After a big week — despite having to come from behind a bunch — the Bruins rise back to the top of the rankings just ahead of the Capitals, with a game in hand and the same points total entering Tuesday night’s games.
1. Boston Bruins: They’ve won seven in a row entering Tuesday’s game with the Hurricanes, and they’ve done a lot of that without Patrice Bergeron.
2. Washington Capitals: The rest of the NHL is figuring out what the Bruins have known for years; the Capitals are tough to beat
3. St. Louis Blues: Now that they’re getting the goaltending from Jordan Binnington and their deep defense is pulling their weight, the Blues are looking like a repeat candidate.
4. New York Islanders: The Islanders are human! They’ve lost some games now finally but are still one of the hottest teams in the NHL.
5. Colorado Avalanche: The score against the Blackhawks snowballed on them in a positive way, and they’ve been doing all of this still without two of their top scorers, though Mikko Rantanen just returned and should give them more oomph.
6. Florida Panthers: Perhaps the Panthers are for real. They’re scoring goals and keep winning games, and their comebacks this season have made them exciting.
7. Edmonton Oilers: Still have the two leading scorers in the league and keep winning games, maybe the Oilers have something after all.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins: They keep sustaining injuries but they’re hanging around. Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang are out and they keep winning games, imagine what a full roster will look like.
9. Arizona Coyotes: Darcy Kuemper, Vezina trophy winner?
10. Winnipeg Jets: With all of their injuries and plenty of reasons to fall back in the standings, the Jets keep plugging along.
11. Philadelphia Flyers: Philadelphia is flying high. They have plenty of flaws still, but they’re getting some results, and they have to be thrilled with Joel Farabee’s development to date.
12. Vegas Golden Knights: Knights will know by the end of their east coast road trip how good they actually are.
13. Carolina Hurricanes: The most surprising thing about the Hurricanes so far is they’re in the top third for fewest goals allowed, which was probably seen as their biggest weakness heading into the season.
14. San Jose Sharks: Suddenly, the Sharks are one of the hottest teams in hockey with eight wins in their last 10 entering Tuesday night.
15. Dallas Stars: Maybe not horrible.
16. Buffalo Sabres: Maybe horrible? They’re in a playoff spot but a rough couple of weeks showed that they have plenty of flaws.
17. Vancouver Canucks: They split with red-hot Edmonton this weekend, which is pretty good given they had been slumping a bit for the past couple of weeks.
18. Nashville Predators: One of the most confusing teams in the league, with their roster makeup, there’s no reason they should be so far down in the standings.
19. Calgary Flames: On the ice, they’ve won two in a row, but the entire Bill Peters racism/abuse situation has to affect the current group to some extent.
20. Toronto Maple Leafs: Their plus-one goal differential is a solid illustration of how average the Leafs have been.
21. New York Rangers: Not nearly as bad as their start earlier in the season, but didn’t look great against Vegas on Monday night.
22. Anaheim Ducks: Three points out of a playoff spot? Thanks, John Gibson.
23. Tampa Bay Lighting: The Lightning’s shocking plummet continues as they remain on the outside looking in the week after American Thanksgiving.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets: Without Zach Werenski for the next four weeks, cannon blasts might be at a minimum in Columbus.
25. Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks have had a few positives to look at this season but their past two games entering Tuesday were rough with seven goals allowed to the Avalanche and a 4-0 shutout to the Blues.
26. Montreal Canadiens: An absolutely brutal week exposed a lot of issues the Canadiens already knew about, but sure, putting the backup goalie on waivers will cure everything.
27. Minnesota Wild: Minnesota is playing kind of well and that’s wild.
28. Ottawa Senators: Ottawa is certainly not as rough as expected heading into the season, but they’ve lost four in a row and are still the Senators.
29. New Jersey Devils: Monday’s awful loss to the Sabres highlighted what we already knew: the Devils are bad.
30. Los Angeles Kings: The Kings are awful but they’ve won six of their last 11 and actually have a little bit of momentum going for them.
31. Detroit Red Wings: Eight straight defeats entering Tuesday and the Red Wings aren’t soaring anywhere.