The Tampa Bay Lightning have been the best team in the NHL most of the season and lead the league in points. Are the Bolts No. 1 in this week's power rankings? Read on ...
On Thursday, we looked at how referees should influence which team we bet on, so today let’s get an update on my power rankings and how you should use them to wager on the NHL moving forward. Keep in mind that when compiling my rankings, I must factor an overtime loss as a regular defeat because the books don’t refund money because a team lost in the extra session. I’ll list a team’s record and then their power ranking record along with their goal differential.
At No. 10 are the Los Angeles Kings (29-19-5, 29-24, +23). This is a team that must win low-scoring games to move deep into the postseason unless the Kings make a deal before the deadline.
The Nashville Predators (32-12-9, 32-21, +29) are No. 9. Their top two lines are explosive, and they are starting get contributions from their bottom six.
At No. 8 are the Toronto Maple Leafs (32-19-5, 32-24, +22), who have a small edge on Nashville because of their offensive depth.
The No. 7 team is the Dallas Stars (32-19-4, 32-23, +28). We can finally talk about how good Dallas is defensively, allowing just 29.8 shots per game (3rd).
At No. 6 are Winnipeg Jets (32-13-9, 32-22, +33). I still don’t think people know how good the Patrik Laine-Blake Wheeler-Mark Scheifele line is. Scheifele just returned from a long injury absence.
Coming in No. 5 are the Boston Bruins (33-11-8, 33-19, +48). The B’s are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender with contributions from all four lines, defensemen and a Vezina-worthy Tuukka Rask in net.
No. 4 are the Tampa Bay Lightning (37-14-3, 37-17, +52). Tampa is on a collision course with the Presidents' Trophy but is lower in my rankings because the Bolts can’t solve Vegas (which swept season series) and aren't good at killing off penalties, something they will need to be better at in the postseason.
The top three starts with the Vegas Golden Knights (36-14-4, 36-18, +38), who are a relentless team offensively with intangibles that no advanced metric can measure.
At No. 2 are the St. Louis Blues (33-20-3, 33-23, +17). They match up well with Vegas thanks to a stellar goaltender in Carter Hutton that they can lean on. He's leading the league in GAA and save percentage.
Finally, the No. 1 team in my power ranking is the Pittsburgh Penguins (30-22-3, 30-25, +2). Mike Sullivan’s club is heating up as it has won 7 of 10, including quality victories over Los Angeles, Vegas and San Jose. Perhaps a threepeat isn't out of the question.
Friday, February 9, 2018 11:21 AM CST