The NHL regular season is quickly approaching the Christmas holiday. The standings are beginning to take shape as we enter 2018. Which teams are in the top 10 as we enter the holiday season?
Let’s dive into this week’s top 10:
1. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (1)
2. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (4)
3. ST. LOUIS BLUES (3)
4. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (7)
5. LOS ANGELES KINGS (2)
6. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (9)
7. WINNIPEG JETS (6)
8. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (5)
9. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (8)
10. NEW JERSEY DEVILS (10)
THOUGHTS ON THIS WEEK’S TOP 10
-Nashville has cruised up to 2nd in the power rankings. They have won 3 in a row, and are leading one of the most competitive divisions in the NHL right now. They only have 7 regulation losses in 32 games. Why are the Predators so successful? It is because their blueline is very productive. P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, and Mattias Ekholm each have over 20 points in their respective seasons. On top of their productive blueline, their powerplay is clicking at 26.7%, which is ranked 2nd in the NHL. With a deep blueline and a healthy powerplay, the Predators are poised to make another deep run into the postseason.
-The Vegas Golden Knights continue to roll, especially at home where they are 13-2-1. They are in the middle of a 5-game homestand, where they are currently 2-0-1. They defeated a very game Penguins team last Thursday, as goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury got the win against his former team. They will finish out their current homestand this week as they face tough Eastern opponents Tampa Bay and Washington. They are currently in a tough battle with the Los Angeles Kings for the top spot in the Pacific Division.
-Some may think Washington may be ranked too high on this list. However, the Capitals are showing me something this year. Even with plenty of offseason roster turnover and injuries to T.J. Oshie, Andre Burakovsky, and Matt Niskanen throughout the year, the Capitals are still winning games in a very competitive Metropolitan Division. While the Capitals have relied on their goaltenders Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer too much this year, Alex Ovechkin is having a rebound year and Evgeny Kuznetsov may set new career totals. The Capitals are getting key contributions from Tom Wilson, and some of their young players like Jakub Vrana, Christian Djoos, and Madison Bowey. The Capitals are deep in every key position on the ice, which will put them in a good spot as they look for another postseason berth.
-Toronto is sliding a bit in the rankings after being in the top 5 for a little while. The Leafs have been without Auston Matthews since December 9, as he is currently battling another injury. With Matthews’ absence, the offense for the Maple Leafs is drying up. The Maple Leafs have only scored 4 goals in their last 4 games, and 11 goals in their last 7 games. Even after missing 8 games, Auston Matthews is still the leading point producer for the Leafs with 26 points. It is also remarkable that William Nylander has just 5 goals in 34 games this year. The Leafs need to find a scoring boost, but they are still hanging tight in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division.
By: George Foussekis