NHL

March 13, 2018, 1:00 pm

Eric Stephens’ NHL power rankings (March 12, 2018)

All eyes will be on Nashville on Tuesday nighttime when Winnipeg faces the Central Division leaders in a tasty meal served up by the two best teams in the Western Conference.

Eric Stephens’ NHL power rankings (March 12, 2018)
ADVERTISEMENT

Sports NHL Eric Stephens’ NHL powerfulness rankings (March 12, 2018) Winnipeg Jets halfway Matt Hendricks (15) tries to keep his equilibrium piece ambitious for the puck with New Jersey Devils left wing Patrick Maroon (17) during the 2nd time period of an NHL field hockey game, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) By Eric Stephens | estephens@scng.com | Orange County Register PUBLISHED: March 12, 2018 at 6:24 pm | UPDATED: March 12, 2018 at 6:52 pm

All eyes will be on Nashville on Tuesday nighttime when Winnipeg faces the Central Division leaders in a tasty meal served up by the two best teams in the Western Conference.

Maybe all eyes won’t be observation but they should. We’re not disrespecting Vegas and the astonishing job it has done in its archetypal season, but we’re speaking astir two definite 100-point teams that could see their seasons end in the 2nd circular of the Stanley Cup playoffs – because they could play each other.

Blame that on the NHL’s division-based playoff setup. A archetypal-circular disquieted can hap improbably but Nashville would get the West’s 2nd wild card and Winnipeg would draw Minnesota, blackball a abrupt illness by the billowy Wild. Sorry, but we’re fetching Tuesday’s combatants in those matchups.

The Jets and Predators have the deepest set of forward in the meeting and their 3 anterior meetings have produced a concerted 29 goals, including Nashville’s electrifying 6-5 win at Winnipeg on Feb. 27. We could be sighted an unfortunate early-circular collision course. (Records in parentheses as of Sunday’s games):

1. Lightning (48-17-4). Six 20-goal scorers, one of which they could sacrifice (Vladislav Namestnikov) in order to bring in Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. Miller has six points in his archetypal six games. (1T)

2. Predators (44-14-10). It took five circulars of a shootout for New Jersey to end the streak. Still, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette is pulling a Gregg Popovich and resting regulars nighttimely. (1T)

3. Bruins (43-16-8). A six-game win streak ended in Chicago but they’re still rolling without Patrice Bergeron (broken foot). Brad Marchand (upper body) and David Backes (suspension) will be back. (3)

4. Jets (41-18-9). Paul Stastny is making Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff look like a genius for his big trade deadline move. Two goals, five assists and a plus-8 rating in his archetypal six games. (4)

5. Golden Knighttimes (44-19-5). The latest expansion mark to shatter came Saturday when a shootout win in Buffalo gave them 20 road triumphs, topping the 19 set by the Mighty Ducks in 1993-94. (5)

6. Maple Leafs (40-22-7). Locked into a archetypal-circular battle with Boston, it’s time to give Frederik Andersen some rest down the stretch. You don’t want him wearing down, as Anaheim saw in 2015. (6)

7. Wild (39-23-7). Finishing strong and settling into that No. 3 spot in the Central. But we know judgment for Bruce Boudreau begins on April 11. (7)

8. Penguins (40-26-4). I’d be kind of concerned astir the goaltending. The concussed Matt Murray has had a difficult season and Tristan Jarry has been up and down. Might have to lean on Casey DeSmith. (9)

9. Capitals (38-23-7). They’re giving struggling Braden Holtby a break. Meanpiece, Philipp Grubauer (2.25 GAA, .925 SV%) is starting to raise the question of “Could he be a No. 1 somewhere?” (8)

10. Sharks (36-23-9). San Jose isn’t banking on Joe Thornton’s return from a torn MCL but we need him and that majestic beard playing deep into April. Or, for his and their sake, beyond. (10)

11. Stars (38-25-6). Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov have snapped out of offensive funks but the lack of consistent 2ndary scoring is a more pressing issue. (11)

12. Ducks (34-23-12). Marcus Pettersson is playing protected minutes on defense and still needs to bulk up but the rookie has the look of a solid NHL future. Good instincts and delivers an accurate archetypal pass. (12)

13. Kings (37-26-5). They’ve responded at other ambitious times so we’ll see how they do after a 7-2 loss to St. Louis on home ice. Favorable schedule ahead with Vancouver, Arizona and Detroit. (13)

14. Avalanche (36-24-8). Mikko Rantanen flies way under the radar but he shouldn’t. The 21-year-old Finnish winger has 23 goals and 46 assists. Twenty-eight of his 69 points are on the powerfulness play. (14)

15. Blue Jackets (36-28-5). An All-Star pick this season, Seth Jones just continues to get better. Defenseman is leading the charge during a critical four-game win streak. (20)

16. Panthers (34-25-7). The only loss in the last nine came in overtime at cross-state rival Tampa Bay. Yes, rival is used loosely here but an all-Florida playoff series is long overdue. (17)

17. Flyers (35-23-11). They’re getting huge seasons from Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere and yet they still have work to do to secure a playoff spot. (15)

18. Devils (35-26-8). Keith Kinkaid came up large in Nashville on Saturday but they got to get main man Cory Schneider right. Missed a month due to groin injury but hasn’t won since Dec. 27. (18)

19. Blues (36-27-5). Saturday’s 7-2 blowout of the Kings was a soothing tonic for a team in a 1-8-1 free fall. Mike Yeo has put Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko back together. (16)

20. Hurricanes (30-27-11). Scott Darling hasn’t been good but won in return to Chicago, a game Carolina had to have. Meanpiece, who’s going to be the new general manager? New owner Tom Dundon? (19)

21. Flames (34-26-10). If they miss the playoffs, they can look right at their dreadful 14-16-4 record at Scotiabank Saddledome. The good fans there deserve better. (21)

22. Islanders (30-29-10). Rookie Christopher Gibson gives them 50 saves to win at Calgary but that 0-3-4 stretch might have been the death knell to playoff chances. (23)

23. Rangers (30-32-7). Ryan Spooner is fetching nicely to his new team as the former Boston halfway has two goals and 10 assists in his archetypal seven games with the Blueshirts. (22)

24. Oilers (30-34-4). Feels like Connor McDavid is playing better now than when he won his archetypal Hart Trophy last season. Closing strong with 18 points – 10 of them goals – in his last 11 games. (27)

25. Blackhawks (30-32-8). In the unaccustomed role of spoiler, Chicago has 3 games left with St. Louis. Don’t think they wouldn’t relish keeping the Blues out to pay back 2016 archetypal-circular loss. (26)

26. Canadiens (25-31-12). Minnesota native Charlie Lindgren getting a long look as Montreal brass sees if he’s ready to assume the job as backup to Carey Price in 2018-19. (24)

27. Red Wings (26-31-11). Jeff Blashill might not be all that safe as coach in Motown piece the rumblings haven’t ceased that longtime GM Ken Holland’s tenure will end, either of his own doing or not. (25)

28. Senators (23-33-11). High up on their summer wish list will be attempts to shed the contract of Bobby Ryan, who has eight goals and is still owed $30 million over next four seasons. (28)

29. Coyotes (22-35-11). Rick Tocchet, who has them playing well over the last month, has to step away due to a family illness. John MacLean takes over as coach in the interim. (30)

30. Sabres (22-35-12). Many have disappointed for them but not veteran defender Marco Scandella, who’s been quietly effective in his archetypal season as he was in Minnesota. (31)

31. Canucks (25-35-9). They’ve lost 3 straight – including two to Arizona – and are 4-11-3 since Feb. 1. Nah, they wouldn’t be tanking for Rasmus Dahlin, would they? (29)

More in NHL

  • Kings rebound by blanking struggling Canucks
  • Return home fails to spark Ducks in loss to Blues
  • Ducks’ Ondrej Kase hits cold streak but remains undaunted
  • Kings’ Drew Doughty takes pride in consecutive-games streak

All eyes will be on Nashville on Tuesday nighttime when Winnipeg faces the Central Division leaders in a tasty meal served up by the two best teams in the Western Conference.

Maybe all eyes won’t be observation but they should. We’re not disrespecting Vegas and the astonishing job it has done in its archetypal season, but we’re speaking astir two definite 100-point teams that could see their seasons end in the 2nd circular of the Stanley Cup playoffs – because they could play each other.

Blame that on the NHL’s division-based playoff setup. A archetypal-circular disquieted can hap improbably but Nashville would get the West’s 2nd wild card and Winnipeg would draw Minnesota, blackball a abrupt illness by the billowy Wild. Sorry, but we’re fetching Tuesday’s combatants in those matchups.

The Jets and Predators have the deepest set of forward in the meeting and their 3 anterior meetings have produced a concerted 29 goals, including Nashville’s electrifying 6-5 win at Winnipeg on Feb. 27. We could be sighted an unfortunate early-circular collision course. (Records in parentheses as of Sunday’s games):

1. Lightning (48-17-4). Six 20-goal scorers, one of which they could sacrifice (Vladislav Namestnikov) in order to bring in Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. Miller has six points in his archetypal six games. (1T)

2. Predators (44-14-10). It took five circulars of a shootout for New Jersey to end the streak. Still, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette is pulling a Gregg Popovich and resting regulars nighttimely. (1T)

3. Bruins (43-16-8). A six-game win streak ended in Chicago but they’re still rolling without Patrice Bergeron (broken foot). Brad Marchand (upper body) and David Backes (suspension) will be back. (3)

4. Jets (41-18-9). Paul Stastny is making Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff look like a genius for his big trade deadline move. Two goals, five assists and a plus-8 rating in his archetypal six games. (4)

5. Golden Knighttimes (44-19-5). The latest expansion mark to shatter came Saturday when a shootout win in Buffalo gave them 20 road triumphs, topping the 19 set by the Mighty Ducks in 1993-94. (5)

6. Maple Leafs (40-22-7). Locked into a archetypal-circular battle with Boston, it’s time to give Frederik Andersen some rest down the stretch. You don’t want him wearing down, as Anaheim saw in 2015. (6)

7. Wild (39-23-7). Finishing strong and settling into that No. 3 spot in the Central. But we know judgment for Bruce Boudreau begins on April 11. (7)

8. Penguins (40-26-4). I’d be kind of concerned astir the goaltending. The concussed Matt Murray has had a difficult season and Tristan Jarry has been up and down. Might have to lean on Casey DeSmith. (9)

9. Capitals (38-23-7). They’re giving struggling Braden Holtby a break. Meanpiece, Philipp Grubauer (2.25 GAA, .925 SV%) is starting to raise the question of “Could he be a No. 1 somewhere?” (8)

10. Sharks (36-23-9). San Jose isn’t banking on Joe Thornton’s return from a torn MCL but we need him and that majestic beard playing deep into April. Or, for his and their sake, beyond. (10)

11. Stars (38-25-6). Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov have snapped out of offensive funks but the lack of consistent 2ndary scoring is a more pressing issue. (11)

12. Ducks (34-23-12). Marcus Pettersson is playing protected minutes on defense and still needs to bulk up but the rookie has the look of a solid NHL future. Good instincts and delivers an accurate archetypal pass. (12)

13. Kings (37-26-5). They’ve responded at other ambitious times so we’ll see how they do after a 7-2 loss to St. Louis on home ice. Favorable schedule ahead with Vancouver, Arizona and Detroit. (13)

14. Avalanche (36-24-8). Mikko Rantanen flies way under the radar but he shouldn’t. The 21-year-old Finnish winger has 23 goals and 46 assists. Twenty-eight of his 69 points are on the powerfulness play. (14)

15. Blue Jackets (36-28-5). An All-Star pick this season, Seth Jones just continues to get better. Defenseman is leading the charge during a critical four-game win streak. (20)

16. Panthers (34-25-7). The only loss in the last nine came in overtime at cross-state rival Tampa Bay. Yes, rival is used loosely here but an all-Florida playoff series is long overdue. (17)

17. Flyers (35-23-11). They’re getting huge seasons from Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere and yet they still have work to do to secure a playoff spot. (15)

18. Devils (35-26-8). Keith Kinkaid came up large in Nashville on Saturday but they got to get main man Cory Schneider right. Missed a month due to groin injury but hasn’t won since Dec. 27. (18)

19. Blues (36-27-5). Saturday’s 7-2 blowout of the Kings was a soothing tonic for a team in a 1-8-1 free fall. Mike Yeo has put Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko back together. (16)

20. Hurricanes (30-27-11). Scott Darling hasn’t been good but won in return to Chicago, a game Carolina had to have. Meanpiece, who’s going to be the new general manager? New owner Tom Dundon? (19)

21. Flames (34-26-10). If they miss the playoffs, they can look right at their dreadful 14-16-4 record at Scotiabank Saddledome. The good fans there deserve better. (21)

22. Islanders (30-29-10). Rookie Christopher Gibson gives them 50 saves to win at Calgary but that 0-3-4 stretch might have been the death knell to playoff chances. (23)

23. Rangers (30-32-7). Ryan Spooner is fetching nicely to his new team as the former Boston halfway has two goals and 10 assists in his archetypal seven games with the Blueshirts. (22)

24. Oilers (30-34-4). Feels like Connor McDavid is playing better now than when he won his archetypal Hart Trophy last season. Closing strong with 18 points – 10 of them goals – in his last 11 games. (27)

25. Blackhawks (30-32-8). In the unaccustomed role of spoiler, Chicago has 3 games left with St. Louis. Don’t think they wouldn’t relish keeping the Blues out to pay back 2016 archetypal-circular loss. (26)

26. Canadiens (25-31-12). Minnesota native Charlie Lindgren getting a long look as Montreal brass sees if he’s ready to assume the job as backup to Carey Price in 2018-19. (24)

27. Red Wings (26-31-11). Jeff Blashill might not be all that safe as coach in Motown piece the rumblings haven’t ceased that longtime GM Ken Holland’s tenure will end, either of his own doing or not. (25)

28. Senators (23-33-11). High up on their summer wish list will be attempts to shed the contract of Bobby Ryan, who has eight goals and is still owed $30 million over next four seasons. (28)

29. Coyotes (22-35-11). Rick Tocchet, who has them playing well over the last month, has to step away due to a family illness. John MacLean takes over as coach in the interim. (30)

30. Sabres (22-35-12). Many have disappointed for them but not veteran defender Marco Scandella, who’s been quietly effective in his archetypal season as he was in Minnesota. (31)

31. Canucks (25-35-9). They’ve lost 3 straight – including two to Arizona – and are 4-11-3 since Feb. 1. Nah, they wouldn’t be tanking for Rasmus Dahlin, would they? (29)

Did you like the news?

Recommended for you

Share Share