The Boston Bruins are hot (so are the St. Louis Blues, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia Flyers but none of these teams are currently in the top-ten although the Blues and Hurricanes are on the cusp).
The Bruins are 7-0-1 in their last eight games and have moved into a tie for third place overall in the NHL standings with the San Jose Sharks. They have won six in a row as well and are 8-0-2 in their last 10 games but have made up no ground on the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning who are also 8-0-2 in their last 10.
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1. Tampa Bay
Record: 45-11-4 (4-0-0)
Last Week: 1
The Lightning won all four games and solidified their huge lead in the standings. Tampa Bay was victorious against Calgary, Dallas and Montreal at home and then won on the road versus Columbus 5-1 despite being outshot 40-20. The Lightning take on the hot Flyers in Philadelphia and then return home to play Buffalo and Los Angeles. Nikita Kucherov was the first star of the week with 10 points in three games and continued his outstanding month with a five-point effort against the Blue Jackets. He has 99 points and is 11 ahead of the second place Patrick Kane for the NHL scoring lead.
Record: 36-16-7 (2-1-1)
Last Week 3
The Flames lost to Tampa Bay, were defeated in overtime by Florida and then got back in the win column with victories over Pittsburgh and Arizona. The Flames are home to the New York Islanders and Anaheim and then head back on the road to play Ottawa. Mark Giordano set a career-mark in points with 57 Monday and still has 23 games to completely smash that mark. Not too bad at the age of 35.
Record: 35-17-8 (4-0-0)
Last Week 9
The Bruins won all four games this week, defeating Chicago at home and then Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose on the road. They are 7-0-1 in their last two weeks. They finish their five-game road trip with matches against Vegas and St. Louis this week. Brad Marchand has taken over the points lead from the injured David Pastrnak and he has 70 to Pastrnak’s 66. Torey Krug has 42 points in 49 games this season.
4. San Jose
Record: 35-17-8 (1-1-1)
Last Week 2
The Sharks were at home for all three games this week and dropped a decision to Washington, beat, Vancouver and lost in overtime to Boston. They are in Pittsburgh, Columbus and Detroit this week. The Sharks finally got Erik Karlsson back after a nine-game absence. Joe Thornton had the hat trick Monday, his first since 2010 and only the fifth in his lengthy career.
5. New York Islanders
Record: 35-17-6 (2-1-0)
Last Week 5
The Islanders lost to Buffalo but defeated Columbus and Edmonton to complete the week. The Islanders travel to Western Canada this week and take on Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Andrew Ladd could return after being out since November 13 with a lower-body injury. He has been playing in the minors and has back-to-back two-point games.
Record: 36-19-3 (2-1-0)
Last Week 6
The Maple Leafs defeated Colorado and Vegas on the road before being upset 2-0 in Arizona. The Maple Leafs face St. Louis on the road and return home to play Washington, Montreal and Buffalo. Toronto is three points behind the surging Boston Bruins in the Atlantic but have two games in hand. Mitch Marner continues to lead the Maple Leafs with 69 points in 58 games while John Tavares has a team-leading 33 goals.
Record: 36-19-4 (1-1-1)
Last Week 4
The Jets beat the New York Rangers, lost to Colorado and lost in overtime to Ottawa at home. They play Colorado, Vegas and Arizona this week on the road. Laurent Brossoit is 10-3-2 this season and has given the Jets excellent backup goaltending but is 0-2-1 in his last three. Patrik Laine is a minus-17 this season on a Jets team that is a combined plus-97. The next worst are Mathieu Perreault and Jack Roslovic who are both minus-four.
Record: 34-22-5 (1-2-0)
Last Week 7
The Predators sandwiched losses to Detroit and Vegas with a win over Montreal. Nashville travels to Dallas to begin the week and then are home to Los Angeles, Colorado and Edmonton in what is not the toughest of weeks. Nashville gave up 50 shots on goal to Vegas. That doesn’t bode well for the Predators who led the NHL in points last season but are far from the top this year. Viktor Arvidsson leads the team with 26 goals in only 37 games but has only one goal on the power play.
Record: 33-20-7 (2-2-0)
Last Week 8
The Capitals split the week on the road, beating San Jose and Los Angeles but losing to Columbus and Anaheim. This week they continue their six-game road trip with games in Toronto and Buffalo before finally returning home to play the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 42 as he is looking for his eighth season with at least 50 goals.
Record: 33-22-3 (2-2-0)
Last Week 12
Columbus beat Washington and Chicago this past week and lost to the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay. This week they start the week facing Montreal and Ottawa on the road before returning home to play San Jose in a tough matchup. Cam Atkinson has 32 goals in 56 games and is only three away from equaling his career-best of 35 set two seasons ago. His 55 points are only seven in arrears of the 62 he had in the 2016-17 season.