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Top 10 NHL Teams Entering Week 24

Glenn Kaplan
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
273   //    13 Mar 2018, 02:57 IST

Washington Capitals v San Jose Sharks
Washington Capitals v San Jose Sharks

On Sunday, it officially marked one month to go before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. The trade deadline is way behind us and it has helped some teams and it has hurt some teams. Every game from here on out is important for teams trying to make it to the playoffs and for seeding purposes as well. Here are this week's top 10 NHL teams.

10. Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets might be rounding back into form and they are currently on a 4-game winning streak. This isn't good news for some teams in the eastern conference because Columbus has the talent to make a playoff run. They are playing better defensively and Columbus has scored 16 goals during their winning streak.

Sergei Bobrovsky has played well, but so has backup Joonas Korpisalo. Korpisalo made 37 saves in Tuesday's 4-1 win against the Vegas Golden Knights and 23 saves in Thursday's 5-4 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche.

Korpisalo's record so far this season is 7-7 with a .902 save percentage and a 3.19 GAA. Artemi Panarin is sizzling in every way right now for Columbus. He has scored 21 goals and recorded 39 assists so far this season. Columbus's record so far this season is 36-28-5 with 77 points.

Last week's ranking: not ranked.

9. Washington Capitals: The Capitals are playing inconsistent hockey right now. It'd interesting that Philipp Grubauer posted a 24-save shutout in Saturday's 2-0 win on the road against the San Jose Sharks. Braden Holtby has yet to record a shutout this season. Washington has three divisional games this week, two games against the New York Islanders and, one against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Capitals record so far this season 38-23-7 with 83 points.

Last week's ranking: 6.

8. Minnesota Wild: The way the Minnesota Wild have turned around in 2018 has been incredible. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Wild have a respectable goal differential at 18 (216 goals scored/198 goals given up). Minnesota's record so far this season is 39-23-7 with 85 points.

Last week's ranking: 8.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs: Even though Toronto dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Saturday night, the Maple Leafs suffered a bad 5-3 loss last Monday night on the road against the Buffalo Sabres. Auston Matthews has not yet returned to the Maple Leafs and, Tomas Plekanec has played well ever since coming over from the Montreal.

There are questions whether or not goaltender Frederik Andersen is tired. He has started 57 games this season which is a lot. They really don't have a good backup and that is why Andersen has started so many games. Toronto's record so far this season is 40-22-7 with 87 points.

Last week's ranking: 7.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins: Despite a 5-2 loss on Saturday night on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a very good week. Pittsburgh won 4-3 in overtime last Monday night against the Calgary Flames, a 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night on the road, and Sunday night's 3-1 win against the Dallas Stars.

Evgeni Malkin might be the hottest player on the planet right now. He has scored 39 goals and recorded 48 assists so far this season and Malkin is one point behind Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov for the most in the NHL. Jamie Olesiak scored two goals this week (one against Philadelphia and one against his former team Dallas) and he has improved the Penguins defense ever since he came over via trade from the Dallas Stars. Pittsburgh's record so far this season is 40-26-4 with 84 points.

Last week's ranking: 9.

5. Vegas Golden Knights: The Vegas Golden Knights, have won their last two games and it is important for them to get momentum heading into the playoffs. Because, they are an expansion team, they don't want to be slumping and exposed. Vegas is still a tough team to play against.

Marc-Andre Fleury has stopped his last 59 out of 60 shots. The Golden Knights won 4-0 on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings on the road and 2-1 on Saturday night on the road against the Buffalo Sabres.

Fleury's record so far this season is 24-9-3 with a .930 save percentage and a 2.30 GAA, along with three shutouts. Vegas has a goal differential of 47 (232 goals scored/185 goals given up) which is one of the best in the NHL. Their record so far this season is 44-19-5 with 93 points.

Last week's ranking: 5.

4. Winnipeg Jets: The Winnipeg Jets will be really tested this week when they have back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday night on the road against the Washington Capitals and, the Nashville Predators. Winnipeg is also home, against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night and the Dallas Stars on Sunday night.

If Winnipeg is as good as they are, the Jets will take care of business. Blake Wheeler leads the Jets with 76 points (18 goals and 58 assists). Patrik Laine has scored 40 goals and 27 of them have been on the power play. He also has 23 assists.

Connor Hellebuyck continues his Vezina kind of season. He made 41 saves in Thursday's 3-2 win on the road against the New Jersey Devils. Hellebuyck made 33 saves in Saturday afternoon's 2-1 loss on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers.

His record so far this season is 35-11-8 with a .923 save percentage and a 2.38 GAA, along with six shutouts. The Jets have a goal differential of 48 (227 goals scored/189 goals given up), which is one of the best in the NHL. Winnipeg's record so far this season is 41-18-9 with 91 points.

Last week's ranking: 4.

3. Boston Bruins: Rick Nash continues to elevate his game with the Boston Bruins. They have the second-best goal differential in the NHL at 54 (226 goals scored/172 goals given up). The Bruins scored four power-play goals in Saturday's 7-4 win at home against the Chicago Blackhawks, but they lost 3-1 on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon.

Boston didn't have Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Charlie MacAvoy in Sunday's game due to injury. The Bruins have great balance and they are well coached by Bruce Cassidy. Boston also has tremendous depth. The Bruins record so far this season is 43-16-8 with 94 points.

Last week's ranking: 3.

2. Nashville Predators: Nashville's nine-game winning streak was snapped at home in Saturday night's 3-2 loss in a shootout against the New Jersey Devils. However, the Predators are on a mission right now.

Pekka Rinne might be the most underappreciated goalie in the NHL. He continues to be steady and amazing between the pipes for the Predators and he might be the forgotten man in talks for the Vezina Trophy. Rinne's record so far this season 37-9-4 with a .928 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA, along with seven shutouts. Nashville's blueline is the best in the NHL with 172 points. The Predators have a goal differential of 49 (222 goals scored/173 goals given up). Nashville's record so far this season is 44-14-10 with 98 points.

Last week's ranking: 2.

1.Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa Bay is the best team in the NHL, but they need to find a consistent groove heading into the postseason. They are doing just that by winning five games in a row and having a 9-0-1 record in their last 10. Backup goaltender Louis Domingue has made 27 saves in Saturday night's 3-2 shootout win against the Montreal Canadiens. He hasn't been too great as Andrei Vasilevskiy's backup.

Domingue's record so far this season is 5-8 with a .884 save percentage and a 3.66 GAA. Nikita Kucherov has scored 34 goals and, recorded 54 assists so far this season. He is only one point up on Evgeni Malkin for the scoring title. Tampa Bay still has the best goal differential in the NHL at 62 (253 goals scored/191 goals given up). The Lightning's record so far this season is 48-17-4 with 100 points.

Last week's ranking: 1.

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Glenn Kaplan
ANALYST
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