Weekly NHL Power Rankings: The Lightning are still a force in the NHL
We might just be bored with them at this point.
It is easy to get bored with teams that make a habit out of winning. We sometimes take that success for granted, and sometimes simply get annoyed with it. We might be reaching that point with the Tampa Bay Lightning because they just simply never seem to slow down.
Since the start the of the 2014-15 season they have been in six Eastern Conference Finals, four Stanley Cup Finals (including each of the past three, while losing the other two Eastern Conference Finals in seven games), and won two Stanley Cups. They also have two divisional trophies and a Presidents’ Trophy (best regular season record) thrown in there just for laughs.
During that time they have more regular seasons (419), playoff wins (84), and regular season goals scored (2,223) than any other team in the NHL. Nobody is within 16 regular season wins of them, and nobody is within 39 (39!!!!!!) playoff wins during that stretch.
At some point you have to think that team might start slowing down.
They are not slowing down. Not this season anyway. They are still one of the best teams in the NHL and starting to hit their rhythm as the 2022-23 NHL season enters its stretch run.
They maintain spot in the top-five this week’s NHL Power Rankings and keep inching closer toward the top.
Where does your team sit this week?
To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!!
1. Boston Bruins. The Bruins’ rise from “okay playoff team” a year ago to unstoppable force this year is still one of the wildest developments in the league for me. I thought they were done. They are most certainly not done. At least not yet. Given some of their contract situations this might be their last best chance, and I have a feeling they are going to make at least one substantial move to try and take advantage of that.
2. Carolina Hurricanes. They enter the week 12-1-1 over their past 14 games and their next three games are against St. Louis, Ottawa, and Anaheim. Not sure they can catch Boston in the race for the top spot but they are at least going to make it interesting.
3. New Jersey Devils. They managed to get through Jack Hughes’ injury without much issue, and they still have a ton of salary cap flexibility to make a major addition at the trade deadline. Timo Meier would be perfect here.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning. The most surprising development here has been Brandon Hagel becoming a legitimate top-six contributor. I was not a huge fan of that move a year ago, but he has been another great find for the Lightning and another bargain against the salary cap.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs. He may not be the player he once was, and he may not be having a great season, but adding Ryan O’Reilly could be a significant addition and give the Maple Leafs one of the best center groups in the league. They have to do something in the playoffs. They just have to win. They can not lose in the first round again with this roster.
6. New York Rangers. Another strong trade deadline performance from the Rangers’ front office is going to put them in a great position to make another run.
7. Colorado Avalanche. They may not have the best record in the Western Conference but I still strongly believe they are the best team in the Western Conference, and finally starting to play that way. Injuries remain the biggest problem, and now they keep happening to Cale Makar. That could be the biggest injury concern of them all.
8. Dallas Stars. They have a big issue with overtime and shootouts this season, going just 4-12 in their 16 games that have gone beyond regulation. That is robbing them of points in the standings and contributing to their recent slump. Fortunately for them overtime in the playoffs is not 3-on-3 and they have no shootouts to worry about.
9. Los Angeles Kings. Pheonix Copley has provided some stability in goal and actually has a 17-3-1 record since taking over as the regular goalie. But is he really the guy to guide this team on a Stanley Cup run? Finding a goalie on the trade market will be tough, but they need to try. They are also reportedly in the running for defenseman Jakob Chychrun, which would also be a significant upgrade.
10. Vegas Golden Knights. Another team that might want to consider goalie depth. Logan Thompson and Adin Hill have been very good, but neither is a proven playoff goalie and Thompson’s injury could be a problem if it lingers.
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