NHL power rankings: Panic time in Toronto
It took a while, but veteran power forward Jarome Iginla finally became an elite finisher for the Bruins during his first season in Boston.
He scored 13 goals and added four assists in 17 games in March. He filled a void in the Bruins offense and helped make a very good team greater.
"It’s been fun but it’s one of those things to don’t really expect," Iginla told Boston reporters. "I’ve gotten some good bounces, some great passes from my linemates and as a line we’ve had some fun. But bigger than that it’s been a great month for our team and we’ve all benefited from that."
Iginla is one big reason why Boston remains atop our Power Rankings. Here is how the NHL pecking order shakes out:
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GOOD NEWS: Center Patrice Bergeron, known more for his playmaking, scored goals in seven consecutive games.
BAD NEWS: There is none, really, after a 15-1-1 March.
BOTTOM LINE: The Bruins will have the luxury of resting assorted veterans while coasting to the top Eastern Conference playoff seed.
GOOD NEWS: Winger T.J. Oshie scored four goals and added two assists in three games last week.
BAD NEWS: They fell flat during a 4-2 loss to Dallas at home, ending their three-game winning streak in messy fashion.
BOTTOM LINE: The Blues hope to exploit a favorable late schedule to win the Presidents Trophy and the top playoff seed.
GOOD NEWS: They converted 6-of-11 power plays during a three-game stretch.
BAD NEWS: Their race to the top of the Pacific Division stalled during a 1-2-2 slump.
BOTTOM LINE: The Sharks played 15 games in 28 days and still finished March with a 9-3-3 record.
GOOD NEWS: Goaltender Sergei Varlamov stopped 105-of-113 shots during a three-game winning streak.
BAD NEWS: Top center Matt Duchene is sidelined well into the playoffs with a disastrous knee injury.
BOTTOM LINE: The Avalanche will need even more from Paul Stastny and Nathan MacKinnon to overcome this injury.
GOOD NEWS: Forward Bryan Bickell returned to action after missing six games with an upper-body injury.
BAD NEWS: Top forwards Patrick Kane (lower body) and a Jonathan Toews (upper body) suffered late-season injuries.
BOTTOM LINE: The defending Stanley Cup champions just want to get healthy for postseason play.
GOOD NEWS: They scored the greatest comeback in team history, rallying from a 4-0 deficit to defeat Winnipeg 5-4.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Jonas Hiller posted a sub-par .889 save percentage in his first eight games in March.
BOTTOM LINE: The Ducks set a franchise record for most victories in a season. But they will need to clean up their defensive play and goaltending to last long in the playoffs.
GOOD NEWS: In his first 11 March starts, goaltender Jonathan Quick was 9-2-0 with a .924 save percentage.
BAD NEWS: They blew two leads in home-ice loss to Minnesota. That ended a six-game winning streak.
BOTTOM LINE: With Quick locked in for the Kings, San Jose and Anaheim can’t feel great about potential matchups against Los Angeles.
8 Penguins 48-23-5
GOOD NEWS: Marc-Andre Fleury stepped up with a 1.52 GAA during a four-game stretch.
BAD NEWS: Evgeni Malkin’s foot injury shelved him for the final stretch of the regular season.
BOTTOM LINE: A litany of injuries contributed to a three-game losing streak, but the Penguins should still earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conferences.
GOOD NEWS: Backup goaltender Cam Talbot has three shutouts this season.
BAD NEWS: Key forward Chris Kreider is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgical repairs on his hand injury.
BOTTOM LINE: The Rangers solidified their Eastern Conference standing by winning six of seven games down the stretch.
GOOD NEWS: Center Vincent Lecavalier scored three goals in his first two games as the No. 4 center.
BAD NEWS: The Flyers aren’t paying him $4.75 million to anchor the fourth line.
BOTTOM LINE: They are chasing the New York Rangers for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
GOOD NEWS: Goaltender Ben Bishop got back on track with a 7-0-1 stretch.
BAD NEWS: Their penalty-killing unit ranks 23rd in the league. That won’t do come playoff time.
BOTTOM LINE: The Lightning maintained their solid playoff positioning with an 11-game (7-0-4) point streak.
GOOD NEWS: Winger Max Pacioretty scored five times in a five-game span to reach the 35-goal plateau this season.
BAD NEWS: Forward Lars Eller scored just two points and earned a minus-10 rating in 11 March games.
BOTTOM LINE: They have gotten hot at the right time, winning eight times in nine games.
GOOD NEWS: Center Mikko Koivu regained his stride, scoring seven points (goal, six assists) during a five-game surge.
BAD NEWS: Former All-Star Dany Heatley has played his way all the way out of the lineup.
BOTTOM LINE: A comeback victory at Los Angeles solidified the Wild’s playoff standing.
GOOD NEWS: They opened a late five-game road trip with a hallmark 4-2 victory at St. Louis.
BAD NEWS: Top center Tyler Seguin saw his 11-game point streak end.
BOTTOM LINE: The Stars made a push for the last Western Conference playoff slot by winning four of five games.
GOOD NEWS: Goaltender Thomas Greiss went 2-1 with a .927 save percentage in his first three starts filling in for the injured Mike Smith.
BAD NEWS: Smith remains sidelined with his knee injury.
BOTTOM LINE: The Coyotes have their hands full fending off the Dallas Stars for the second wild-card playoff slot in the Western Conference.
GOOD NEWS: Veteran forward Henrik Zetterberg, on the mend from back surgery, hopes to resume playing if the Red Wings reach postseason play.
BAD NEWS: Top center Pavel Datsyuk is still struggling with chronic knee pain.
BOTTOM LINE: Against all odds, the Red Wings kept their playoff quest alive with younger players like Gustav Nyquist (nine goals in six games) assuming bigger roles.
GOOD NEWS: Forward Troy Brouwer scored five points during a three-game stretch.
BAD NEWS: Top winger Alexander Ovechkin failed to score a point four times in five games.
BOTTOM LINE: The Capitals have the firepower to earn the last wild-card berth, but they must regain their touch in shootouts. They suffered a 1-7 slump in those skill competitions.
GOOD NEWS: They finally have their impact scorer in Ryan Johansen, who hit the 30-goal plateau after scoring just 14 times in his previous two seasons combined.
BAD NEWS: They complicated their playoff quest by losing three of four home games.
BOTTOM LINE: Their resilience will get a test as they play eight times in a 12-day span.
GOOD NEWS: They remain alive in the playoff race despite suffering their worst pointless streak since 1996.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Jonathan Bernier allowed four goals in each of his first three games back from a groin muscle strain.
BOTTOM LINE: The Canadian media is treating Toronto’s late-season collapse as a national tragedy.
GOOD NEWS: After going four games without a point, center Travis Zajac scored three goals and added an assist in a 6-3 victory over Florida.
BAD NEWS: In that game power forward Ryane Clowe had a rare three-point game cut short by injury.
BOTTOM LINE: This proud franchise remains in contention for another postseason berth.
GOOD NEWS: Center Kyle Turris scored four goals, earned three assists and posted a plus-7 rating in four games last week.
BAD NEWS: Top winger Bobby Ryan finished the season on the disabled list after undergoing sports hernia surgery.
BOTTOM LINE: The Senators won four of five games to stay (barely) alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
GOOD NEWS: Forward David Booth came to life with four points in a three-game span.
BAD NEWS: Coach John Tortorella is fighting to keep his job after a disastrous first season in Vancouver.
BOTTOM LINE: The Canucks are clinging to their statistical life in the Western Conference wild-card race.
GOOD NEWS: Winger Patric Hornqvist scored four goals and added four assists during a five-game scoring streak.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Pekka Rinne has been awful since returning from his hip injury. He posted a 3.34 goals-against average in March and a .884 save percentage.
BOTTOM LINE: That failure sent the Predators careening out of the wild-card playoff race.
GOOD NEWS: Forward Blake Wheeler is finishing fast. He scored 13 points in a span of nine games.
BAD NEWS: They scored two or fewer goals seven times in 10 road games.
BOTTOM LINE: Their slim playoff hopes faded when they blew a four-goal lead at Anaheim.
GOOD NEWS: Forward Jeff Skinner scored goals in four consecutive games to reach the 30-goal plateau.
BAD NEWS: Somehow their power play ranks 29th in the NHL.
BOTTOM LINE: Wholesale change awaits the Hurricanes with GM Jim Rutherford likely to hand daily control of the hockey operation to Ron Francis.
GOOD NEWS: Rookie Sean Monahan snapped an 11-game scoring drought while burying his 20th goal of the season.
BAD NEWS: Goaltender Karri Ramo went 1-3-1 with a 2.99 GAA during a five-game road stretch.
BOTTOM LINE: The Flames made offensive progress this season, but they have a ways to go in their own zone.
GOOD NEWS: They salvaged some pride with a belated 5-2-1 upturn.
BAD NEWS: They are playing out the string without injured stars John Tavares (torn MCL), Kyle Okposo (lower body) and Lubomir Visnovsky (upper body).
BOTTOM LINE: Hapless owner Charles Wang is negotiating to sell the team. Perhaps this franchise will get its act together in time for its Brooklyn move.
GOOD NEWS: Newcomer David Perron has been as good advertised, scoring 26 goals in his first 71 games for Edmonton.
BAD NEWS: The Oilers allowed five or more goals three times in a four-game span.
BOTTOM LINE: They keep rolling over for coach Dallas Eakins. Can this once-mighty franchise really give him a second season?
GOOD NEWS: Newcomer Brandon Pirri scored eight points in his first 15 games since arriving from the Blackhawks in a key trade.
BAD NEWS: The league’s worst special teams â ranking dead last in both penalty killing and the power play â aren’t getting any better.
BOTTOM LINE: Their fade into the sunset continued with six losses during a span of seven games.
GOOD NEWS: This much-suffering team gained some long-range stability with coach Ted Nolan’s contract extension.
BAD NEWS: It is difficult to beat anybody scoring 1.84 goals per game.
BOTTOM LINE: They lost 11-of-12 games while staggering toward the finish line. Their season can’t end soon enough.