#1 Washington Capitals 1st overall in points with 49, 1st in goals scored with 112, and only 4 losses in regulation. Have won 6 straight including their last 4 on the road. Two huge games this week playing Wednesday at home against Boston and at Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
#2 Boston Bruins Knocking them down to the 2nd spot after back to back home losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche after winning 8 straight. 3rd in goals score, 3rd best ranked power play conversion rate, and have given up the 2nd fewest goals.
#3 St Louis Blues A rough night for Jordan Binnington getting the hook after giving up 4 goals in the 1st period to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-2 loss last night. Still the Blues have the most points in the Western Conference with 42 and have played consistent hockey throughout the season with their defensive style and great goaltending from Binnington and Jake Allen.
#4 Colorado Avalanche 6 straight wins including winning their last 3 road games in impressive fashion beating Toronto, Montreal and Boston. They are starting to get key pieces back into the lineup with the return of Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Ratanen and Nathan MacKinnon is having an MVP type season, currently 3rd in the league in scoring with 45 points.
#5 NY Islanders The Islanders have finally slowed down a little bit after their 17 game point streak ended and have lost 5 of their last 8. They have only scored 14 goals in those 8 games. However this team still has given up the fewest goals in the league and is only behind Boston and Washington in the Eastern Conference with 40 points.
#6 Philadelphia Flyers The Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the league winning 7 of their last 9 and currently have the 4th most points in the Eastern Conference with 39. The goaltending duo of Carter Hart and Brian Elliott have only given up 16 goals during that 9 game stretch and have finally given the Flyers the much needed day in and day out consistent goaltending that has been missing from many of the previous seasons.
#7 Pittsburgh Penguins The Penguins keep rolling along even with their myriad of injuries winning 6 of their last 8. One of those wins was an incredible 3rd period comeback against the Vancouver Canucks on 11/27 trailing 6-3 and coming back to win 8-6 scoring 6 goals in the 3rd period. Back up goaltender Tristan Jarry (who might now have wrestled the starting job from Matt Murray) has been the big story posting back to back shutouts this week against St. Louis and Arizona and posting overall numbers of a 1.81 GAA and .945 save percentage in 11 starts
#8 Edmonton Oilers They have remained consistent throughout the season not having a losing streak of more than 2 games and Connor McDavid (19 goals, 33 assists) and Leon Draisatl (19 goals, 34 assists) are still the top 2 scorers in league. They have the top ranked power play converting at a sizzling 32.2% rate and the 2nd best power play kill rate at 86.6%.
#9 Arizona Coyotes Another team that has stayed consistent throughout the season with only one 3 game losing streak. They do not have an individual player in the top 90 for scoring but with their defensive style and outstanding goaltending from Darcy Kuemper (1.92 GAA, .937 save percentage) and Antti Raanta (2.52 GAA and .926 save percentage) they will continue to be a tough out every night they take the ice.
#10 Carolina Hurricanes The unfortunate part for the Hurricanes is they have the 6th most points in the Eastern Conference with 37 but sit 5th in the ultra competitive Metropolitan Division. After a slow start Sebastian Aho has really come alive with 10 goals in his last 13 games and is tied for 9th in goals scored. A tough stretch before Christmas with 7 of their next 8 on the road including their next 5 at Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Colorado.
#11 Dallas Stars The Stars have been the most wildly inconsistent team this year. They started the season losing 8 of 9, won their next 14 of 16, lost their next 4, and now have won 2 in a row. The goaltending of Ben Bishop (2.13 GAA, .932 save percentage) and Anton Khudobin (2.39 GAA, .922 save percentage) have carried the Stars but they need more offensive consistency if they want to be in the upper division of the Western Conference.
#12 Winnipeg Jets You could make an argument for this year's MVP for goaltender Connor Hellebuyck since he has carried the Jets with a 2.20 GAA and .934 save percentage. Most pundits expected the Jets to struggle defensively but score a ton of goals but the opposite has happened as the Jets are in the bottom 3rd of goals scored but have allowed the 6th fewest goals in the league. The Jets have played well of late winning 11 of 16 and have not lost back to back games since October.
#13 Florida Panthers Unless goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (3.35 GAA, .889 save percentage) comes around the Florida Panthers will not be an upper division Eastern Conference team. They are 8th in goals scored (97), have the 6th best power play conversion rate (23.0%), and the 4th best power play kill percentage (85.5%). They play 3 of the Eastern Conference heavyweights this week (Tampa Bay, NY Islanders, & Boston) all at home so we will have a better idea how good the Panthers really are.
#14 Tampa Bay Lightning Since most teams still have 3 to 4 games in hand to the Lightning I will give them the benefit of the doubt and rank them ahead of teams with a few more points. Still waiting for this team to go on a run as the Lightning still have not had a winning streak of more than 3 games. They have battled injuries to key players like Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman. If they continue on their inconsistent path they could actually be in a fight to just make the playoffs.
#15 Vegas Golden Knights The good news for the Golden Knights is that they have won 4 of 5 and back up goaltender Malcolm Subban has played well in the absence of Marc-Andre Fleury. Subban has been the winning goalie in their last 4 wins and has only given up 11 goals in his last 5 starts. The Knights have struggled in stretches losing 10 of 13 in November before winning their last 4 of 5.
#16 Vancouver Canucks A rough November for the Canucks only winning 5 games but still right in the middle of the playoff chase. They are 6th overall in goals scored (100) and have the 4th best power play conversion rate (27.2%). The goaltending of Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko will determine if the Canucks will be a playoff team.
#17 Calgary Flames It looked like the Flames were spiraling toward the bottom of the Western Conference after losing 6 straight in the middle of November but have bounced back nicely winning 5 of 6 and putting them back into the middle of the playoff chase. A slumbering offense has shown signs of life of late (Even Milan Lucic has scored a couple of goals) but they are still 6th from the bottom in goals scored. Johnny Gadreau has struggled badly this season and he and the rest of the offense will have to pick it up if they want to be a playoff team.
#18 Toronto Maple Leafs The Maple Leafs have played a little bit better since firing head coach Mike Babcock and bringing in Sheldon Keefe but still lack night in and night out consistency. We are in December and the Leafs back up goalie situation is still a mess with Michael Hutchinson sporting a 4.55 GAA, .876 save percentage and still with no wins. Injuries have also hurt the Leafs this year and what looked like a year they could make a run for the Stanley Cup will be a year they will be in a fight just to make the playoffs.
#19 Minnesota Wild Give credit to the Wild who have bounced back nicely from a slow start to get themselves within shouting range of the playoff picture. Before losing last night to Carolina the Wild had won 7 of 9 and both of those losses were in OT. The offense has picked up the scoring of late with 3.7 goals per game in their last 10 games but the Wild will have to be better defensively as they have given up the 7th most goals in the league.
#20 San Jose Sharks Not sure which Sharks team you are going to get, the one who lost 11 of their first 15, the team who won 11 of their next 13, or the one who have lost their last 4. Unless their is a major turnaround at the goalie position this team will not be going anywhere with the goaltending tandem of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell. The offense can't make up for the defensive deficiencies where they can outscore people per now being ranked only 19th in goals scored.
#21 Buffalo Sabres The Sabres have lost 14 of 18 since November 1st and have not had a multiple game winning streak since late October. Not enough secondary scoring and mediocre goaltending will in all likelihood keep the Sabres away from the playoffs for another year. Good to see Jack Eichel stay healthy for the entire season as he is having an outstanding year being 7th overall in scoring with 18 goals and 23 assists.
#22 Montreal Canadiens They have won their last 2 of 3 but were in total free fall before that as they had lost 8 in a row. Carey Price has seen his GAA balloon up to 3.04 with a .902 save percentage and the Habs have been outscored 45-28 in their last 11 games. The defense now has given up the 5th most number of goals (101) and they have the 4th worst power play kill percentage (75.5%).
#23 NY Rangers This team is the definition of mediocrity. An inconsistent win one night, lose the next night type of team who has not had a winning streak of more than 3 games. I think it is time to give the full time goaltending job to Alexandar Georgiev (2.90 GAA, .919 save percentage) since he has been more consistent than Henrik Lundqvist (3.21 GAA, .910 save percentage) with the better numbers.
#24 Nashville Predators They looked like a Western Conference Stanley Cup contender before the season started but they have only 5 wins since Halloween. The goaltending tandem of Pekka Rinne (2.92 GAA, .897 save percentage) and Juuse Saros (3.12 GAA, .891 save percentage) have taken a step backwards and their power play units on offense and defense are both in the bottom 10. This team on paper should be better but it looks like they will be in a fight just to make the playoffs.
#25 Chicago Blackhawks Another team that just can't find any consistency as they have had losing streaks of 3 or more games 4 different times during the season while only having one winning streak of 3 or more games. The big drop off in front line scoring from Alex DeBrincat and Jonathan Toews from last season has been a big contributor to a struggling offense as the Blackhawks are ranked 24 in goals scored. It will be interesting to see if the Blackhawks become sellers during the trade deadline.
#26 Anaheim Ducks Only 4 wins since November 1st and no real surprise that they have the second lowest point total in the Western Conference. They have scored the 4th fewest goals and only have 1 individual player with more than 20 points (Ryan Getzlaf at age 34 with 10 goals and 13 assists). The Ducks will be sellers at the trade deadline and we'll see if any playoff contending team will take a chance on Getzlaf to fortify their scoring or other Duck players who are on the wrong side of 20.
#27 Columbus Blue Jackets Another team not projected to do much this year and not looking like a playoff team so far. They are 2nd to last in goals scored and do not have an individual player in the top 100 in scoring or an individual player with more than 18 points. Cam Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois who they counted on to pick up more of the scoring load have struggled for most of the year. Will be in the market at the trade deadline to unload veterans and try to get younger.
#28 Ottawa Senators Started the season losing 7 of 8 and have lost 6 of their last 7. Projected as the worst team in the league the Senators have played some good hockey in small stretches but the overall talent gap and the youth of this team will prevent them from being any type of playoff contender for at least a couple of years. They do have a nice core of young players to build with in future all stars Brady Tkachuk, Anthony Duclair, and Thomas Chabot.
#29 Los Angeles Kings So when does the bloodletting begin in regards to trading all of their age 30+ veterans? And does anybody really want any of these players? They are dead last in points in the Western Conference and in the bottom 5 in goals scored and goals allowed. A major rebuild is necessary for this franchise to move forward.
#30 New Jersey Devils A total disaster as they have had the "Nothing has gone right" season times 10. 3rd from last in both goals scored and goals allowed and have lost 5 straight being outscored 23-9. And this season was summed up on December 2nd being outscored 5-0 in the first period against the Buffalo Sabres and eventually losing 7-1. The million dollar question is will they trade Taylor Hall. If they don't trade him they risk losing him for nothing if they can't resign him.
#31 Detroit Red Wings The Red Wings haven't been this low as a franchise since the early 1980's as they are on an 11 game losing streak being outscored 49-20 in that span and only have 17 points on the season. Steve Yzerman knows this will be a long rebuild as the Red Wings need help everywhere.