NHL Power Rankings: Filip Gustavsson drags Wild into contention atop Central Division



The Bruins’ winning streak has hit double digits, and all their trade deadline acquisitions are working out. Just when you think this Boston team has peaked, it just takes its game to the next level. The only question now is when the Bruins will clinch the President’s Trophy. — 49-9-5

Carolina didn’t make a massive splash ahead of the NHL trade deadline, but it did add Arizona Coyotes defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, and that already looks like a good fit. Gostisbehere has two goals and four points in his first two games with the Hurricanes. — 43-12-8

In his first game with the Devils, Timo Meier played on a line with Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt. I offer my sincerest condolences to any team trying to defend that line. Once those three develop some chemistry together, they might be able to set up camp in the offensive zone for extended periods of time. — 42-16-6

The Wild have gotten hot, and it hasn’t been due to their sizzling offense. In his last nine starts, Gustavsson has allowed more than two goals just once, and he has recorded 15.79 goals saved above average in that time, per Natural Stat Trick. In those games, Minnesota has scored a total of 15 goals, or 1.67 per game. 5 37-21-7

Golden Knights
I’d like to personally thank the Golden Knights for setting up the possibility of an all-time revenge series by acquiring Jonathan Quick from the Blue Jackets. If Vegas and Los Angeles meet in the playoffs, Bruce Cassidy should be required to start Quick in goal. 2 39-20-6

Maple Leafs
Toronto’s biggest trade deadline acquisition, Ryan O’Reilly, has broken his finger and will miss at least four weeks. That’s tough news for the Maple Leafs, but at least O’Reilly should be back in time for the postseason. On top of that, the Leafs have a comfortable lead on the No. 2 spot in the Atlantic Division with the Bolts’ recent slide. 2 39-17-8

The Kings have now won four straight games, and Anze Kopitar has scored 25 goals for the first time since the 2017-18 season. Kopitar seems to have found some chemistry with Adrian Kempe and Quinton Byfield. Those three have now spent 280 minutes together at five-on-five, and they are outscoring opponents 20-8 in that time, per Natural Stat Trick. 3 38-20-8

Despite some of the positive vibes surrounding the Rangers’ splashy deadline acquisitions, they haven’t been playing great hockey. Over the last two weeks, the Rangers are 2-4-0 with a minus-6 goal differential at five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick. 2 36-19-9

The Avalanche entered Tuesday night on a three-game losing streak, but they got to play the Sharks, the best medicine for a team in a slump. Colorado hammered San Jose, 6-0, and allowed just 0.87 expected goals in all situations. That should give the Avs some confidence moving forward. 4 35-22-6

Roope Hintz has found himself on a heater lately. Hintz is riding a six-game point streak, and he has seven goals and nine points in that time. Dallas has a fight on its hands to secure the top spot in the Central Division, but that task will be a little easier as long as Hintz is scoring at a sizzling pace. 1 35-17-13

With 17 games remaining in the 2022-23 season, Connor McDavid has already set new career highs in goals (54) and points (124). McDavid is on pace to finish the year with 68 goals and 156 points, which would be the 14th highest-scoring season in NHL history. That would put him in the same ballpark as Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. 1 36-22-8

Jared McCann had a strong season with the Kraken in 2021-22, and GM Ron Francis rewarded him with a five-year contract worth $25 million. That deal already looks like a bargain as McCann has recorded his first 30-goal season, and he has plenty of time left to add to that total. 6 37-22-6

The Senators had won five games in a row to put themselves back into the playoff picture before dropping a 5-0 stinker against the Blackhawks. Ottawa is just three points behind the Penguins for the final playoff spot, and they are embarking on a massive Western Conference road swing. — 33-27-4

The vibes are as bad in Tampa as they’ve been since the team got swept by the Blue Jackets and posted that horribly embarrassing tweet. In Saturday’s loss to the Sabres, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov were benched for the entire third period. The next day, the Bolts got blown out by the Hurricanes, 6-0. 6 38-21-6

The playoff math for the Panthers isn’t all that favorable, but Matthew Tkachuk is trying his darndest to get them into a wild card spot. With 81 points in 61 games, Tkachuk is on pace to finish the regular season with 104 points, which would equal his career high from last year in three fewer games. 1 33-27-6

Wins don’t get much bigger than the one the Islanders got against the Sabres on Tuesday night. The Isles needed some breathing room in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and they got it after Hudson Fasching scored one of the ugliest goals you’ll ever see late in the third period. 1 34-25-8

The Sabres need Alex Tuch to get back in the lineup soon. Buffalo can’t afford to lose much more ground in the playoff race, and Tuch’s offensive prowess will be needed in upcoming matchups against the Stars, Rangers, and Maple Leafs. 1 32-28-4

Winnipeg is 3-6-2 in its last 11 games, and the Predators and Flames are licking their lips as they watch them slip closer and closer to the playoff bubble. The most concerning part of all this for the Jets is that Connor Hellebuyck has not been himself lately. Over the last two months, Hellebuyck has allowed 5.99 goals above average at five-on-five, which ranks 80th in the NHL, per Natural Stat Trick. 3 36-26-3

Pittsburgh may have saved its season on Tuesday night, at least for the time being. The Penguins trailed the Blue Jackets, 4-0, in the second period before rallying from behind to tie the game in the third. In overtime, Sidney Crosby delivered the game-winning goal and prevented an ugly loss for his team. 2 32-22-10

In Tuesday night’s 1-0 shootout win over the Stars, Jacob Markstrom looked like his old self. He stopped all 40 shots and saved 4.05 goals above average. Markstrom has had a rough season by anyone’s standards, especially his, but one hot stretch could put his team into the postseason. — 29-24-13

The youth movement is in full effect for the Predators now, and 2020 second-round pick Luke Evangelista scored his first two NHL goals against the Canucks on Monday night. He has already been a bright spot for a Nashville team that’s looking toward the future. 1 31-24-7

It’s been an interesting season in Vancouver for Quinn Hughes. HIs production is still high and he might even set new career highs in several categories, but some of his on-ice impacts have been a little underwhelming. That could be attributed to his rotating cast of defensive partners that includes Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers, Ethan Bear, and Noah Juulsen. 6 27-32-5

Brayden Schenn has had a rough go of it this season, and his production is well below where it was last year. I’m not one to put much stock in plus-minus, but Schenn is a minus-34, which should be cause for concern. The Blues need him to bounce back because he has five more years left on his contract at $6.5 million. 1 28-31-5

Defenseman Rasmus Sandin has wasted no time getting acquainted with his new club. In two games with the Capitals, the 23-year-old has one goal and five points. He might be a menace in the Metro Division for a while. 2 31-28-7

Now that Patrick Kane has been traded and Jonathan Toews is out due to illness, the Blackhawks’ leading scorer is … Taylor Raddysh … with 14 goals on the season. At least the Bulls are in the hunt for a play-in spot and the Cubs and White Sox will be starting soon. 2 22-37-6

Red Wings
The Red Wings have made it clear that they won’t be hanging around in the crowded Eastern Conference playoff race. After dropping two straight games to the Senators at the end of February, Detroit became sellers at the trade deadline and is now on a six-game losing streak. 7 29-26-9

The Canadiens have lost four straight games, and that is good news for the organization, even if the on-ice product won’t be very entertaining for the fans in Montreal. We’ll see how much GM Kent Hughes can overhaul this roster in the offseason. 4 26-33-6

After trading Jakob Chychrun, Nick Bjugstad, and Shayne Gostisbehere, an already barren Coyotes roster will only be more depleted down the stretch. Arizona can really make a push for that No. 1 pick and Connor Bedard. 3 23-32-10

Anaheim didn’t do itself any favors by beating Montreal in regulation last weekend, but at least rookie Mason McTavish tallied his 14th goal of the season. It seems like he’s starting to find his footing in the second half of the season. 1 22-35-9

The Flyers are scoring at a higher rate on the penalty kill (2.2 goals/hr) than they are at five-on-five (2.17 goals/hr), according to Dimitri Filipovic of Sportsnet. That is some truly hard-to-watch hockey. 1 24-30-11

Blue Jackets
Turning Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo into a first-round pick and a third-round pick was a trade deadline win for Columbus. Not only do the Blue Jackets have the best chances of landing the No. 1 pick, but they also have some draft capital with which to work. 1 20-37-7

The Sharks have worked hard to improve their draft lottery chances in recent weeks. San Jose has two wins in its last 10 games, and seven of the losses have come in regulation. The Sharks are coming for the Jackets down the stretch. 3 19-35-12


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