Power Rankings: The Golden Knights' excellent expansion adventure continues

Ken Campbell
Power Rankings: VGK atop

Vegas Golden Knights' Shea Theodore and Brad Hunt celebrate a goal. Source: Getty Images


Power Rankings: The Golden Knights' excellent expansion adventure continues

Ken Campbell

Let’s keep rolling with the Vegas Golden Knights, who skated into February with the best points percentage in the NHL. Once again, they're at the top of’s weekly Power Rankings.

If you ever, ever wondered whether this insanely magical season for the Vegas Golden Knights was going to come to an abrupt halt, your mind should have been eased with their win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. With less than two minutes left and the Golden Knights trailing 2-1 on the road, they got a goal from Erik Haula on a rebound off an errant pass from Flames winger Michael Frolik on which goalie Mike Smith was forced to make a kick save. Then 10 seconds later, the Knights took advantage of a huge Calgary breakdown to take the lead for good and give Vegas a big win to kick off a six-game road trip.

Those things usually happen against expansion teams, not for them. But so much of this season has defied logic, so let’s go with it. And let’s roll with the Golden Knights, who woke up Wednesday morning with the best points percentage in the NHL, once again being at the top of’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.):

1. Vegas Golden Knights (2)
2. St. Louis Blues (9)
3. Pittsburgh Penguins (14)
4. Winnipeg Jets (5)
5. Boston Bruins (1)
6. Tampa Bay Lightning (3)
7. Nashville Predators (4)
8. Washington Capitals (13)
9. Toronto Maple Leafs (16)
10. Anaheim Ducks (15)

With 33 games left to play, the Golden Knights have already tied the record for most wins by an expansion team… Jaden Schwartz had no points, but did get six shots on goal in his first two games after missing 20 games with an ankle injury. He played more than 18 minutes in each contest…Penguins goalie Matt Murray turned aside 40 shots in Pittsburgh’s 5-2 win over San Jose Tuesday night, his first game since leaving the team after his father died Jan. 16…The Jets have overcome the injury plague all season, but losing Jacob Trouba for an extended period robs them of half of their best shutdown defense tandem…The Bruins had their streak of 18 straight games earning at least a point snapped in their 3-1 loss to Anaheim, but they did manage to extend their streak of giving up the first goal of the game to eight straight contests…No rest for the wickedly good. Defenseman Victor Hedman logged 25 minutes of ice time in his return to the Lightning lineup after missing five games in their 3-1 loss to Winnipeg Tuesday night…The addition of Mike Fisher certainly won’t hurt the Predators' playoff chances. Not sure it helps them all that much either, though…Jakub Vrana was expected to be a healthy scratch when the Capitals returned on Wednesday from the all-star break to host Philadelphia…The Leafs' much-maligned defense unit was set to get a huge boost on Wednesday night with the return of Nikita Zaitsev against the Islanders after missing 17 games…Ducks goalie John Gibson took a hard Patrice Bergeron shot early in the third period of Anaheim’s 3-1 win over Boston on Tuesday night. He finished the game, but might miss the Ducks' next game, Thursday night in Ottawa.

11. Colorado Avalanche (10)
12. Minnesota Wild (11)
13. Calgary Flames (8)
14. Los Angeles Kings (23)
15. Chicago Blackhawks (27)
16. Dallas Stars (7)
17. San Jose Sharks (12)
18. Philadelphia Flyers (6)
19. New Jersey Devils (19)
20. Columbus Blue Jackets (18)

Whether it’s a broken collarbone or concussion, and it might not be either, Nathan MacKinnon’s injury doesn’t look good, either for him or the Avs…Even with a 3-2 shootout win over Columbus on Tuesday night, the Wild are 10-14-1 on the road this season. That has to get better…Here’s where the loser point deceives people. According to the NHL, the Flames have a streak of one loss going. In reality, they’ve lost five in a row, the previous four coming in overtime or shootouts…With Jonathan Quick out, at least the Kings know they have a reliable backup in Darcy Kuemper, who stopped 28 shots to shut out Dallas 3-0 on Tuesday night and improve his record this season to 7-1-3…Speaking of backups stepping in for injured starters, Anton Forsberg made 42 saves in the Blackhawks' 2-1 win over Nashville on Tuesday night…The Stars talked about their lack of competitiveness in their past two games, both losses. Not a good sign…Already without Joe Thornton, the Sharks survived a huge scare when Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed the second half of the first period of their 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night after colliding with Olli Maatta. He returned for the second and played the remainder of the game…The Flyers' game in Washington on Wednesday night marks a stretch in which they’ll play 33 games in the next 67 days…After missing three games with a broken thumb, Taylor Hall scored a goal and was fined $5,000 for boarding in his first game back in the lineup, a 3-1 win over Buffalo…The Blue Jackets have a minus-7 goal differential, making them the only team in a playoff position at the moment who have a negative mark.

21. Carolina Hurricanes (29)
22. Arizona Coyotes (20)
23. Buffalo Sabres (21)
24. New York Rangers (26)
25. New York Islanders (17)
26. Edmonton Oilers (30)
27. Florida Panthers (28)
28. Vancouver Canucks (25)
29. Detroit Red Wings (22)
30. Montreal Canadiens (24)
31. Ottawa Senators (31)

The Hurricanes got Sebastian Aho back on Tuesday night after missing four games with a concussion and he scored in their 2-1 win over Ottawa. Great sign for them…The Coyotes are on a bit of a roll, at least by their standards, and so is Brendan Perlini, who has goals in four straight games and points in five of his past six…With just four goals in his past 25 games, trade-deadline target Evander Kane has been moved to the top line with red-hot Jack Eichel…If the Rangers are going to blow it up, and indications are they will, they’ll have no shortage of candidates. They have seven pending unrestricted free agents…Boos rained down on the Islanders during their 4-1 loss to Florida Tuesday night…The feeling is that if Daniel and Henrik Sedin want to come back to the Canucks next season, both parties will find a way to get a deal done…Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said his team could still make the playoffs this season, but what else is he going to say? The Wings are toast…Max Pacioretty is rapidly becoming the crown jewel of the trade deadline. His recent resurgence for the Canadiens certainly helps…Senators owner Eugene Melnyk held out an olive branch to the fan base, saying his comments disparaging them and threatening to move the team were “unfortunate.” Well, that’s one word to describe them. Sens fans can think of many, many others.

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Power Rankings: The Golden Knights' excellent expansion adventure continues