Power Rankings: Predators' excellence sets the stage for first division title

Ken Campbell
Power Rankings: Predators' excellence sets the stage for first division title

P.K. Subban and Pekka Rinne Image by: Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


Power Rankings: Predators' excellence sets the stage for first division title

Ken Campbell

The Predators came out flying against the Jets, setting franchise records with two quick goals on one penalty kill, and the win locked Nashville into top spot on the Power Rankings for a third straight week.

Any day you wake up and find yourself at the top of the NHL standings is a good day. Today is one of those for the Nashville Predators. There have been a lot of those lately and probably quite a few more to come.

The Predators not only hit the 100-point mark with their 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night, they all but put a bow on their first-ever regular-season division title. Eight points up on the Jets with a game in hand and 13 left to play? Start getting the banner printed. And while you’re at it, you might want to let the printer know that it’s Presidents’ Trophy and not President’s Trophy.

That the Predators will surpass their franchise record of 106 points is also a foregone conclusion. The only question is, the way they’re playing, when exactly will they lose a game in regulation again? They haven’t done that in almost a month, which is why they also once again find themselves at the top of’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.)

1. Nashville Predators (1)
2. Boston Bruins (2)
3. Vegas Golden Knights (11)
4. Columbus Blue Jackets (8)
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (2)
6. Washington Capitals (12)
7. Colorado Avalanche (10)
8. Pittsburgh Penguins (6)
9. Winnipeg Jets (4)
10. Toronto Maple Leafs (14)

In the Winnipeg game, the Predators scored twice while killing the same penalty for the first time in franchise history. The goals came 32 seconds apart, which is also the franchise record for two fastest goals…The Bruins' most inspiring win of the year came Wednesday night in Raleigh. Playing shorthanded due to injury problems, the Bruins managed to score three goals in 77 seconds and erase a four-goal deficit in the third period to beat the Hurricanes 6-4…Just when it was beginning to look as though their grip on a division title was getting tenuous, the Golden Knights went out and won three straight on the road and lead by 12 points with 13 games to go…Defensemen have scored eight of the past 16 goals for the Blue Jackets. Seth Jones, who became the sixth defenseman in NHL history to score a game-winner in three consecutive games, had four of them…The Lightning can hear the Bruins’ footsteps. The Bruins are four points back with two games in hand and a date with the Lightning on Saturday…No goalie controversy in Washington, but Philipp Grubauer is 10-3-2 with a 1.40 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in his past 20 starts…Nathan MacKinnon – Hart Trophy winner. Get used to hearing that if the Avalanche make the playoffs…Speaking of the Hart Trophy, Evgeni Malkin is making a pretty good case for it with the Penguins this season…About the only good thing to come out of the Jets 3-1 loss to Nashville Tuesday night was that Patrik Laine had an assist to extend his points streak to 13 games…Auston Matthews participated in his first full practice since injuring his shoulder Feb. 22, but won’t play tonight when the Leafs host Dallas.

11. San Jose Sharks (16)
12. Calgary Flames (23)
13. Minnesota Wild (5)
14. St. Louis Blues (30)
15. Florida Panthers (9)
16. New Jersey Devils (13)
17. Los Angeles Kings (18)
18. Dallas Stars (17)
19. Philadelphia Flyers (15)
20. Anaheim Ducks (7)

Evander Kane has six points in six games with the Sharks…F-bombs apparently work on the Calgary Flames. After coach Glen Gulutzen dropped about 20 of them in a practice Monday, the Flames shut Edmonton out 1-0 Tuesday night…Defenseman Jared Spurgeon went down awkwardly and had to leave the Wild’s 5-1 loss to Colorado Tuesday night, but coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game it was not a knee or ankle injury…Seven of the Blues final 13 games are against teams in the playoffs, starting with a huge home game against Colorado tonight…Bad time and bad team for the Panthers to end their eight-game home winning streak. In the thick of a battle for the playoffs, you just can’t lose at home to Ottawa…Michael Grabner has generated some chances, but he’s still looking for his first point after coming up empty in his first seven games in New Jersey after coming over from the Rangers at the trade deadline…Jeff Carter has seven goals in nine games after missing all but the first six games of the season with an ankle injury…With its 4-2 loss to the Canadiens Tuesday night, Dallas is now 3-7-1 in games against teams that played the previous night. Strange…Being a Flyers fan this season is an exercise in frustration. How can a team be so good, then so bad? Lately, it has been bad, losing six of its past seven games…It’s a team game, but the Ducks are going to need contributions from more than their top line of Ryan Getzlaf between Corey Perry and Rickard Rakell if they want to make the playoffs.

21. Arizona Coyotes (21)
22. Ottawa Senators (29)
23. New York Rangers (27)
24. Chicago Blackhawks (19)
25. New York Islanders (28)
26. Edmonton Oilers (20)
27. Montreal Canadiens (24)
28. Buffalo Sabres (22)
29. Carolina Hurricanes (31)
30. Detroit Red Wings (25)
31. Vancouver Canucks (26)

Goalie Adin Hill got his first career NHL win when the Coyotes beat the Kings 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday night…Senators winger Bobby Ryan on his future in Ottawa: “I understand with my contract and the obligations, that I haven’t performed up to a $7-million player.”…The Rangers are 4-2-1 since the trade deadline, which is their best stretch since December…Patrick Kane on the Blackhawks almost certainly missing the playoffs: “I think the biggest thing is just going out there and having fun playing hockey. It’s really not that bad of a situation. You’re playing in the NHL.”…In two starts for the Islanders, goalie Christopher Gibson faced a total of 85 shots and stopped 81 of them…Does Ethan Bear actually have a long-term future as one of Connor McDavid’s wingers in Edmonton? He just might…Alex Galchenyuk and Artturi Lehkonen, who have both had miserable seasons, are beginning to show some late-season chemistry for the Canadiens. So at least there’s a sliver of hope for the future…There’s a chance Jack Eichel could return from his ankle sprain tomorrow night when the Sabres host Toronto…Hard to imagine a more demoralizing loss than the Hurricanes 6-4 defeat at the hands of Boston Tuesday night. They had a 4-1 lead midway through the third in a game they absolutely needed to win. Sheesh, when was the last time you ever saw a team give up a 4-1 lead in the third period to the Bruins? Too soon? Still?...Speaking of slivers of hope, Tyler Bertuzzi has seven assists in his past seven games for the Red Wings…Paging Elias Petterson. The Canucks have four goals in their past 240 minutes of play.

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Power Rankings: Predators' excellence sets the stage for first division title