1 – Boston Bruins (35-5-4)
The Bruins have been historically good this season. With just one regulation loss at home and a goaltender leading the league in wins, GAA and SVP, they’ve been the clear-cut number one team in the NHL for quite a while now. It’s boring keeping one team in the top spot for so long, but it’s just not a debate at this point.
2 – New Jersey Devils (29-12-3)
Many thought the Devils might be coming back down to Earth with a string of losses after their historic winning streak. Instead, New Jersey has quickly gotten back to its winning ways and is currently on another five-game stretch without a loss. They’ve been particularly impressive on the road this year, boasting a record of 18-2-1 when playing in another team’s barn.
Also exciting – they may just be getting started…
3 – Carolina Hurricanes (27-9-8)
They may not be the flashiest team in the NHL, but Carolina is certainly one of the league’s best. With a record of 27-9-8, the Canes are currently one point ahead of New Jersey for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. They’re also finally getting to enjoy having Max Pacioretty in the lineup. The 34-year-old forward missed the first half of the season with an injury but has come back to score three goals in his first four games.
4 – Tampa Bay Lightning (29-13-1)
Winners of five straight, the Lightning look to be gearing up for yet another shot at the Stanley Cup. The core of the team is as good as ever, they’ve won fourteen of their last eighteen games, and they’ve lost just four times in regulation at home this year. With the postseason experience that they have, this team will once again be one of the biggest threats in the East come playoff time.
Oh, and Stammer has 500!
5 – Toronto Maple Leafs (27-11-7)
Coming in right behind Tampa Bay is the team they’ll most likely face off against in the first round of this year’s playoffs. Toronto may not be getting almost a goal per game from Auston Matthews this year, but they’re still winning. With the emergence of William Nylander and some exciting goaltending from Matt Murray, Leafs fans are ONCE AGAIN telling people that this, in fact, is their year.
6 – Winnipeg Jets (29-15-1)
After a tough season last year, Connor Hellebuyck and the rest of this Winnipeg team have bounced back in a big way. The Jets are currently 8-2-0 in their last ten games and showing no signs of slowing down, while Hellebuyck boasts a career-high SVP of .924. If they can continue to get this kind of play in net, Winnipeg will be tough for anyone to beat come playoff time.
7 – Dallas Stars (26-13-7)
Even if they haven’t been playing their best hockey recently, the Stars are still a very solid team. With ‘Star’ players in every position, it’s no wonder the team currently has the 3rd best goal differential in the NHL at +35. In the standings, they’re tied for the division lead with Winnipeg but have played one more game. Winning the division will be huge, as it may also mean being the overall top seed in the Western Conference.
8 – New York Rangers (25-13-7)
It’s been an up and down year in the Big Apple, but for the time being, things are looking good for the Rangers. In their last 19 games, New York is 14-3-2. Although they’re currently third in the Metropolitan Division, many fans would probably be OK with that position if it meant a first round matchup with the young and inexperienced New Jersey Devils.
When the Garden is rocking like this, the Rangers have one of the biggest home-ice advantages in the NHL.
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