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NHL Power Rankings 2023-24: Stars ride 8-game win streak to top spot

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Dallas Stars
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL regular season has just 14 days left, and many stories need an ending. Whether the Boston Bruins capture the Presidents’ Trophy for the second consecutive season or if the Philadelphia Flyers can hold on to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference or Connor McDavid wins the Art Ross for the fourth straight season, there are many intriguing headlines to follow.

Before jumping to April 18, let’s see how the 32 NHL teams stack up against one another in the latest power rankings. The contenders are separating themselves. Meanwhile, the less fortunate teams await the final buzzer to begin their offseason plans.

Related: Top 10 NHL unrestricted free agents likely to join new teams

NHL Power Rankings: Draft Lottery Front Runners

Syndication: The Burlington Free Press
Credit: AL FREY/for the Free Press / USA TODAY NETWORK

According to his Eliteprospects.com profile, Macklin Celebrini is ranked as the No. 1 prospect ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft by 18 scouting experts. As a Hobey Backer nominee, he has led Boston University into the NCAA Frozen Four.

Tankathon.com provides NHL Draft Lottery odds.

San Jose Sharks (25.5%)

Chicago Blackhawks (13.5%)

Anaheim Ducks (11.5%)

Columbus Blue Jackets (9.5%)

Arizona Coyotes (8.5%)

Montreal Canadiens (7.5%)

Ottawa Senators (6.5%)

Calgary Flames (6.0%)

New Jersey Devils (5.0%)

Buffalo Sabres (3.5%)

Seattle Kraken (3.0%)

Related: Hall of Famer says NHL teams ‘baby’ their goalies

NHL Power Rankings: Playoff Longshots

Although the following teams are not mathematically eliminated from the qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs, many dominos have to fall in their favor to punch their postseason tickets.

Moneypuck.com provides NHL playoff odds.

St. Louis Blues – 84 points (3%)

Minnesota Wild – 81 points (4.5%)

Pittsburgh Penguins – 79 points (15.1%)

New York Islanders – 81 points (22.7%)

Detroit Red Wings – 82 points (42.8%)

NHL Power Rankings: Top 16

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs
Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Seven teams have already clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, leaving nine positions to be determined. Moreover, no team has won a division title nor run away in the Presidents’ Trophy race. The final 14 days may produce one of the most exciting endings to an NHL season in recent memory.

The statistics for the last ten games were obtained from NHL.com.

Florida Panthers (2-7-1)

The Florida Panthers couldn’t have picked a worse time to hit a skid, compiling a 2-7-1 record in their past 10 games. As a threat to dethrone the Boston Bruins for the Atlantic Division crown, the Panthers now risk losing home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, holding just a four-point lead over the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs.

Philadelphia Flyers (2-5-3)

If there is one thing Philadelphia Flyers coach John Tortorella is good at, it’s distracting the media and fans from his team’s poor performance. Earlier, the Flyers sat comfortably in third place in the Metropolitan Division, but they are now on a five-game losing streak and risk dropping into a wild-card spot. Meanwhile, Tortorella continues to make headlines with his press conferences. In a surprising move, Ivan Fedotov recently made his NHL debut after coming over from Russia.

Related: Notable NHL Head Coaches Who Have Been Suspended

Winnipeg Jets (4-5-1)

Despite being one of the top teams all season long, the Winnipeg Jets limped through March with an 8-8-1 record, significantly harming their chances of winning the Central Division. Despite retooling their lineup at the trade deadline, with the additions of Sean Monahan and Tyler Toffoli, these big-name skaters have yet to deliver, leaving the Jets in a tougher spot heading into the playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers (5-3-2)

Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers were exposed on Wednesday night, shut out by the Dallas Stars 5-0, dropping their second consecutive game after talk that they were becoming favorites to win the Pacific Division. Although that dream recently took a hit, the Oilers are a lock to make the playoffs, and McDavid is pushing to be the League’s leading scorer yet again. They could be headed to an unenviable first-round clash against the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights.

Toronto Maple Leafs (5-4-1)

Auston Matthews may have reached 60 goals for the second time in his career, but the Maple Leafs are a different team without Mitchell Marner in the lineup. Despite battling injuries to other key players like Morgan Rielly, Toronto is treading water after an 8-5-1 record in March. The Maple Leafs may have a favorable schedule coming up, but they end the campaign against two heavyweights (Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning), which will make things very interesting.

Vancouver Canucks (5-4-1)

The Vancouver Canucks have already secured their berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs and have a seven-point lead in the Pacific Division, a title they haven’t won since 2012-13. Since losing their No. 1 goalie, Thatcher Demko, on March 9, the Canucks are 5-4-1, allowing the Stars to pass them for the top spot in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Kings (6-4-0)

The Los Angeles Kings have had an up-and-down season, breaking records, firing their coach and tumbling to the second wild card in a competitive Western Conference. Although the season is far from over, the Kings remain in the race for a top-three finish in the Pacific Division, keeping their rivals on their toes with timely wins and crucial losses.

Boston Bruins (6-4-0)

The Bruins most significant concern down the stretch is keeping goalies Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman fresh for the playoffs. As the top team in the Atlantic Division, their spot isn’t secured yet, and there’s still much to achieve in the final two weeks. For a team that has defied the odds all season, they should focus on exceeding expectations in the postseason and not get caught up in any trap games.

Nashville Predators (6-3-1)

The Nashville Predators recently went on a franchise-record 18-game point streak, helping them maintain their position as the Western Conference’s top wild-card team. Despite a three-game skid, the Predators only have one more matchup against a playoff-bound team, the Jets, and have a more manageable schedule than other clubs vying for a postseason spot.

Washington Capitals (6-3-1)

A few weeks ago, many thought the Washington Capitals would miss the playoffs and that Alex Ovechkin would never catch Wayne Gretzky’s goal record. However, everything changed in March, when the Capitals were 9-5-1 and vaulted back into the East’s second wild card, and Ovechkin had 10 goals in 16 games.

Colorado Avalanche (7-2-1)

After a nine-game win streak, buoyed by Nathan MacKinnon’s run to the top of the League’s scoring race, the Colorado Avalanche have come back down to earth and have only one win in their past four outings. Unfortunately, things will not get any easier, as five of their last seven games are against playoff-bound teams.

Related: 10 must-watch NHL games in final weeks of 2023-24 season

Vegas Golden Knights (7-2-1)

It may have taken all season, but the reigning Stanley Cup champions are finally gelling and on just their sixth three-game win streak of the season. They maintained a wild-card spot for a while, but good fortune has found them again as they’ve moved to third in the Pacific Division.

New York Rangers (8-2-0)

The New York Rangers are having one of the best seasons in franchise history, in part because of Artemi Panarin’s 45 goals and 110 points. The Breadman, who received some pop culture love when mentioned on the HBO comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm” recently, is the driving force behind the Rangers’ pursuit of the best record in the NHL and hopes of ending a 30-year Stanley Cup drought on Broadway.

Tampa Bay Lightning (8-1-1)

Many people were writing off the Tampa Bay Lightning despite Nikita Kucherov’s pursuit of the Art Ross Trophy at several points during the regular season. After breaking his own franchise record with his 129th point, helped drag the Lightning into a favorable playoff position in the final two weeks.

Carolina Hurricanes (8-1-1)

The Carolina Hurricanes are within five points of the Rangers, with a game in hand, for a chance to repeat as Metropolitan Division champions. Since the trade deadline, when they acquired Jake Guentzel and Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Hurricanes are 10-2-1.

Dallas Stars (8-2-0)

The Stars may have the second-most points (105) in the NHL behind the Rangers (106), but they are the hottest team in the League with eight consecutive victories, a new franchise record. After dismantling the Oilers on Wednesday night, the resilient Stars sent a message to other teams that they are the least talked about Stanley Cup contender and have a balanced lineup capable of being last team standing in June.

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