Updated: March 30, 2015, 1:24 PM ET

A Wild shake


By Pierre LeBrun (posted March 23, 2015)

Time to shake things up for the top spot this week just for the heck of it. I mean, when you've been this hot since Jan. 15, you deserve a shot at the No. 1 spot.

Rk(LW)TeamRec
1
Minnesota
44-25-7
The Wild are 26-6-2 since their turnaround in mid-January, including five straight wins of late. Balanced scoring, air-tight defense and, of course, the steady netminding of Doobie, Doobie, Do!
2
NY Rangers
47-21-7
Dear Blueshirts, who said you were allowed to be human! The Rangers have dropped three out of four games. Two big tests this week: Tuesday at Winnipeg, where they will need earplugs, and Thursday against those red-hot Wild.
3
Anaheim
49-22-7
With a league-leading 105 points, the Presidents' Trophy is in the Ducks' grasp if they keep playing like they are right now: three straight wins to wrap up their Eastern road trip.
4
St. Louis
46-22-7
Suddenly the Blues are singing the ... oh, never mind. Four losses in five games, including a 4-2 stinker at home to Columbus on Saturday.
5
Tampa Bay
46-23-7
The Bolts have a shot at a sweet trick Monday night in Montreal. A win would give them a 5-0-0 sweep over the Habs this season.
6
Montreal
47-21-8
Which is why I can't rank the Canadiens ahead of the Lightning. The Habs need to finally beat Tampa on Monday night for mental purposes given the possibility of a second-round playoff matchup.
7
Chicago
45-24-6
Didn't like what I saw from the Blackhawks last week in losses to Philadelphia and Columbus. But the gritty win Sunday night in the Peg was better. Captain Toews to the rescue!
8
Nashville
47-22-8
They had a four-game win streak (which included wins over Montreal and Tampa) snapped by Calgary on Sunday. Still, looks like the Preds are back on track.
9
Los Angeles
37-24-14
I've seen enough to suggest that the defending champs are on the mend. Big one Monday night at Chicago, though.
10
Winnipeg
39-25-12
The Jets have dropped two of three games, but I thought they still played a heck of a game Sunday at home to Chicago. The Jets are going to be a handful come playoff time. If they make it, that is.
11
Washington
41-25-10
Solid 5-2 win at the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Those are types of W's that garner you some confidence before playoff time.
12
Pittsburgh
42-23-11
Back-to-back wins for a Penguins club that was reeling before that. They've got to keep it going to get their heads straight before the playoffs. If Kris Letang is out long-term, that would obviously be a huge blow. Hopefully not.
13
NY Islanders
45-27-5
Sunday's win over Detroit snapped a three-game skid. The Isles won just four games in March (4-6-3).
14
Detroit
40-23-12
Speaking of a lackluster March, the Wings have won just five times in 14 games (5-8-1) heading into their March finale Monday night versus Ottawa.
15
Boston
38-25-13
What a weekend it was for the Bruins. Wins over the Rangers and Hurricanes, plus some help on the scoreboard, vaulted them back into a playoff spot, where I think they will remain for good.
16
Vancouver
43-27-5
Back-to-back home losses to Colorado and Dallas made a playoff spot a little less secure ahead of a four-game road trip to St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago and Winnipeg. Buckle up, Canucks fans, you'll find out once and for all about your team on this trip.
17
Calgary
41-28-7
Huge win at Nashville on Sunday as the never-say-die Flames continue to defy logic and advanced stats. They're a point up on L.A. with 12 days left in the regular season.
18
Florida
35-26-15
If the Panthers are going to go down, they're going down swinging, that's for sure. They picked up five out of six points through Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa and now get the head-to-head chance they crave Tuesday at Boston. The Panthers are four points back of the B's for the last wild-card spot and play Boston again on April 9 at home.
19
Ottawa
37-26-12
Oh boy, has the bubble burst? Three straight losses and the Senators looked mighty timid doing it, too. They've got to get their mojo back in a hurry. They're three points back of Boston with a game in hand.
20
Columbus
36-35-4
The Jackets are sizzling with nine wins in their past 10 games, including six wins in a row against Western teams (Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Anaheim, Chicago and St. Louis). Too little, too late, but it's a reminder that without the league-leading injuries in the first half, these guys would have been in the playoff conversation.
21
Dallas
37-29-10
The Stars need to figure out, once and for all, whether Kari Lehtonen is their man in goal. That's offseason objective No. 1: Make sense of the goaltending.
22
Colorado
35-28-12
You know, it's not the end of the world for this young Avs team to take a step back this season. The future is still bright. They'll learn from this.
23
San Jose
37-30-9
Going to be an interesting offseason perhaps as the Sharks' 10-season playoff streak appears to be coming to an end.
24
Philadelphia
30-29-17
Give GM Ron Hextall a chance before you judge him. He's from the school of Dean Lombardi. It's going to take time, but I think he's got an idea.
25
Carolina
28-36-11
Only because Ron Francis is about the nicest guy you'll ever meet, would be kind of neat to see the Hurricanes win the Connor McDavid lottery.
26
New Jersey
31-33-12
GM Lou Lamoriello knows this, but this team needs a major overhaul up front in terms of bringing youth to the forefront. A top-10 pick in a deep June draft will be a good first step.
27
Edmonton
22-40-13
You better believe that shutout win over his old team, the Stars, felt good for goalie Richard Bachman on Friday night.
28
Toronto
28-42-6
You can always count on a late-season win over Ottawa by the Leafs no matter what the circumstances, right?
29
Arizona
23-45-8
Here we go again: Sabres-Coyotes, the rubber match. Will Coyotes fans cheer for the Sabres on Monday night?
30
Buffalo
20-47-8
Well, we know Sabres fans would stand up and cheer for this ranking, right? You better believe it.

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