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Power Rankings: Red-hot Bruins keep climbing -- and winning

From ESPN - February 15, 2018

With Marian Gaborik and Dion Phaneuf on the move this week, the wheels are beginning to spin ahead of the Feb. 26 trade deadline. The New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators have already announced themselves as sellers, meaning there will be plenty of assets on the market. The question is: Who is buying, and at what price? For this week's power rankings -- voted on, as always, by ESPN's panel of experts -- we assess where every team stands, less than two weeks out.

How we rank: We use a panel of voters, and these rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams are favored over lower-ranked teams. A run of wins does not guarantee a jump, and a couple of losses do not guarantee a fall.

Previous rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 |Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Week 17 | Week 18

1. Vegas Golden Knights

Record: 37-15-4
Week 18 Ranking: No. 1

David Perron's career high in points is 57 (in 2013-14, with St. Louis). He's probably going to shatter that this season. He's at 51 points only 50 games in, including 17 points in his past 13 games.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: 38-16-3
Week 18 Ranking: No. 2

No reason to fret just yet, but the penalty kill has been a problem. The Lightning have allowed 10 power-play goals in 30 opportunities over the past 10 games.

3. Nashville Predators

Record: 34-12-9
Week 18 Ranking: No. 3

The Predators are targeting an early March debut for Mike Fisher. Why do we have the feeling that Nashville will have more additions by then? GM David Poile is very much in on the Rick Nash sweepstakes.

4. Boston Bruins

Record: 35-12-8
Week 18 Ranking: No. 7

The Bruins have been on a terrific run of late and have shaved the Lightning's lead in the Atlantic Division to just one point. And Boston does not show any signs of regression.

5. Winnipeg Jets

Record: 33-15-9
Week 18 Ranking: No. 4

The Jets fared just fine without Mark Scheifele in the lineup. But they are so much better when he's there. (The center scored two goals against the Capitals, including the equalizer, but we were just as impressed with his strong move in overtime to set up the game winner.)

6. Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 35-19-5
Week 18 Ranking: No. 5

Auston Matthews and William Nylander form a scary one-two punch. The Leafs could use some depth at center and on defense, but they probably wo not be too splashy at the deadline.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 32-22-4
Week 18 Ranking: No. 10

The Penguins have put their early woes behind them and are starting to look dominant again. Pittsburgh has won nine in a row at home. Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin are still producing at eye-popping rates.

8. St. Louis Blues

Record: 32-20-3
Week 18 Ranking: No. 8

The answer for the Blues might not be acquiring a high-priced winger at the trade deadline, a la Evander Kane or Rick Nash. Rather, this team simply needs to hold on to leads late in games.

9. Washington Capitals

Record: 32-17-7
Week 18 Ranking: No. 6

For as great as the Capitals have been for most of the season, surrendering three unanswered goals and blowing a late third-period lead (as they did against the Jets) is discouraging.

10. Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 25-19-8
Week 18 Ranking: No. 22

Just when the Flyers encourage their fans with a legitimate playoff push, they lose goalie Brian Elliott for five to six weeks. Good thing this city loves its underdogs.

11. Dallas Stars

Record: 33-20-4
Week 18 Ranking: No. 9

John Klingberg is a legitimate Norris Trophy candidate, and his offensive production -- 52 points in 57 games -- is downright gaudy. Even if you took away his seven goals, he'd rank second among defensemen in points.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets

Record: 29-24-4
Week 18 Ranking: No. 17

The Blue Jackets have now recorded 50 or more shots in three straight games, including firing off 57 on Wednesday to the Maple Leafs. Someone is lighting a fire in that locker room to get the offense going. (Our guess is Torts.)

13. New Jersey Devils

Record: 28-20-8
Week 18 Ranking: No. 14

Just when the Devils began to look desperate, Taylor Hall came to the rescue, propelling a huge come-from-behind overtime win against the Flyers. It's hard to imagine where New Jersey would be without Hall this season. The winger has 59 points -- 25 ahead of Nico Hischier, who is second on the team.

14. Minnesota Wild

Record: 31-19-6
Week 18 Ranking: No. 13

Nobody wants to play this team at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild have not lost in St. Paul since Dec. 16, outscoring opponents 49-25 during that span.

15. Los Angeles Kings

Record: 30-21-5
Week 18 Ranking: No. 15

All the other GMs can thank the Kings for putting the trade carousel into motion. Gaborik was not able to give Los Angeles much this season. We are curious to see how Phaneuf plugs into the lineup.

16. San Jose Sharks

17. Anaheim Ducks

18. New York Islanders

19. Calgary Flames

20. Carolina Hurricanes

21. Colorado Avalanche

22. Chicago Blackhawks

23. New York Rangers

24. Detroit Red Wings

25. Vancouver Canucks

26. Montreal Canadiens

27. Florida Panthers

28. Ottawa Senators

29. Edmonton Oilers

30. Buffalo Sabres

31. Arizona Coyotes

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