NHL Power Rankings: Arizona Coyotes stay hot, Colorado Avalanche on a roll

With the start of December came a solid showing from multiple teams as the division races get more intense. The Washington Capitals still sit atop the league, while the Boston Bruins have seen a slight dip in their performance.

Meanwhile in the west, the Arizona Coyotes are staying as hot as the desert, climbing their way to the top of the Pacific Division, while the Colorado Avalanche are making quite the push for first in the Central.

Here are the latest NHL power rankings, which have changed quite a bit from the previous week.

1. Washington Capitals

Last ranking: 2

Washington went 3-for-3 on their California road trip but dropped a 5-2 decision to the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets in the Capitals’ return to D.C. on Monday. Still, Nicklas Backstrom is back and had two points in his return Monday, Alex Ovechkin’s still scoring, John Carlson’s running away with the Norris and Jakub Vrana’s on pace for 40 even-strength goals.

2. Boston Bruins

Last ranking: 1

Boston’s impressive winning streak came to an end as the Bruins have dropped their last three games — two of those coming against non-playoff teams in the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators — while being outscored 13-6. David Pastrnak has also gone without scoring in three straight, but Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are still rolling.

3. Colorado Avalanche

Last ranking: 5

The Avs are on an absolute tear, riding a six-game winning streak before Monday’s overtime loss to Calgary and going 7-2-1 in their last 10 matchups. Still led by Cale Makar on the backend, Nathan MacKinnon is also dominating for Colorado as the team climbed to second in the Central Division and sits just one points out of the division lead.

4. Philadelphia Flyers

Last ranking: 6

The Flyers have won seven of their last 10 and three of their last four games. Although they suffered a tough 3-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, they’ve been dominant and able to outplay their opponents. However, they’ll have to fill the void on offense left by leading scorer Travis Konecny, who’s now out indefinitely with a concussion.

5. Arizona Coyotes

Last ranking: 9

Thanks to outstanding goaltending from Darcy Kuemper, as well as the continued offensive firepower from Conor Garland and Nick Schmaltz, the Yotes have climbed all the way to the top of the Pacific Division and are currently tied for first with the Edmonton Oilers, who currently own the tiebreaker.

6. St. Louis Blues

Last ranking: 3

The Blues are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and still sit atop the Central Division and Western Conference, but they’ve dropped two straight — with one of those losses being a shutout. While leading goal scorer Brayden Schenn has tallied just once in his last five contests, David Perron has carried the offense with points in four of his last five.

7. Calgary Flames

Last ranking: 21

New bench boss Geoff Ward is making the most of his opportunity and is helping the Flames get back to where they needed to be. He’s 5-0 in his first five games with Calgary.

8. Dallas Stars

Last ranking: 10

With two straight wins and a 6-3-1 record over their last 10 games, the Stars are getting the job done. Miro Heiskanen is on a three-game point streak and helping inject offense into the lineup. However, the team will have to look to keep it going after the dismissal of head coach Jim Montgomery on Tuesday due to “unprofessional conduct.”

9. Pittsburgh Penguins

Last ranking: 15

Injuries haven’t stopped the Penguins; despite being without their top players, they’ve won three straight and are 6-2-2 over their last 10 games. They continue to dominate at PPG Paints Arena, dropping just three games in regulation on home ice this season. A lot should be attributed, though, to offense from Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin.

10. Edmonton Oilers

Last ranking: 8

The team has won just one of its last three, witnessing unimpressive losses to the Senators and Sabres. Edmonton’s offense has stalled a bit as well, managing no more than two goals in each of their last three decisions. Although the Oilers getting solid performances from Mikko Koskinen and the bottom-6, they need more from everyone throughout the lineup.

11. Winnipeg Jets

Last ranking: 12

The Jets are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and have been on a roll. Blake Wheeler is riding a three-game point streak and seems to be getting his offense back on track, while Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers are leading in points and goals, respectively. Not only that, but Patrik Laine is thriving as a playmaker, a different role for him that’s making a large impact.

12. New York Islanders

Last ranking: 4

The Isles have gone .500 over their last 10 games, suffering a tough loss to the Canadiens on Dec. 3 that helped the struggling Habs out of an eight-game losing streak. After that, though, they’ve managed over three goals per game in three straight, getting outstanding offense from Brock Nelson, to boot.

13. Carolina Hurricanes

Last ranking: 11

Still sitting in the second place wild-card spot, the Canes have won two straight and hold a comfortable four-point lead over the next-place New York Rangers. Andrei Svechnikov has points in three of his last four, while “Turbo” Teuvo Teravainen seems to be getting his grove back, ending a five-game scoreless streak with three points against the Wild on Saturday.

14. Minnesota Wild

Last ranking: 17

Bruce Boudreau’s club has witnessed quite the turnaround, utilizing an 11-game point streak in order to claw its way out of the basement of the league to just three points out of playoff position. The Wild are 7-1-2 in their last 10 and have gotten more from Mats Zuccarello of late, as he rides a three-game point streak and has points in four of his last five.

15. New York Rangers

Last ranking: 18

The Blueshirts have put a tough start to the season completely behind them, boasting a 6-3-1 record over their last 10. Artemi Panarin is Artemi Panarin, leading the charge with 36 points, but it’s Alexandar Georgiev who’s stolen the show on Broadway, with four wins and two shutouts over his last five games, good for an average save percentage of .954.

16. Florida Panthers

Last ranking: 14

Winning two straight, Joel Quenneville’s team is making the most of their second-place Atlantic Division standing. Brett Connolly continues to lead the charge in the goal-scoring department and is on pace for a career-high 40 goals. Meanwhile, Aleksander Barkov is riding a five-game point streak, while Jonathan Huberdeau has points in three straight.

17. Vegas Golden Knights

Last ranking: 19

Marc-Andre Fleury’s return should help the Golden Knights immensely, as they’ve gone 5-3-2 over their last 10 games. They were previously three points out of playoff position but have managed to climb back and now sit in the second wild-card spot. However, they don’t hold a comfortable lead, sitting just one point ahead of the Canucks.

18. Tampa Bay Lightning

Last ranking: 13

The Bolts have benefitted greatly from the return of Steven Stamkos, seeing the forward ignite the offense, as he has five points in his last four games and points in three of those last four. Two of three of those games have also been multi-point performances. Tampa also saw a seven-goal offensive outburst over the Sharks on Saturday.

19. Vancouver Canucks

Last ranking: 16

Sitting one point out of that second-place wild-card spot, the Canucks have won two straight to improve their record to 5-4-1 over their last 10. While Elias Pettersson leads with 33 points, J.T. Miller has silenced his critics, producing at over a point-per-game pace and riding a four-game point streak to put the forward on pace for 36 goals and 85 points.

20. Toronto Maple Leafs

Last ranking: 20

Another club that’s won just half of its last 10 games, Toronto may be ready to get its groove back under new coach Sheldon Keefe. Things may be looking up for Auston Matthews, who ended a five-game scoreless streak with two goals on Saturday against the Blues. Still, the Leafs will need the likes of John Tavares to return to form on the forecheck.

21. Buffalo Sabres

Last ranking: 22

Nothing surprising for Buffalo, that still somehow sits third in the Atlantic while managing to go 4-3-3 in its last 10. Jack Eichel’s still on a scoring rampage, riding a four-game point streak en route to a team-leading 18 goals, 24 assists and 42 points through 31 games, making him seventh in the league in scoring.

22. San Jose Sharks

Last ranking: 7

San Jose has seen a massive decline in performance since having worked its way up to third place in the Pacific Division. They Sharks have lost two straight and have been outscored 20-6 over their last four games, dropping them to fifth in the Western Conference and three points out of playoff position — all while not owning the tiebreaker over the Wild.

23. Chicago Blackhawks

Last ranking: 23

After being blanked 4-0 by the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 2, the Hawks have won two of their last three. Jonathan Toews looks like he’s picking up the pace, having put up a three-point performance against the Coyotes on Sunday. Still, it’s Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat who lead the charge on offense, both riding three-game point streaks.

24. Columbus Blue Jackets

Last ranking: 25

Prior to Monday’s win over the Caps, John Tortorella’s group was in the throes of a four-game losing streak, being outscored 14-5 over that span. Still, their offense is struggling, as leading scorers Gustav Nyquist and Pierre-Luc Dubois have gone cold — Nyquist just recently ended a four-game pointless drought, while Dubois is scoreless through five.

25. Nashville Predators

Last ranking: 24

The Preds aren’t in great position at the moment, but have seen improvement with points in four of their last five games, which also featured a six-goal outburst over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. Nashville sits four points out of playoff position, but needs Matt Duchene to break out of his scoring drought to continue to provide offense.

26. Montreal Canadiens

Last ranking: 27

The Habs were able to end an eight-game losing streak and have wins in two of their last three games to help them stay in the playoff race. Phillip Danault has been great on the forecheck, as he rides a three-game point streak. However, the Canadiens will need their top forwards in Tomas Tatar and Max Domi to break out of their slumps if they want to win.

27. Anaheim Ducks

Last ranking: 26

As the Ducks sit second-to-last in the West, they continue to struggle when it comes to the power play, which is the second-worst in the league with a 10.5 percent success rate. They’ve also lost two of their last three, including one shutout loss. On the plus side, Ryan Getzlaf is currently carrying the offense with points in three straight.

28. Ottawa Senators

Last ranking: 29

Despite managing a win over the Pacific Division-leading Oilers, the Sens dropped two tough decisions against the Canucks and Flyers. Brady Tkachuk continues to find offense and serve as a physical presence, something Ottawa needs moving forward. Still, the Sens face a challenge as the schedule gets tough while Craig Anderson remains on the injured reserve.

29. Los Angeles Kings

Last ranking: 28

Still sitting dead-last in the Western Conference, the Kings have dropped four straight decisions and have won just three of their last 10 games. Anze Kopitar continues to be the best part of the team’s season, but Los Angeles will need other players to step up and carry the offensive workload as Kopitar leads in every scoring category.

30. New Jersey Devils

Last ranking: 30

The Devils had a wild week, seeing John Hynes relieved of his duties and Alain Nasreddine take over as interim head coach. Jack Hughes also returned from injury, but both changes weren’t enough to help them to a victory, as they’ve dropped four straight now and are 0-2-1 under their new bench boss.

MORE: Nasreddine incorprating speed into Devils lineup

31. Detroit Red Wings

Last ranking: 31

Nothing new for Detroit. The Red Wings have lost nine straight and haven’t won any of their last 10 decisions. On Monday, they put defenseman Madison Bowey on waivers, but not everything falls on him as the team needs some kind of spark or change. Robby Fabbri is, again, one of the only bright spots for the team right now.

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