NHL Power Rankings: Lightning still in league of their own
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Welcome to the eighth edition of theScore's 2018-19 NHL Power Rankings, which will be published every two weeks during the regular season. This list was compiled by editors Craig Hagerman, Josh-Gold-Smith, and Josh Wegman.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (32-8-2)

In falling to the Sharks on Saturday night, the Lightning suffered their first regulation loss since Nov. 27. That says everything you need to know about how incredibly hot they've been, as Tampa now sits with a 10-point cushion in first place. Unreal. - Hagerman

Previously: 1st

2. Calgary Flames (26-13-4) ▲

Johnny Gaudreau's put up 14 points in six games since the previous edition of these rankings, which is just nutty. Meanwhile, three other Flames already have at least 19 goals. This team is rolling. - Hagerman

Previously: 5th

3. Vegas Golden Knights (26-15-4) ▲

The Golden Knights have reeled off six straight wins and are quietly contending for the top spot in the Western Conference. Paul Stastny's fitting in nicely, and with Max Pacioretty back and Colin Miller nearing a return, the club could soon be at full strength. - Hagerman

Previously: 11th

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (23-13-6) ▲

The Penguins have been showing off their Cup-winning pedigree amid an 8-2-0 run, while goalie Matt Murray owns a stellar 7-0-0 record with a 1.27 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage since mid-December. - Hagerman

Previously: 12th

5. Toronto Maple Leafs (27-12-2) ▼

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The Maple Leafs have been fairly steady in Frederik Andersen's injury absence. Of course, having John Tavares, Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews all producing at a heavy clip allows for some breathing room. - Hagerman

Previously: 2nd

6. Boston Bruins (24-14-4)

Patrice Bergeron's return has given the Bruins a shot in the arm, while Charlie McAvoy is on his way back. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask is making a strong case for more starts between the pipes. - Hagerman

Previously: 6th

7. San Jose Sharks (23-13-7) ▲

The Sharks are the only team to beat the Lightning in regulation in more than a month. But while the offense has been hot, San Jose could use a few more saves from Martin Jones. - Hagerman

Previously: 9th

8. Nashville Predators (25-15-3) ▼

Viktor Arvidsson's looked great since missing a month and a half with a broken thumb. And despite a slew of injuries, the Predators remain firmly in the hunt for top spot in the West. - Hagerman

Previously: 7th

9. New York Islanders (23-13-4) ▲

No Tavares, no problem.

The Islanders have won six straight, highlighted by a 4-0 thumping of the Maple Leafs and Tavares. The scoring is down from last season, but the defense has completely turned it around, having allowed the second-fewest goals per game after giving up the most in 2017-18. You can thank Barry Trotz for that. - Hagerman

Previously: 18th

10. Columbus Blue Jackets (24-14-3) ▼

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The Blue Jackets sit within three points of top spot in the Metropolitan Division thanks to a run of seven wins in nine games. They just need Sergei Bobrovsky to retain his Vezina Trophy form. - Hagerman

Previously: 8th

11. Winnipeg Jets (26-13-2) ▼

The Jets earned a big win over the Stars on Sunday despite missing Dustin Byfuglien, but they'd been slipping a bit before that. Winnipeg dropped a pair of home contests coming out of the holidays and only narrowly defeated the plummeting Oilers to end 2018. - Gold-Smith

Previously: 3rd

12. Washington Capitals (25-12-4)▼

Washington beat the Red Wings on Sunday, snapping a three-game losing skid that included a 5-2 defeat to the lowly St. Louis Blues. Small sample size aside, the Capitals have averaged only 2.4 goals over their last five games, down from their usual output of nearly 3.5 per contest this season. - Gold-Smith

Previously: 4th

13. Dallas Stars (22-17-4) ▲

It's been an interesting couple of weeks in Dallas, to say the least. The Stars have shown signs of life since CEO Jim Lites' rant, going 3-0-1 before losing badly on Sunday. The comments also seemed to light a fire under Tyler Seguin, who posted back-to-back two-goal efforts. - Gold-Smith

Previously: 17th

14. Montreal Canadiens (22-15-5) ▼

The Canadiens have earned wins over the Canucks, Stars, and Panthers since our last edition, but losses to the Lightning and Predators served as reminders that they still have plenty of room to grow. That said, Montreal has greatly exceeded expectations this season. - Gold-Smith

Previously: 10th

15. Colorado Avalanche (20-14-8) ▼

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Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar briefly broke up the NHL's best line in an effort to shake things up amid a losing skid. However, he ultimately reunited the dynamic trio of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen, and the move paid off as Colorado humbled the Rangers on Friday. - Gold-Smith

Previously: 14th

16. Buffalo Sabres (22-14-6) ▼

Reality and regression are starting to set in for the Sabres, who've lost four of five since the break. There are still plenty of reasons for optimism, but this club is barely clinging to the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot after looking dominant at times in the season's first half. - Gold-Smith

Previously: 13th

17. Minnesota Wild (20-17-3) ▲

Let's take a moment to appreciate what Zach Parise has done - both recently and over the whole first half of the season - after dealing with back and sternum injuries the last couple of years. The veteran forward leads the Wild with 19 goals, is tied for the team lead with 38 points, and has four goals and five assists across his last five games. - Gold-Smith

Previously: 21st

18. Vancouver Canucks (20-21-4) ▲

The Canucks and their fans let out a collective sigh of relief when Elias Pettersson's knee injury turned out to be just a slight MCL sprain. Vancouver's obviously a much different team without Pettersson, but considering he may only miss a week or two, the Canucks will likely resume their unexpected playoff push when the indisputable Calder Trophy favorite returns. - Gold-Smith

Previously: 22nd

19. Carolina Hurricanes (19-17-5) ▲

The inconsistent Hurricanes have reeled off four straight wins after losing four of five. They haven't scored enough this season - ranking near the NHL's basement in goals per game - but the 'Canes have lit the lamp 14 times in their last three contests. - Gold-Smith

Previously: 24th

20. Florida Panthers (17-16-7)

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It's been a mixed bag for the Panthers since the holiday hiatus. They won two of three coming out of the break, but then lost a pair of 4-3 games to the Sabres and Blue Jackets. Florida has plenty of work to do if it wants to contend for a playoff spot. - Gold-Smith

21. New York Rangers (17-17-7) ▼

The Rangers have probably exceeded expectations in their first full rebuilding season, but the promising development of their young players could result in a lesser draft pick. - Wegman

Previously: 19th

22. Los Angeles Kings (17-23-3) ▲

It's probably too little too late, but the Kings have gone 6-3-1 across their last 10 games, including upset wins over the powerhouse Jets, Sharks, Golden Knights, and Avalanche. That form will have to continue if L.A. hopes to play meaningful games down the stretch. - Wegman

Previously: 31st

23. Anaheim Ducks (19-17-7) ▼

The Ducks are simply too reliant on goaltender John Gibson to inspire any sort of confidence. He's winlesss in his last seven games despite posting a .905 save percentage, which is nearly league average. - Wegman

Previously: 15th

24. New Jersey Devils (16-18-7) ▲

Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri have served as offensive catalysts all season, but they need some help. Last season's playoff berth will go down as a one-off until the Devils add some quality depth up front. On the bright side, top goalie prospect MacKenzie Blackwood has been lights out since his recall. He's the 'tender of the future in New Jersey. - Wegman

Previously: 30th

25. Edmonton Oilers (20-19-3) ▼

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After they appeared to right the ship under Ken Hitchcock - going 9-2-2 in his first 13 games - the Oilers reverted back their old selves, picking up just four points in their last nine contests. Peter Chiarelli - not Hitchcock - is the prime culprit for this mess, but the club's inconsistency is astounding. - Wegman

Previously: 16th

26. Detroit Red Wings (16-21-7) ▼

At this point, the Red Wings are simply waiting for their bad contracts to expire so they can begin adding key pieces and take the next step in their rebuild. Detroit might contend in a few years, but for now, the Atlantic Division is much too competitive. - Wegman

Previously: 25th

27. Chicago Blackhawks (16-21-7) ▲

An upset win over the surging Penguins isn't going to save a lost season, but the Blackhawks may have found something in Dylan Strome. The former third overall pick has seven goals and seven assists in 20 games since being traded to the Windy City. - Wegman

Previously: 29th

28. St. Louis Blues (16-19-4) ▼

After a busy offseason and big expectations, things have gone completely sideways in St. Loius. Easily the most disappointing team in the league, the Blues are bound to be deadline sellers. - Wegman

Previously: 26th

29. Arizona Coyotes (18-21-3) ▼

Many wondered if the Coyotes would finally take a step in the right direction this season, but it clearly hasn't happened - and it won't until general manager John Chayka adds some offensive punch to support Clayton Keller. - Wegman

Previously: 27th

30. Philadelphia Flyers (15-20-6) ▼

Carter Hart hasn't looked out of place at the NHL level, which is a positive considering he's just 20 years old. A rookie goaltender won't solve the Flyers' immediate issues, but at least there's a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel in Philadelphia's crease. - Wegman

Previously: 28th

31. Ottawa Senators (15-23-5) ▼

Amid a season with the odds already stacked against them, injuries haven't helped the Senators, as Matt Duchene just returned from a prolonged absence and Thomas Chabot is currently on the shelf. Ottawa will need a clean bill of health to climb out of the basement. The Avalanche - who own the Sens' first-round draft pick - are hoping they won't. - Wegman

Previously: 23rd

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NHL Power Rankings: Lightning still in league of their own
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