Zegras Milano

Photo Credit: Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Bruce Boudreau sparks the Canucks, the Oilers and Flames are suddenly slumping, and Trevor Zegras breaks the internet.

8. Seattle Kraken (9-15-3)

Last week: 7

After two weeks of riding high in the seventh spot, Seattle is back at the bottom of our rankings.

A four-game homestand that began in promising fashion with a win over the Edmonton Oilers ended in three straight losses in which the Kraken were outscored 14-5. We’ll give them some credit for fighting back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period of Saturday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets to get a point, but not enough credit to keep them from sliding back down to eighth.

This week: @ SJ, @ ANA, VS EDM, VS TOR

7. Vancouver Canucks (12-15-2)

Last week: 8

Bruce Boudreau has quickly endeared himself to the locals in Vancouver by winning his first four games behind the bench. The Canucks have looked like a completely different team under him.

Whether it lasts or whether it’s a short-term boost from a coaching change remains to be seen, but Canucks fans haven’t had a lot to celebrate recently, so they’ll enjoy this while they can. The vibes in Vancouver are better than they’ve been in a long time.

This week: VS CBJ, @ SJ, VS TOR, VS ARI

6. San Jose Sharks (15-12-1)

Last week: 6

The Sharks began a stretch of games last week where they’ll play seven straight at home and nine of 10 to close out December. They’re off to a decent start, picking up wins over the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars while losing to the Minnesota Wild.

Tomáš Hertl’s career-high in goals is 35. He’s looking like he wants to change that this year. After scoring a hat trick against Calgary earlier in the week, his goal against Dallas on Saturday was already his 14th in just 28 games this season.

This week: VS SEA, VS VAN

5. LA Kings (12-10-4)

Last week: 5

After opening the week with a tough loss to the Vancouver Boudreau’s, the LA Kings bounced back with impressive wins over the Stars and Wild to put some wind in their sails as they head out East for a tough road trip.

In his first game back from suspension, Brendan Lemieux scored the game-winning goal against Minnesota on Saturday.

That’s the good news. The bad news is, already having lost Sean Walker for the season, the Kings’ blue line also lost Alex Edler to what looked like an ugly ankle injury on Saturday. We haven’t been given much information about it yet, but Todd McLellan confirmed after the game that Edler won’t be playing anytime soon.

This week: @ TB, @ FLA, @ CAR, @ WSH

4. Edmonton Oilers (16-10-0)

Last week: 2

The Oilers have hit turbulence for the first time this season.

After a 16-5-0 start in which they never lost consecutive games, Edmonton has now dropped five in a row. They’re averaging fewer than two goals for per game during this streak.

By their standards, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been relatively quiet over these last five games. McDavid has a goal and four assists, while Draisaitl has two goals and two assists. That’s not bad for mortals, but though they’ve combined for nine points over these five games, the Oilers have only scored eight goals.

Perhaps this is a reminder that this team can only contend if McDavid and Draisaitl are playing like the two best players in the world.

This week: VS TOR, VS CBJ, @ SEA

3. Anaheim Ducks (16-9-5)

Last week: 4

Anaheim reaches a new high in our rankings so far this season after surviving a tough five-game road trip over the course of just seven days, managing to go 3-1-1 on it.

I think you knew which highlight was showing up in the Ducks section this week. You’ve surely seen it a million times already, but I don’t think you’ll mind seeing this again…

This week: VS SEA, VS ARI

2. Calgary Flames (15-7-6)

Last week: 1

Edmonton isn’t the only Alberta team in a slump.

Like the Oilers, the Flames have also dropped five straight games, though they’ve at least managed to pick up a couple of loser points along the way. They’ve been good at that this year, especially at home, where they now boast a 4-3-4 record. They’re tied for the league lead with six overtime/shootout losses.

Calgary’s recent on-ice struggles aren’t all, though. On Monday, the NHL announced that the team’s next three games are being postponed due to six players and a staff member being placed in COVID-19 protocol.

This week @ CHI (PPD), @ NSH (PPD), VS TOR (PPD), VS CBJ

1. Vegas Golden Knights (16-11-0)

Last week: 3

The Golden Knights haven’t been at the top of our rankings all season, but the recent struggles of the Oilers and Flames left us with no choice this week.

Sunday’s 6-4 win over the Wild capped off a 3-1-0 homestand for Vegas. The Knights offense has been on fire in December. They’ve scored at least three goals in all six games they’ve played and are averaging 4.83 per game.

Mark Stone has been a huge part of that. He’s riding an eight-game point streak in which he’s recorded 13 points (4-9-13).

This week: @ BOS, @ NJ, @ NYR, @ NYI

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