knights, they are always finding a way to get the job done. Vegas has the third best goal differential in the NHL at 44 (202 goals scored/158 goals given up). The Golden Knights have won three consecutive games. Vegas has scored 15 goals during their three-game winning streak. They defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Tuesday Night, the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 on Thursday Night, and the Montreal Canadiens 6-3 on Saturday Night. Vegas continues to be the best expansion team in NHL History. Vegas's record so far this season is 39-15-4 with 82 points. Last week's ranking: 6.