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Power Rankings: Lightning strike in California

Ken Campbell
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Power Rankings: Lightning strike in California

Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde and Victor Hedman Image by: Harry How/Getty Images

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Power Rankings: Lightning strike in California

Ken Campbell
By:

The Tampa Bay Lightning rolled into California and rattled off three straight wins, and the best team in the NHL is only looking better as the season rolls on.

A road trip through California isn’t the same hell-on-earth it has been in recent years, but it still represents a measure of how good your team is. So it’s only fitting that the best team in the NHL is also the first to go a perfect 3-0-0 in Cali this season.

But the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t just win there. They were a force, outscoring the Kings, Sharks and Ducks by a combined score of 12-4. For that and many other reasons, the Lightning find themselves at the top of this week’s thn.com Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.):

THE CREAM OF THE CROP

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (6)
2. New York Rangers (5)
3. Nashville Predators (3)
4. Toronto Maple Leafs (16)
5. Minnesota Wild (29)
6. San Jose Sharks (2)
7. Calgary Flames (20)
8. Ottawa Senators (12)
9. New Jersey Devils (15)
10. Winnipeg Jets (8)

The Lightning rolled though California, going 3-0-0 and outscoring their opponents 12-4...Jimmy Vesey of the Rangers got a skate in the face – a skate in the face! – on the weekend and had two teeth lodged in his bottom lip, but won’t miss any time…Five straight wins is impressive, even more impressive four came over heavy-hitting Kings, Blue Jackets, Penguins and Capitals…No need for the Leafs to rush Auston Matthews back into the lineup, since they’re 3-0-0 without him…Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk hasn’t given up a goal in a span of 196 minutes and 20 seconds…Joe Thornton and might not be available tomorrow night when the Sharks host Florida…Winners of five of their past six, the Flames have scored 17 (non-shootout) goals in their three most recent victories…Mark Stone, who has eight goals in his past eight games, has been the Sens’ best player this season…Travis Zajac will be reunited with Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri when he makes his 2017-18 debut tomorrow night for the Devils in Toronto…With back-to-back wins over lowly Coyotes, Jets have points in 10 of their past 11 games.

THE MUSHY MIDDLE

11. St. Louis Blues (1)
12. Columbus Blue Jackets (18)
13. New York Islanders (11)
14. Pittsburgh Penguins (9)
15. Washington Capitals (17)
16. Carolina Hurricanes (27)
17. Montreal Canadiens (7)
18. Dallas Stars (26)
19. Edmonton Oilers (25)
20. Los Angeles Kings (4)

Blues coach Mike Yeo after his team lost 7-4 to Calgary Monday night, it’s second leaky loss in three nights. “Yeah, we were no good.”…When Zach Werenski scored in overtime against Montreal Tuesday night, it marked the first time in four games that the Kings scored more than one goal in regulation and overtime…One night after saying, “Some heart would be nice to see,” after his team lost 5-0 to Dallas Saturday, Islanders coach Doug Weight got a positive response in a 5-2 win over St. Louis…Sidney Crosby shook off an 11-game goal scoring drought, the second longest of his career, in Pittsburgh’s 5-4 overtime win over Buffalo Tuesday night…Matt Niskanen was back in the Capitals for the first time in a month, but the Capitals were defensively dreadful in a 6-3 loss to Nashville Tuesday night…The same night Teuvo Teravainen had a natural hat trick in a 5-1 win over Dallas Monday night, Sebastien Aho scored his first goal of the season. Those two Finns need to get going if the Hurricanes are going to make a run for the playoffs…With Artturi Lehkonen and Torrey Mitchell unavailable Tuesday night, defenseman Victor Mete played on the fourth line with Jacob De La Rose and Byron Froese in Montreal’s 2-1 overtime loss to Columbus…The Stars, winners of just three of 11 on the road this season, visit the NHL-leading Lightning Thursday night…The Oilers scored eight goals in a game for the first time in almost four years when they drubbed Vegas 8-2 on home ice Tuesday night… Defenseman Drew Doughty played a career high 35:31 in an overtime win over Anaheim last week and is third in the league at 27 minutes per game. “It’s not ideal,” Kings coach John Stevens said.

VYING FOR THE PARTICIPATION BADGE

21. Anaheim Ducks (22)
22. Detroit Red Wings (10)
23. Boston Bruins (14)
24. Colorado Avalanche (23)
25. Florida Panthers (30)
26. Vancouver Canucks (13)
27. Chicago Blackhawks (24)
28. Vegas Golden Knights (19)
29. Philadelphia Flyers (21)
30. Buffalo Sabres (28)
31. Arizona Coyotes (31)

Nick Ritchie has just one goal in 14 games this season and has a shooting percentage of just 4.3. The injury-riddled Ducks need much more from him…After scoring four goals and nine goals in his first eight games, Henrik Zetterberg has just two assists in his past 10 games…With a four-game road trip beginning tonight in Anaheim, the Bruins are looking for their first road victory in more than a month…Alex Kerfoot, who is now the replacement for Matt Duchene as the Avs’ second-line center, sits tied for second among rookies in goals with seven…After missing six games with a hand injury, Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo has faced 40-plus shots in three of his past four starts. He’s 2-1-1 in those games… Henrik and Daniel Sedin are on pace for a combined 68 points this season. Henrik has exceeded that point total on his own a total of eight times in his career while Daniel has done it seven…Ryan Hartman was a healthy scratch for the Blackhawks, who dressed seven defensemen, in their 7-5 loss to New Jersey Sunday…With losses in six of their last eight games, are the Golden Knights finally coming down to Earth?...Coming off back-to-back shutouts at the hands of the Wild, the Flyers have nine goals in six games in November…Of the 44 goals the Sabres have in 18 games this season, exactly zero have come from their defensemen…Twenty games, not one single win in regulation time for the Coyotes.

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Power Rankings: Lightning strike in California