The San Jose Sharks are moving on up. They won all four of their games on the road this week and as a result have moved into second spot in the NHL rankings, just behind the front-running Tampa Bay Lightning. The teams remained the same in the top-five with just the Sharks moving up and Calgary, Winnipeg and the Islanders each moving down one spot.
The Blues are the other team to make a big move upwards as they also won four in a row behind rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington. St. Louis is making a strong move to make the post-season and they finally have the reliable goaltending to do so.
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1. Tampa Bay
Record: 41-11-4 (2-0-2)
Last Week 1
The Lightning had a tough start to the week as they lost to Vegas in a shootout and to St. Louis in overtime, then knocked off Pittsburgh and Florida. This week the Lightning face Calgary, Dallas and Montreal at home before travelling to Columbus on Monday. Brayden Point is tied for the NHL lead with 15 power play goals. Ondrej Palat was considered a very good fantasy player just a couple of seasons ago but he has fallen and has only seven goals and 21 points in 39 games with a plus-one rating. He had had a couple of plus-30 seasons.
2. San Jose
Record: 34-16-7 (4-0-0)
Last Week 5
The Sharks beat Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver this week with all four games on the road. This week they are home to Washington, Vancouver and Boston. Erik Karlsson continues to practice but there is no reason for the Sharks to rush him back as they have won six in a row. Evander Kane has five goals and seven points in his last three games and is having a great fantasy season with 26 markers, 49 points and 109 penalty minutes in 57 games. The Sharks may need improved goaltending in the playoffs as Martin Jones has a 2.88 GAA and a .899 save percentage. His 27-10-4 record masks his peripherals.
Record: 34-15-6 (0-1-1)
Last Week 2
The Flames lost to San Jose in regulation and then dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to Vancouver. The Flames are in Tampa Bay, Florida and Pittsburgh to start the week and then are home to Arizona Monday. The Flames had a short week with only the two games. On a team that is a plus-167 overall, James Neal is a team-worst minus-10. His five goals and 15 points this season have been a huge disappointment but a good playoff would erase all the poor memories of the regular season.
Record: 35-18-3 (1-2-1)
Last Week 3
The Jets lost to Montreal and Ottawa in regulation and then were defeated in overtime by San Jose before beating Buffalo. They face the New York Rangers, Colorado and Ottawa at home. In 56 games, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele have combined for 40 goals and 132 points. Nikolaj Ehlers could return to action later this week as he has been out over five weeks with an upper body injury. He should replace Jack Roslovic on the second line.
5. New York Islanders
Record: 33-16-6 (3-1-0)
Last Week 4
The Islanders lost Boston to start the week and then racked up three straight wins beating New Jersey, Colorado and Minnesota to finish the week. The Islanders are in Buffalo and Columbus to start the week and finish up at home against Edmonton. The Islanders must be one of the few teams that enjoy back-to-back games this season. They are 6-1-2 in the front end and a perfect 9-0-0 in the second half of the back-to-backs. Anthony Beauvillier halted an 11-game goalless drought with his 13th of the season Sunday.
Record: 34-18-3 (2-1-0)
Last Week 6
The Maple Leafs defeated Ottawa and Montreal but lost 4-1 to the New York Rangers despite firing 56 shots on Alexandar Georgiev. They head west this week to play in Colorado, Vegas and Arizona. Maple Leafs and Auston Matthews agent are apparently ramping up negotiations as Toronto still needs to deal with Mitch Marner as a potential RFA. They do not want a repeat of the William Nylander fiasco as both sides could not come together on a deal until the last minute. It has taken its toll on Nylander this season as he has two goals and nine points in 24 games and that includes a goal and an assist Monday night. Nazem Kadri has not had a point in six straight games but fired 12 shots on net in the Rangers loss. William Nylander has two goals and six points in his last seven games with a plus-seven rating.
Record: 33-20-5 (2-1-1)
Last Week 7
The Predators had a good start to the week, beating the Coyotes and Dallas but then lost to St. Louis on the road before losing the second half of back-to-back games to the Blues in overtime. This week Nashville take on Detroit and Montreal at home and travel to Sin City to play the Golden Knights on Saturday. The Predators swung a couple of deals this week, picking up Brian Boyle and Cody McLeod. The duo will give Nashville some extra toughness, especially with Austin Watson back in the NHL and NHLPA substance abuse program.
Record: 31-18-7 (3-0-1)
Last Week 8
The Capitals finally had a good week as they lost in overtime to Florida but won their other three games, beating Vancouver, Colorado and Los Angeles. That completed their six-game home stand and now head out on the road to play Columbus, San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles. Evgeny Kuznetsov has a four-game points streak in which he has five goals and 10 points to give him 15 goals and 53 points in 50 games. Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL with 38 goals.
Record: 31-17-8 (3-0-1)
Last Week 9
The Bruins lost in a shootout to the New York Rangers but managed to beat the New York Islanders, the Kings and Colorado. The Bruins Chicago at home and then travel to California to play Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. Patrice Bergeron was the second star of the week with four goals and seven points in four contests. David Pastrnak saw his seven-game points streak end Sunday. He had four goals and 11 points during the streak.
Record: 31-18-7 (2-0-1)
Last Week 10
The Canadiens lost to Toronto in overtime but defeated Anaheim and Winnipeg this past week. They are on the road versus Nashville, Tampa Bay and Florida this week which should be a tough seven days. They acquired Dale Weise from Philadelphia and Nate Thompson from Los Angeles in a couple of bottom-six moves to improve. Kenny Agostino was placed on waivers to make room on the roster and claimed by the Devils. Jonathan Drouin had three goals and nine points in three games before he was held off the scoresheet against Toronto.
Record: 31-22-4 (2-1-0)
Last Week 12
The Golden Knights had a good week in defeating Tampa Bay and Detroit on the road before dropping a decision at home to Columbus. This week the Golden Knights continue their home stand with games against Arizona, Toronto and Nashville before facing the Avalanche in Colorado. The Golden Knights have five players with double-digits in goals as Alex Tuch, Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin have between 15 and 19 goals. They really missed Nate Schmidt from the start of the season as he was suspended for violating the NHL/NHLPA performance enhancing substances program. He has five goals and 20 points in 36 games with a plus-14 rating.
Record: 31-20-3 (3-0-0)
Last Week 13
Columbus were perfect this week after a 0-3-0 performance the week before. The Blue Jackets defeated Colorado, Arizona and Vegas on the road. This week the Blue Jackets face Washington, the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay at home with a match against the Blackhawks in Chicago. Trade rumors still are rampant around Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin and that will continue to be the main story until they are traded or the deadline passes.
Record: 29-20-7 (1-2-1)
Last Week 11
The Penguins lost to Carolina and Tampa Bay in regulation and to Florida in overtime before beating the Flyers 4-1 Monday. They needed a 50-save performance from Matt Murray to garner their only W. This week the Penguins are home to Edmonton, Calgary and the New York Rangers. Evgeni Malkin returned Monday after a five-game absence and promptly got tossed from the contest for swinging his stick at Michael Raffl. Nick Bjugstad scored his first goal as a Panther Monday. He started the game with Malkin on his line. Brian Dumoulin has a goal and 18 points this season but is a plus-29.
Record: 28-22-5 (0-1-1)
Last Week 14
The Stars lost to Nashville in overtime and then lost in regulation to Arizona. They are busier this week with three road games against Florida, Tampa Bay and Carolina to complete five games away from home. Ben Bishop could return later this week as he is out of action with an upper-body injury. Martin Hanzal has played only seven games and is not close to a return. The injury-prone center signed a three-year deal before last season and has only played 45 games in over a season and a half.
Record: 27-21-7 (2-1-1)
Last Week 15
The Sabres defeated Minnesota and Detroit, lost in overtime to Carolina and were defeated by Winnipeg. The Sabres face the Islanders and Rangers at home this week to finish a seven-game home stand and then it’s off to New Jersey to face the Devils. Rasmus Dahlin is tied for third all-time in points by a defenseman before his 19th birthday at 31, with Doug Bodger and Jim Benning, trailing only Bobby Orr who had 37 and Dahlin’s current head coach Phil Housley who had 57 points before he turned 19. Rasmus Ristolainen had his four-game points streak end Sunday.
Record: 28-22-6 (3-1-0)
Last week 17
The Hurricanes won their first three games of the week, knocking off Pittsburgh, Buffalo, the Rangers but lost to New Jersey. The Hurricanes take on Ottawa, Edmonton and Dallas this week. There is a big drop off in scoring after the duo of Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen (63 and 49 points respectively) as Justin Williams has 13 goals and 33 points. No wonder Nino Niederreiter has been a gift since his trade from Minnesota. Micheal Ferland and Dougie Hamilton’s names are still out there in trade talks.
17. St. Louis
Record: 27-22-5 (4-0-0)
Last Week 24
The Blues won all four games this week as they won in Florida and Tampa Bay as well as a home-and-home series with Nashville. The Blues play four games again this week with tilts against New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado and Minnesota. Jordan Binnington has been outstanding since his recall as he is 9-1-1 with a 1.72 GAA and a .931 save percentage. He won all three of his games this week and was rewarded as the NHL’s first star of the week. He has given hope to the Blues that they once again have a strong netminder they can rely on. Ryan O’Reilly has 23 points in his last 20 games.
Record: 27-24-5 (1-2-1)
Last Week 16
The Wild defeated New Jersey for their only win of the week, lost in a shootout to Buffalo for another point and lost outright to Edmonton and the New York Islanders. This week the Wild are home for all three games including playing Philadelphia, New Jersey and St. Louis. Victor Rask has only a goal and an assist since coming over nine games ago from Carolina in exchange for Nino Niederreiter. Niederreiter on the other hand has been a stud since the trade with six goals and nine points in 10 games. Mikael Granlund is now playing center between Charlie Coyle and Zach Parise as he has been slumping of late.
Record: 25-24-7 (1-1-1)
Last Week 18
The Flyers cooled down this week after winning eight in a row as they lost to Los Angeles in a shootout, beat Anaheim and lost on Monday 4-1 to Pittsburgh despite firing 51 shots on goal. Philadelphia plays Minnesota and then face the Red Wings in a home-and-home series. Carter Hart saw his eight-game winning streak come to an end as he was trying to become the first goaltender to win nine in a row before the age of 21. He is still tied at eight with Jocelyn Thibault. The Flyers have to decide soon if they are still considered playoff hopefuls and if not, need to trade Wayne Simmonds and get some assets back.
Record: 25-25-7 (1-2-1)
Last Week 20
The Canucks beat Calgary in a shootout, lost to Chicago in overtime and then dropped a couple of games in regulation to Washington and San Jose. They are away for all three games this week with contests against Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. Michael DiPietro made his NHL debut in net Monday and things did not go well for the 19-year-old emergency recall as he gave up seven goals on 24 shots to highly-regarded San Jose. Sven Baertschi is out of action with an apparent illness as a concussion has been ruled out.
Record: 23-23-8 (2-2-0)
Last Week 21
The Panthers split the week as they lost to St. Louis and Tampa Bay but beat Pittsburgh and Washington, both in overtime. This week the Panthers take on Dallas, Calgary and Montreal as they are in the midst of a six-game home stand. Aaron Ekblad used to be the quarterback of the Panthers top power play unit but once they acquired Keith Yandle, Ekblad lost his job. The only plus-ratings members of the Panthers are not on the team anymore as Nick Bjugstad and Jacob MacDonald who has played in only two games.
22. New York Rangers
Record: 24-23-8 (2-1-0)
Last Week 22
The Rangers sandwiched wins over Boston and Toronto with a loss to Carolina. New York plays three on the road this week with games against Winnipeg, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Mika Zibanejad continues to excel with six goals and 10 points in his last six games. The Rangers look to be sellers at the trade deadline and do not be surprised if Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello are elsewhere come late afternoon on February 25. Zuccarello has been strong of late with a goal and 10 points in his last seven games.
Record: 22-22-11 (0-1-3)
Last Week 19
The Avalanche continued their downward spiral, losing to Columbus in regulation and then dropping three straight overtime games to Washington, the Islanders and Boston. The Avs play Toronto, St. Louis and Vegas at home this week with a contest against Winnipeg on Valentine’s Day interrupting the home stand. The Avs have been disappointed with the play of former number one pick Tyson Jost and sent him to the minors where he had four goals and an assist in eight games. He was recalled on Monday.
Record: 24-26-5 (1-2-0)
Last Week 23
The Oilers defeated Minnesota this week and lost to Chicago and the San Jose Sharks. This week Edmonton will travel to Pittsburgh, Carolina and New York where they will play the Islanders. There is some talent in the minors as Tyler Benson is having a fine rookie season with eight goals and 38 points in 46 games. He is a winger, something the Oilers are in desperate need of. Matthew Benning is a plus-seven in his last 11 games. Connor McDavid has 31 goals and 81 points this season in 54 games.
Record: 24-26-5 (1-2-0)
Last Week 25
The Coyotes lost to Nashville and Columbus and defeated Arizona to end the week. This week they face Vegas on the road, are home to St. Louis and Toronto (which sees the return of Phoenix’s own Auston Matthews) and then back on the road to face Calgary. The Coyotes still have six players tied for their goal-scoring lead with the abysmal total of 11 as Clayton Keller, Alex Galchenyuk, Derek Stepan, Christian Fischer, Brad Richardson and Conor Garland are tied. Garland seems to be the best goal scorer as he has played only 28 games.
Record: 23-24-9 (3-0-0)
Last Week 27
The Blackhawks defeated Edmonton, Vancouver and the Detroit Red Wings this week and have won seven in a row. They play in Boston and then return home to play New Jersey, Columbus and Ottawa. Dylan Strome was the third star of the week with two goals and five assists in three gems and he has 30 points in 32 games since the Blackhawks acquired him from Arizona in what is looking like a great trade for Chicago. Corey Crawford practiced fully on Monday as he is recovering from a concussion. He last played on December 16 and Chicago has been getting very good goaltending from Cam Ward and Collin Delia in his absence.
27. New Jersey
Record: 21-26-8 (1-2-1)
Last Week 26
The Devils defeated Carolina this week for their only win of the week. They lost in a shootout to the Islanders and lost outright to Los Angeles and Minnesota. This week the Devils will play in St. Louis, Chicago and Minnesota and then return home to play Buffalo. The Devils claimed Kenny Agostino on waivers from Montreal. It is beginning to look like Taylor Hall may not be back this season despite the Devils saying he will return. He has not played since just before Christmas and is not on the ice.
28. Los Angeles
Record: 23-28-5 (2-1-1)
Last Week 30
The Kings started the week off right with a couple of wins over New Jersey and Philadelphia then lost in overtime to Boston and were defeated by Washington. This week they return home to face Boston and Washington again after getting the week started against Vancouver. It has been a tough season for Jonathan Quick as he is 11-14-4 with a 3.10 GAA and a .899 save percentage. The long-time starter with the Kings, Quick may need a change of scenery to revitalize his career.
Record: 21-29-5 (2-1-0)
Last Week 31
The Senators lost to Toronto and then turned things around with wins over Anaheim (no big deal) and Winnipeg (that is a big deal). Ottawa takes on Carolina at home and then head on to the road to play Detroit, Winnipeg and Chicago. Craig Anderson is out of action after suffering an eye injury Monday. He took a tennis ball to his eye while working out in the gym. That’s not an injury you see every day from an NHLer. With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, it is coming closer to reality to see what the Senators will do with Matt Duchene and Mark Stone.
Record: 21-28-7 (0-3-0)
Last Week 28
Detroit lost all three this week as Vegas, Buffalo and Chicago beat them. This week they’ll try to snap out of their losing ways as they are on the road against Nashville, are home to Ottawa, back on the road to play Philadelphia before returning home to face the Flyers in the second game of a back-to-back series. Andreas Athanasiou has not found the back of the net in his last 10 games. Rookie defenseman Dennis Cholowski has hit the wall as he has only three goals and an assist in his last 30 games. He could benefit from a trip to the minors.
Record: 21-26-9 (0-3-0)
Last Week 29
The Ducks dropped decisions to Montreal, Ottawa and the Flyers and fired their head coach Randy Carlyle on Sunday. General Manager Bob Murray will take over the bench for the remainder of the season as he wants to see for himself the damage that has beset his team. The Ducks have a lot of good, young talent in the minors and junior hockey but will not recall them as their AHL franchise in San Diego has a strong team and will contend for the Calder Cup. The Ducks face Vancouver, Boston and Washington this week.