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Burnside's Power Rankings: League-best Lightning can't be stopped

Tampa Bay continues to roll the competition, dominating in all phases to keep the top spot

by Scott Burnside @OvertimeScottB / DallasStars.com

Now, we're in a groove. The Terrific 10 and the Frigid Five are more than a month old. It's not easy to crack the top 10, and it's proving very difficult to exit the bottom five. 

Hey, if it was easy, everyone would do it, right?


Previous rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5


1. Tampa Bay Lightning (1) The Lightning have taken up permanent residence atop the Terrific 10 and, really, it's not even close. The Lightning continue to make mincemeat of the competition as they've rolled to a 14-2-2 record. No. 1 in goals per game and tied for fifth in goals allowed, they dominate on the road and at home, including Sunday's hard-fought 2-1 win over Anaheim, and have the league's top goal-scorer, playmaker and goaltender. Enough said.

2. St. Louis Blues (2) Must admit, losing to the New York Islanders -- a night after the Isles were waxed in Dallas -- is a bit of a red flag. Okay, maybe a mauve flag. Still, the Blues are the standard bearers in the Central Division with a six-point lead on Winnipeg (although the Jets have two games in hand).

3. Toronto Maple Leafs (-) This is a nice test for the Maple Leafs, playing without offensive catalyst Auston Matthews, and they've responded nicely with a four-game win streak behind Frederik Andersen's stellar netminding.

4. New Jersey Devils (4) Probably deserve to be up one spot in the standings after their four-goal second period Sunday in Chicago paved the way to an improbable 7-5 win in a game in which the Blackhawks led 4-1 late in the first period. But let's start acknowledging the Devils are the real deal.

5. Los Angeles Kings (3) The Kings finally suffered their first home regulation loss of the season (see: Tampa Bay Lightning) and then fell 2-1 to San Jose on Sunday, but they remain one of the early elite teams in the West with a plus-14 goal differential, tied for second in the league.

6.  Vegas Golden Knights (9) They say whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger and the Golden Knights are living testament to that. They returned home after a challenging road trip, none the worse for wear, and waxed Winnipeg (who spent most of the week in Vegas. Just saying.) to run their home record to 7-1-0 and 10-5-1 overall. Believe it.

7. Winnipeg Jets (5) The Jets redeemed themselves 24 hours after proving the Vegas point (i.e. Might not be a good idea to stay four nights in Vegas) with a nice win over Arizona (okay, everyone has a nice win over Arizona, but we digress). Still, the Jets have one regulation loss in their last 10 and, for our money, remain one of the top three teams in the West.

8. New York Rangers (-) Hey, weren't the Rangers a regular visitor to the Frigid Five? Why, yes, they were. But guess that's why you play 82 games, as the Rangers -- behind a revived Henrik Lundqvist -- have won six in a row and are 8-2-0 in their last 10.

9. San Jose Sharks (6) The Sharks are starting to turn things around at home, where they're now 6-4-0. Important win for them down the coast Sunday in Los Angeles.

10. Nashville Predators (-) The Predators, fresh off acquisition of Kyle Turris, are starting to round into form with a four-game win streak, and are 5-2-1 in their last seven.

 

Frigid Five

Oh, it's cold like an Edmonton winter down here. Speaking of which.

27. Boston Bruins (-) The Bruins are a team in transition, and that transition isn't necessarily a smooth process, as their 6-6-4 record suggests.

28. Edmonton Oilers (28) A recent 2-2-1 stretch illustrates woes confronting last year's darlings as the Oilers simply can't consistently generate offense, scoring just eight times the last five games. That's how you end up dead last in the league in goals per game.

29. Florida Panthers (29) More than a month into the season and the Panthers own the second-worst winning percentage in the league. Not exactly sure how that's happened. Roberto Luongo is playing well since returning from injury.

30. Buffalo Sabres (30) The Sabres lose to previously-woeful Montreal in overtime, and that's about as good as it gets for a team with a minus-20 goal differential.

31. Arizona Coyotes (31) More of the same from the NHL's worst team by a country mile. Let's see: 2-14-3, minus-30 goal differential. It's a desert mess. That's all there is to say about this.

 This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. You can follow Scott on Twitter @OvertimeScottB, and listen to his Burnside Chats podcast here.

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