NHL Power Rankings: Knights Clinch Playoffs

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NHL Power Rankings

1. Las Vegas Golden Knights

Fans know the postseason is near when teams are close to clinching playoff births. The Las Vegas Golden Knights were the first to guarantee their spot. They have been dominant. The Knights won eight straight and nine of their last ten. Vegas is a strong contender for a championship this season and definitely in the running for the President’s Trophy.

2. Colorado Avalanche

The Avs have been on a surge. Like the Knights, they won four straight and nine of their last ten. The Golden Knights and Avs are similar in performance. They are two of the most dominant teams who have exceptional two-way games. Many fans would love to see these two teams battle in the playoffs. Nathan MacKinnon has been key in their success. He has 53 points in 39 games.

3. Carolina Hurricanes

Caroline sits atop the Central with the most games in hand. They have an elite defense and a good offense. This is a great formula for winning. The once concern this season is goaltending. Honestly, the media and fans exaggerate how bad the situation is because Petr Mrazek is now healthy. He is a reliable option. Additionally, Alex Nedeljkovic has been better than expected when Mrazek was injured. The Canes are in an extremely good spot.

4. New York Islanders

The Isles are in good shape in the East. They faced the Capitals on Thursday night where first place was up for grabs. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac seem to be settling in on their new team. It is also noteworthy that Barry Trotz is one of the best coaches in the league and may surprise a countless number of fans come playoff time. When they play their style of hockey, it pays dividends.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning

Although the Bolts have been average in their last ten, they are still one of the biggest threats come playoff time. It seems like they have a handful of stars to shine every night. They are in the mix for the Central division title and no matter what, they seem to have a playoff spot on lock. The first seed in the Central has an extreme advantage because whoever it happens to be will go up against a significantly weaker four-seed.

6. Florida Panthers

Similarly, the Panthers find themselves in a great spot. They have responded extremely well after a disappointing defeat to the Isles in the play-in last year. This is their year to make it to the second round and beyond. Fans of the Panthers have been deprived of a second-round appearance for twenty-five years. The Panthers need to perform this year.

7. Washington Capitals

The Caps acquired Anthony Mantha and it seemed like an odd deal. This is because they dealt Jakub Vrana who is near or at the level of talent of Mantha. Plus, they shipped off additional pieces. However, the intangibles that fail to show in statistics have benefitted Washington. Mantha has a goal per game pace and seems to fit in exceptionally. So, their scouting seems to have made a better trade than most expected.

8. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs were one of the most active teams at the deadline. However, the moves they made have not been as impactful as some initially thought. Goaltending is still a major concern in Toronto. If Jack Campbell is injured, there is no other option for goaltending that fans could have confidence in. Still, their big-name players such as Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner have performed so well Toronto has been able to hold onto first in the North.

9. Minnesota Wild

Minnesota seems to be a very streaky team. Right now, they are hot. They are 7-2-1 in their last ten and have won five straight. The Wild could be a dark horse team come playoff time. However, the task at hand is not pretty as they will most likely face the Avalanche and/or Golden Knights in the first and possibly second-round. Going up against two cup-contenders is a nightmare for any team.

10. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pens are in the mix for winning the East Division. They trail the Capitals and Islanders by one point. They also added Jeff Carter at the deadline to bolster their roster. Carter has been okay in his first four with a goal and an assist. Their first forward line has been dominant. Both Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel are over a point per game pace.

Note: All stats were recorded before Thursday night games
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