*This is not Stanley cup predictions or favorites*. This is solely based on performances since the last edition of power rankings (week 13).
Performance, Wins/Losses, schedule, number of games, and other statistics all are taken into consideration. (Records in parentheses display teams performance since last power rankings)
1. Minnesota Wild (9-1-1)
The Wild have been on a scorching run dropping only one game in regulation. While Kaprizov continues to dazzle, secondary scoring has really kicked in with guys like Fiala and Foligno contributing. It’s no surprise that Vegas and Colorado are desperately battling for first in the West because neither of them want to see the Wild in the first round.
KAPPY TO TIE IT UP#KirillForCalder pic.twitter.com/n69t0jhlYc
— x – Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) May 4, 2021
2. Vegas Golden Knights (9-1)
The Knights are beginning to separate themselves in the West while finding their playoff form as the season winds down. Ultimately, it’s the same old story with the Knights. They are super deep, tough to play against and have good goaltending. Stone, Pacioretty, Theodore etc are always on the scoresheet as the Knights continue to rack up wins. Look out for them in the playoff preview piece.
3. Carolina Hurricanes (8-1-3)
It’s amazing how little buzz surrounds the Hurricanes despite them being atop the league and the extremely deep Central division, somewhat comfortably. I think there are many people out there who are unwilling to ride the Hurricanes after their disappointing playoff performance in the Toronto bubble. However, their young guys got another year older, they are staying healthy, and still boast one some of best D-corps and coaching staff in the league. I question whether the goaltending will be enough to compete with the likes of Vasilevskiy etc, but if they continue winning they should be a surefire bet to at least get to the second round.
We're Surging again! pic.twitter.com/l5DXZ9S3ov
— x – Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) May 4, 2021
4. Florida Panthers (9-2-1)
All these hot Central teams should make things very interesting for the seeding going into playoffs. The Panthers are keeping the Canes honest being only two points back while trying to distance themselves from Tampa (two points back as well). Goaltending has been great while Duclair and Bennett are starting to make bigger impacts. Meanwhile, MacKenzie Weegar is helping to fill the void left by Aaron Ekblad. We could very well see a sunshine state battle in the first round.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-1)
It felt like the Penguins went from top-four Eastern team to sitting atop the division overnight. Admittedly, it was surprising to see them surge to the top of a crowded Eastern division. The Pens however, deserve a lot of credit for the push they have been making as the season wraps up. With Malkin back, the Penguins are finally as healthy as they’ll probably be. Furthermore, they have one of the easiest schedules remaining in the East as they’ll see a decimated and disappointing Flyers team before two with the Sabres. Although they are currently just outside the top spot in the East they should have every chance to finish there come mid-May.
6. Ottawa Senators (7-2-1)
Like you, I’d never thought I would see the Senators on the Power Rankings. However, they deserve a lot of credit for playing some good hockey lately. The young guys are competing and there is finally some life and upward trends in Senators organization. Norris, Brown, Stutzle, and Batherson are just a few promising players who have pleasantly surprised this season. In addition to a drastically improved season, the Senators were just ranked by the Hockey News as the organization with the best prospect pool. Things are looking up Sens fans.
Didn't see it coming #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/n0z1HC2wWj
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) May 2, 2021
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (7-4)
Still competing for the top spot in the central while nearing a Nikita Kucherov return. It’s not their best stretch of the season yet they still find themselves in a good position to get at least second in the central. Not much else to say until playoff time for Tampa.
8. Nashville Predators (6-3-1)
The Predators have been fighting like hell to get the final spot in the Central. They’ve won some crucial battles against the Stars of recent while also beating off some of the behemoths of the central. Their another team that’s starting to benefit as players like Filip Forsberg return to the lineup. Goaltending, which was a problem early on, has seemed to no longer present any issues as Juuse Saros has averaged around a .933 SV% in his last five games. While it’s not a lock just yet, the Preds seem to be the current favorite to land the fourth spot in the Central. If they stay hot and healthy, with contributions up and down the lineup they could be a harder out than once thought.
RT if you love Juuse Saros pic.twitter.com/pmxQgQQ8JC
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) May 2, 2021
9. Edmonton Oilers (5-2)
It’s a bit tougher to analyze with having much less games than most of the list, but the Oilers want to heat up before going into playoffs. Of course McDavid has been stellar which only helps their cause; but the Oilers are 3/3 in their last three with the Jets who now trail them by five, with more games played. The Oilers are all but locked into the second seed in the North.
10. St. Louis Blues (5-3-1)
Like the Predators, the Blues have been scraping for points as they push for the final spot in the west. As the Coyotes schedule got harder and the Blues got hotter, it was more apparent they’d be the final team in. It’s no fluke that they have the last spot though. They’ve had to beat the Avalanche and Wild on multiple occasions to get five points up on the fifth place yotes. While Ryan O’Reilly and his Blues have been red-hot, so has virtually every other team in the West. Not to mention the Blues are 15 points back of the third place Wild.
Honorable Mentions: Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals
Colorado Avalanche (5-3) – They’ve been better and they’ll need to be if they want the top spot in the central. While they have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the season, they’ll only get a crack at the Knights once more before playoffs.
Washington Capitals (6-4) – Aside from three massive wins against the Islanders towards the end of April, the Caps haven’t been all that great. They allowed the Penguins to jump ahead of them after dropping two straight before pulling back ahead yesterday. While Mantha has been good, it’s probably been tough to see Vrana doing so well in Detroit. Either way, I still think they end up with the one seed in the East.