As teams approach the 10-game mark in the National Hockey League, it's time to wonder if those amazing starts in Las Vegas and New Jersey are a mirage, or the real thing and, conversely, whether teams like Montreal and Edmonton are really that bad.
One thing is certain: the Terrific 10 and Frigid Five never lie.
Previous rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2
1. Los Angeles Kings (2) Can't say enough about the work done by new head coach John Stevens in getting this team back not just into the fray but above it. The only team without a regulation loss in the NHL owns a league-best plus-13 goal differential and is riding a four-game winning streak.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (6) Lightning are on fire (sorry to mix the metaphors there) with a 7-1-1 record, and Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are running amok with a combined 13 goals and 21 assists, sitting 1-2 in the scoring lead early on. Andrei Vasilevskiy has all seven Tampa Bay wins against one loss.
3. Vegas Golden Knights (9) At some point, there's going to be a Cinderella-like pumpkin that shows up on the Golden Knights' front porch -- and it may arrive sooner than later with injuries to both netminders Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban. But until then, here's to an expansion team for the ages with a 6-1-0 record and riding a three-game winning streak.
4. New Jersey Devils (1) A couple of red flags as the Devils hit a strange early-season week off (how does that happen, by the way?) most notably an injury to netminder Cory Schneider and a shutout loss at home to San Jose. Still, Devils are an impressive 6-2-0 including 4-0-0 on the road and are fourth in goals per game.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (7) Funny how the Leafs got beat up by Ottawa right after Vegas oddsmakers released news that the Leafs were now Stanley Cup favorites. Still, Leafs lead the league in goals per game and are a tidy 6-2-0.
6. St. Louis Blues (-) Not sure how we didn't have the Blues in the Terrific 10 last week but, regardless, here they are, thanks to a 6-2-1 start that has been heavy with road games (they've only played two at home). Jaden Schwartz is leading the way with 13 points, third in the league.
7. Ottawa Senators (4) Senators continue to impress ranking third in goals allowed per game and with just one regulation loss through eight games (4-1-3). Loss of Bobby Ryan with a broken finger comes just as captain Erik Karlsson returns to the lineup. Tough.
8. Chicago Blackhawks (3) Blackhawks still trucking along at 5-2-2 and a nice plus-10 goal differential. Corey Crawford in a groove with a 1.86 GAA.
9. Philadelphia Flyers (-) Like the way the Flyers are hanging tough thus far, as witnessed by Saturday's 2-1 home win over Edmonton. Last year's All-Star Game MVP, Wayne Simmonds, has nine points and four game-winners early on.
10. Dallas Stars (-) Stars make their first appearance in the Terrific 10 thanks to a four-game winning streak, tied for the longest current streak in the league. Big test upcoming with a five-game road swing through Western Canada and beyond. Ben Bishop (.928 save percentage, 2.09 GAA) has been a rock.
27. New York Rangers (29) Maybe the Rangers use Saturday's 4-2 win over Nashville to start digging themselves out of the hole their 2-5-2 start has put them in. But lots of pressure everywhere on this lineup from head coach Alain Vigneault on down to veteran netminder Henrik Lundqvist.
28. Edmonton Oilers (28) Two weeks in a row in the Frigid Five and, unless the 30th ranked offense gets going, there's no telling how long the Oilers' stay here will be. Defending scoring champ and league MVP Connor McDavid is without a goal in six straight after opening the season with a hat-trick.
29. Buffalo Sabres (30) We'll see if a gutsy come-from-behind win over Boston on Saturday propels the Sabres in the right direction. But early on, they're as bad a team as there is in the NHL.
30. Montreal Canadiens (-) The Habs are, quite simply, not a well-constructed team that is playing below its capabilities. That's how you roll out of the gate with a 1-6-1 record, even with the world's best goalie in Carey Price (.881 save percentage, 3.94 GAA). Habs have a league-worst minus-20 goal differential.
31. Arizona Coyotes (31) Yes, the 'Yotes deserve a better fate than their 0-7-1 start. And you have to feel for new head coach Rick Tocchet, who has some nice tools, just not enough it seems as they rank 30th in goals allowed per game at an obscene 4.25. Still, Clayton Keller is a treat to watch.
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.