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NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes overtake Bruins for No. 1 spot before All-Star break

NHL Power Rankings: Hurricanes overtake Bruins for No. 1 spot before All-Star break

The Hurricanes have now rattled off six straight wins before All-Star weekend

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With the 2023 NHL All-Star break upon us, we finally have a change at the top of the power rankings. It seems like the Bruins have held down the No. 1 spot since Lord Stanley of Preston donated a trophy to the best Canadian team in 1893, but a three-game losing skid opened the door for the red hot Carolina Hurricanes.

In what is the equivalent of a catastrophe for this Bruins team, they have lost three straight games to three pretty talented teams in the last week. That ended their run atop the rest of the league because the Hurricanes just keep churning out wins, no matter what the season throws at them.

Carolina has dealt with injuries to key players like Max Pacioretty and Frederick Andersen all season, and yet it remains one of the best teams in the league. Martin Necas has emerged as a star, Brent Burns looks revitalized in a Hurricanes uniform, and usual suspects like Sebastian Aho and Jaccob Slavin have played up to their full potential. As a result, the Canes have a strong grip on the top spot in the Metro Division, and they have won six straight games.

With Carolina swiping the top spot from Boston, here are the updated NHL Power Rankings.

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1

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Hurricanes

The Bruins’ three-game losing streak opened the door for a new team to take over the top spot, and the Hurricanes did just that by rattling off six consecutive wins. Martin Necas continued his tear last week with a last-second goal to tie the game and the overtime winner against the Sharks. 2 33-9-8
2

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Bruins

For the first time all season, the Bruins have looked somewhat mortal. They’ve lost three straight games, but Boston has the opportunity to go into the All-Star break and bye week on a high note if it can beat the Maple Leafs in a big Atlantic Division clash on Wednesday night. 1 38-7-5
3

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Lightning

Brayden Point battled injuries throughout the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he suffered a torn quad in the final against the Avalanche. He has come back stronger than ever. Point is currently on pace for 50 goals, which would be a career high. His dominance is a big reason why the Bolts have remained a juggernaut in a tough Atlantic Division. 1 32-15-1
4

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Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews will miss three weeks with a knee sprain, but that is far from a disaster for the Leafs for a couple of reasons. First of all, Toronto has an incredibly light schedule coming up, so the team should be no worse off by the time Matthews returns. Secondly, William Nylander is on a seven-game point streak, and he is fully capable of picking up Matthews’ slack in the meantime. 2 31-12-8
5

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Devils

Over the last month, the Devils’ underlying numbers have dipped, but the team has gone 9-2-2 in that time. That’s because Vitek Vanacek has been excellent over the last few weeks. Since Jan. 1, Vanacek is fourth in the NHL in goals saved above average with 6.42, per Natural Stat Trick. 3 32-13-4
6

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Oilers

I’ll pause my weekly Connor McDavid appreciation post and give some love to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is having the best season of his career. Nugent-Hopkins is on pace for 36 goals, 62 assists and 98 points. All of those numbers would smash his previous career highs. At times, the Oilers have struggled to get production behind McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but Nugent-Hopkins has been carrying his weight. 1 28-18-4
7

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Rangers

Filip Chytil has turned into a goal-scoring machine. In just 41 games, Chytil has set a new career high with 16 goals, which doubles his total from last season. Chytil’s shooting percentage is almost eight points higher than his career average, but at the age of 23, he has clearly taken a step forward in his development. 2 27-14-8
8

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Avalanche

Cale Makar is starting to mount his defense of the Norris Trophy. Makar is on an eight-game point streak with four goals and seven assists in that stretch. Beyond that production, the Avalanche are still dominating with their star defenseman on the ice. Colorado owns a five-on-five expected goals share of 56.06% with Makar in the game. 1 27-18-3
9

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Sabres

Owen Power hasn’t had much trouble adjusting to the NHL level. The rookie defenseman is a big reason why the Sabres will be playing meaningful hockey games after the All-Star break. Power has 19 points in 46 games, and Buffalo has controlled 58.06% of the expected goals with him on the ice at five-on-five, per Natural Stat Trick. 4 26-19-4
10

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Kraken

It took the Kraken all of 47 games to top last season’s point total. Going from atrocious goaltending to competent goaltending can do that for a team, but Dave Hakstol should at least get an honorable mention for the Jack Adams Award at this point in the year. 29-15-5
11

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Jets

The Jets have been one of the NHL’s biggest surprises this season, but they have shown some cracks lately. Winnipeg is 3-5-0 over the last two weeks, and the Stars have surpassed them for first place in the Central Division. Luckily for the Jets, they don’t play another game until Feb. 11, so they have plenty of time to hit the reset button before the stretch run. 3 32-19-1
12

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Stars

The Stars hit the All-Star break as the top team in the Central Division, but they have also lost three straight games in extra time. The Stars have not lost 10 games in overtime or a shootout, and that is second only to the Sharks’ 11 losses after regulation. If Dallas had just won a few more of those games, its division lead would be much more comfortable. 1 28-13-10
13

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Wild

The Wild scored just 17 five-on-five goals in January, which is dead last in the NHL. Despite that lack of offense, Minnesota went 6-4-2 last month, and that allowed them to cling to a top-three spot in the Central Division. With the Avalanche charging, that may not last for long, and GM Bill Guerin has to be in the market for a top-six forward ahead of the trade deadline. 1 27-17-4
14

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Kings

Mikey Anderson and Drew Doughty have become an incredibly strong top pairing for the Kings. With those two on the ice together at five-on-five, the Kings have controlled 53.67% of the expected goals. No other pairing has been nearly as effective in Los Angeles. 1 28-18-7
15

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Flames

Getting blown out by a Blackhawks team starting its fourth-string goaltender is no way to get back into a playoff position. That’s what the Flames did last week, and it was emblematic of the inconsistency that has plagued this team since opening night. 1 24-17-9
16

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Capitals

Just eight games after making his 2022-23 season debut, Tom Wilson suffered a lower-body injury against the Avalanche on Jan. 24. The Capitals have had an awful time trying to get healthy, and the duct tape that’s been used to keep this team afloat up to this point is starting to deteriorate. 2 27-20-6
17

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Golden Knights

Very few teams are colder than the Golden Knights. They shot 7.69% in January, which ranked 30th in the NHL, and Jack Eichel is in the midst of a major slump. Eichel hasn’t recorded a point in his last five games, and he hasn’t scored since Jan. 12. That has resulted in Vegas slipping to second place in the Pacific Division. 29-18-4
18

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Predators

After getting dominated by the Blues on Jan. 19, the Predators held a team meeting that was described as “uncomfortable” by Roman Josi. Since then, the Preds have won three straight games over the Kings, Jets, and Devils. We’ll see whether the effects of that meeting are still felt after an 11-day layoff. 2 24-18-6
19

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Panthers

The Panthers were staring down the barrel of their fourth straight loss on Saturday when David Pastrnak gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead with under a minute remaining in regulation. However, Aleksander Barkov tied the game with a few ticks left on the clock, and Sam Reinhart won it in overtime. That could’ve been a season-saving sequence, but the Panthers have a lot of work ahead of them. 24-22-6
20

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Penguins

Earlier this month, the Penguins got some good news when Tristan Jarry returned from injury. However, those good vibes only lasted a few games. Jarry missed the team’s last three games before the All-Star break with an upper-body injury, and the team has to hope he’s ready to go when play resumes. Casey DeSmith has struggled badly when asked to fill in for Jarry, and that has contributed to the Pens’ slide. 2 24-16-9
21

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Islanders

To his credit, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello addressed one of his team’s biggest needs by acquiring Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks. The issue is that it might be too little too late. The Isles are chasing a number of teams in the playoff race, and there is a decent chance they miss the playoffs and lose their first-round pick in the upcoming draft. 5 25-22-5
22

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Senators

After checking the advanced analytics, I can conclude that the vibes are on the rise in Ottawa. The Senators have won four in a row heading into the All-Star break, and three of those have come against Atlantic Division rivals Toronto and Montreal. Van Wilder has to be loving what he’s seeing these days. 3 24-23-3
23

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Flyers

Travis Konecny is having a tremendous season overall, but he has hit a rough patch recently. Konecny hasn’t recorded a point in four games, and he hasn’t scored in his last nine games played. When Konecny is going the Flyers are borderline watchable, but that hasn’t been the case recently. 1 21-21-9
24

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Red Wings

Jake Walman has suddenly emerged as a reliable option on the Red Wings’ blue line. He has been paired with Moritz Seider a lot recently, and that duo has been very successful. With those two on the ice at five-on-five, the Red Wings have controlled 55.48% of the expected goals. That is a considerable improvement over the results when Seider was paired with Ben Chiarot. 1 21-19-8
25

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Canadiens

Former seventh-round pick Rafael Harvey-Pinard has played just seven games for the Canadiens, but his five goals are tied for eighth on the team. Since being called up from the AHL’s Laval Rocket, Harvey-Pinard has made the NHL look like a beer league. I’m not sure he’ll be able to keep up his 42.9% shooting percentage, but who am I to rain on the Pinard parade? 1 20-27-4
26

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Blues

Go ahead and slap an ‘Everything Must Go’ sign on front of the Enterprise Center. After a brutal collapse against the Jets, the Blues have now lost five straight games in regulation, and they will be in seller mode ahead of the NHL trade deadline. 5 23-25-3
27

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Blackhawks

Defenseman Jake McCabe is already a hot name on the NHL trade market, and he may very well be an affordable depth option for a contender looking to solidify its blue line. McCabe has an on-ice goal differential of minus-3, which seems pedestrian on the surface, but it’s very good relative to the rest of the team. It’ll be interesting to see what the market is like for McCabe over the next few weeks. 2 15-29-4
28

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Ducks

The Ducks have developed a habit of winning games over the last two weeks, including a comeback win over the Avalanche, and that has hurt their chances of landing the No. 1 overall pick. To make matters worse, two of those wins against their main draft lottery competition, the Coyotes. 1 16-29-5
29

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Sharks

While Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier are in the midst of excellent seasons, Tomas Hertl has had some trouble lighting the lamp this season. At the moment, Hertl is on pace for 23 goals, which would be a step back from his 30-goal season in 2021-22. To compensate for that, Hertl’s taken his playmaking up a notch as he is tracking to set a new career high for assists. 1 15-25-11
30

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Canucks

The Canucks have finally decided to rip off the band-aid by trading captain Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders. Vancouver now has the ability to begin its rebuild, as long as it can stick to a cohesive plan for once. 1 20-26-3
31

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Blue Jackets

If Blue Jackets fans are looking toward the future, as the should be, the idea of Kent Johnson playing on a line with Johnny Gaudreau for years to come is an exciting prospect. As a rookie, Johnson is fifth on the team in goals (10) and fourth on the team in assists (14). 1 15-32-4
32

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Coyotes

Arizona has picked up convincing wins over the Golden Knights and Blues in the last 10 days, but they have lost when it mattered. The Coyotes dropped two games to the Ducks in a span of five days. 16-28-6

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