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Jan 15, 2022; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers right wing Patric Hornqvist (70) celebrates with defenseman Brandon Montour (62) and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, we’ll discuss and rank the “good” teams (the ones making some legitimate noise), as well as the “bad” teams (the ones that are so bad they’re actually worth talking about) and a few teams stuck in the middle. You know, the teams that aren’t quite good enough to be relevant but aren’t bad enough to be irrelevant either? The dreaded No Man’s Land.

The Good

1. Florida Panthers (Last week: No. 2): The Panthers are back in the top spot this week and there wasn’t much debate over who deserved the throne. They’re absolutely lighting it up offensively as of late, scoring 50 goals in their last eight games. They’ve got points in nine of the last 10 and sport the league’s best points percentage and goal differential. Easy call.

2. Colorado Avalanche (LW: 3): Colorado has won 11 of its last 13 games dating back to Dec. 6th, and it also has a league-best goal differential of plus-25 in that timeframe. This team continues to rise, and it’s hard not to feel like it’s still hunting that top spot.

3. Carolina Hurricanes (LW: 1): The Canes move down a couple of spots but that’s more of a product of the two teams ahead of them than it is a product of their own performance. Outside of an ugly 6-0 loss against the Blue Jackets last week, Carolina has still looked good, and there’s not a ton of reason to think of that game as anything other than an off night.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs (LW: 4): They’ve been somewhat inconsistent lately, but I guess I can overlook a loss to the Coyotes when it came on the tail end of a back-to-back and their only other losses over their previous 10 came against the Avalanche (in OT) and the Lightning.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning (LW: 5): Three straight wins for the Bolts last week keeps them right alongside the Panthers for most points in the NHL, but I’m not rushing to bump them up considering those wins came against pretty bad teams. That being said, I also can’t punish them for getting the results they should have gotten.

6. St. Louis Blues (LW: 6): They came a bit unglued in a loss to the Maple Leafs over the weekend, but St. Louis only allowed three total goals in its previous three games. The only other team they’ve lost to since the start of the new year is the Penguins, who have been one of the league’s hottest teams. It’s worth keeping an eye on what Ville Husso can be for this team between the pipes after his two excellent recent starts.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins (LW: 9): A blowout loss to the Kings soiled what was an otherwise strong California road trip last week, but it’s still worth bumping them up a few slots because they’ve won 12 of their last 14 games.

8. New York Rangers (LW: 7): I’ll be honest…I’m typically not a guy who gets offended by All-Star selections or snubs, but the fact that Igor Shesterkin – the best goalie in the league this season – isn’t heading to Vegas is just absurd. The system is clearly flawed.

9. Boston Bruins (LW: Not ranked): This is the first time Boston has cracked the top 10 all season, but it’s hard to overlook what they’ve done recently. The Bruins have won eight of nine since New Year’s Day, are getting contributions up and down the lineup and have welcomed Tuukka Rask back into the fold. They looked rather mediocre in the first half but they’re potential second-half risers.

10. Nashville Predators (LW: 10): As of Monday, the Predators are still tied for the most standings points in the Western Conference, but they lost two straight to close out last week. I’ve still been impressed by their recent body of work, but I’m not convinced it’s sustainable (at least without Juuse Saros performing at an elite level), and I’d keep an eye on a rising Wild team to potentially seize this spot next week.

DROPPED OUT: Vegas Golden Knights (LW: 7), Capitals (LW: 8), Calgary Flames (LW: 9).

The Bad

32. Montreal Canadiens (Last week: 31): All hail your new basement kings! The Canadiens continue to come apart at the seams with just one win in their last 13 games. Their goal differential (minus-55) is sinking dangerously close to Arizona’s league-worst mark. Also, get a load of this hilarious stat I came across on Twitter the other day: The Panthers have scored 50 goals in their last eight games while Montreal has 76 goals all season.

31. Arizona Coyotes (LW: 32): They’ve got to be furious that Montreal accidentally ended up being worse than them and are jeopardizing their shot at the top pick.

30. Seattle Kraken (LW: 30): Nine losses in a row (and counting). That’s not good!

29. Buffalo Sabres (LW: 28): At least Buffalo still has the Bills.

28. Ottawa Senators (LW: 29): This feels a little mean considering the Senators came back from a lengthy layoff and won two straight games (and have six wins over their last 10), but the overall body of work means I have to keep them in the bottom five for now.

No Man’s Land

Washington Capitals (Last week: 8): Two weeks ago the Capitals were in the top three, now they’ve fallen all the way to this designation. That’s how important goaltending can be in this league, as the Caps have seen massive inconsistencies from the guys setting up in the crease this season. That’s probably something that they’re going to need to address at some point soon if they don’t want to continue falling out of favor in a competitive Metro division.

Calgary Flames (Last week: NR): Calgary had a great opportunity to snap a three-game losing streak last week when it played the Senators, one of the league’s worst teams coming off a lengthy COVID break. Instead, Ottawa snagged a 4-1 win, and the Flames continued on an uninspiring path. Things are getting worse, as they’ve now got just two wins over their last 10. If they don’t start figuring it out soon, they may be an interesting team to keep an eye on as buyers or sellers at the deadline.

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