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NHL Power Rankings This Week - The Lightning Can't Be Beat

It was yet another exciting week for the NHL, and as the holiday trade freeze nears, things are bound to get even crazier over the next few days.

The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are making the Battle of Alberta fun again, as both clubs continue to surge to the top of the league standings. Did anybody dethrone the Tampa Bay Lightning from the top spot? A handful of teams are giving them a run for the best record in the NHL.

Read on to see where your team stands.

31. Los Angeles Kings (11-20-2)

Nothing can be said about the Kings right now that hasn't already been mentioned. They're easily the worst team in hockey, and it's only a matter of time until GM Rob Blake finally decides to tear this whole thing down.

30. Chicago Blackhawks (10-18-6)

This is easily the worst season for the Blackhawks since 2006-07, before Patrick Kane was even in the NHL. It's sad to see this organization fall from grace so quickly. Worse yet, the long-term rebuilding pain is just beginning.

29. St. Louis Blues (12-14-4)

Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The only question now is who and when the Blues will sell. They're easily among the most disappointing teams in the 2018-19 season.

28. New Jersey Devils (11-13-6)

A big comeback win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday, where they erased a three-goal deficit to win in overtime. Can New Jersey use that as the starting point for a possible hot streak?

27. Arizona Coyotes (14-15-2)

Not a whole lot to like about this team. Nobody on Arizona is scoring, and they look poised for another bottom-five finish. When will the NHL just relocate this mess to a city that actually cares about hockey?

26. Florida Panthers (11-13-6)

The Panthers have now lost four games in a row, and you have to wonder if a big move is in store for GM Dale Tallon. Bob Boughner appears to be safe for now. Could Tallon move out one of his young scorers for help on defense?

25. Philadelphia Flyers (12-14-4)

Alrighty, Chuck Fletcher. You were just hired as the GM. When's your next move, young sir? Flyers fans are waiting for something big. A new goalie would help!

24. Carolina Hurricanes (13-13-5)

The Hurricanes are really missing a 20-30 goal man in their lineup. Too bad they traded away Jeff Skinner, who is having a career year with the Buffalo Sabres. Looks like the 'Canes will be sellers once again.

23. Ottawa Senators (14-15-4)

They aren't as horrible as everybody thinks, but GM Pierre Dorion seems to be ignoring the team's need for another goalie and help on defence. At least youngsters Brady Tkachuk, Chris Tierney and Thomas Chabot are showing glimpses of a bright future.

22. Vancouver Canucks (14-16-4)

With Brock Boeser healthy and producing, the Canucks busted out of their slump and are 3-0-1 over their last four games. Is it too early to hand Elias Pettersson that Calder Trophy?

21. New York Rangers (14-13-4)

The Rangers aren't scoring much, but head coach David Quinn has them in the playoff race. The Blueshirts have lost seven of their last 10, however. If this slump continues, it could quickly derail their season.

20. Detroit Red Wings (14-15-4)

The once surging Red Wings have been sliding a bit, going a mere 4-5-1 over their last 10 games now. On the bright side, Dylan Larkin continues to look more and more like a superstar with every passing game.

19. New York Islanders (14-12-4)

Mathew Barzal is experiencing the sophomore slump with just 25 points on the season, but the Islanders are getting good production from Anders Lee and Josh Bailey. It's enough to keep them in the playoff race.

18. Pittsburgh Penguins (14-11-6)

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

That was a much-needed victory over the Boston Bruins on Friday night. GM Jim Rutherford got an extension, meaning the Pens are confident he can keep this title window open a bit longer. Might Rutherford have some more big moves up his sleeve?

17. Dallas Stars (16-13-3)

Credit to rookie head coach Jim Montgomery for turning Dallas into a more balanced team; not the club that just relies on its top line to do all the scoring. Nothing flashy here, but the Stars might make a run for a wild card spot.

16. Columbus Blue Jackets (17-12-2)

It's quite amazing how the Jackets are among the top teams in the East despite a very rocky year from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. If he doesn't turn it around, the decision to let him walk in free agency this upcoming offseason will be that much easier.

15. Minnesota Wild (Minnesota Wild (17-12-2)

Just your average Minnesota Wild team. They don't stand out from other top teams in the West, but they're good enough to compete for a playoff spot. We'll see if they can go on a run and catch up to the Central's top teams.

14. Montreal Canadiens (16-11-5)

The Habs are the ultimate definition of a hot-and-cold team, but they're doing just enough hold onto the second wild card spot. If Carey Price ever regains his Vezina-like form, the Canadiens will be even more dangerous.

13. Vegas Golden Knights (18-14-2)

After a sluggish October and rocky November, the Golden Knights are surging with seven wins over their last 10 games. Jon Marchessault and William Karlsson each have 26 points.

12. San Jose Sharks (17-11-5)

The Sharks are starting to live up to their full potential, having won their last three games. Erik Karlsson is coming around with 21 points in 33 games.

11. Edmonton Oilers (18-12-3)

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So as it turns out, all the Oilers needed was a coaching change. Ken Hitchcock is 9-2-2 with his new team, implementing an excellent defensive system, all while letting Connor McDavid run the show on offense. What a turnaround it's been.

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10. Boston Bruins (17-11-4)

All things considered, the Bruins have been playing very good hockey despite a bundle of injuries to key players. But can they catch up to the top three teams in the Atlantic Division?

9. Colorado Avalanche (17-9-6)

They've lost three in a row, but the Avalanche are sitting nicely in contention for the Central Division. Last season wasn't a fluke, after all. Who'da thought thatNate MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen would be vying for the scoring title in December?

8. Anaheim Ducks (17-11-5)

They're probably overachieving a bit, but the Ducks cannot be ignored. They've won eight of their last 10, and GM Bob Murray was rewarded with a multi-year extension. Now, the Ducks have to hold off the surging Oilers and catch up with the red hot Flames.

7. Washington Capitals (19-9-3)

Four straight victories for the defending champions, who have successfully fought through the Stanley Cup hangover. It's only December, and yet they just might run away with a fourth straight Metropolitan title.

6. Buffalo Sabres (19-9-4)

Following a five-game losing streak, the Sabres found their groove and have reeled in consecutive victories. Tough road games loom this weekend - against the Capitals and Bruins.

5. Calgary Flames (20-10-2)

The Flames had an unreal comeback against the Flyers on Wednesday night, scoring twice with a minute left to go to overtime, where they were victorious. This was always a talented team with Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Giordano. It just took the right man to put it all together. Hat tip to Bill Peters.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs (21-10-1)

The Maple Leafs keep beating up on the bad teams, but their awful play against top teams like Tampa and Boston are cause for concern. GM Kyle Dubas better add some muscle and legitimate top-four defencemen at the deadline. If he does so, this team might have the firepower to keep pace with the Lightning.

3. Nashville Predators (21-10-1)

The Predators have suffered a handful of injuries to key players early in the season, but they just keep on winning. The Jets are surging in the Central Division, though.

2. Winnipeg Jets (21-9-2)

Thanks to a four-game winning streak, the Jets finally got ahead of the Predators for tops in the Central Division. Does anybody really expect Winnipeg to slow down? If not Tampa, this is your best team in the NHL.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (27-5-1)

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

They were heavily outplayed by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, but the Lightning still won 4-1. They're easily the best team in the NHL, and nobody in the Eastern Conference looks capable of challenging them right now.

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