NHL Power Rankings: 30 questions still loom

All the best plays from the week that was in the NHL, including an amazing spin-o-rama by Rangers winger Jesper Fast and more.

With less than two weeks until the puck drops on the Stanley Cup playoffs, we take a giant step back and ask the question most pressing to each of the league’s 30 clubs.

The match-ups are nearly set, and the lottery dreams are recurring with increased frequency. Uncertainty abounds.

Hence, our NHL Power Rankings: 30 Questions Edition.

It’s the questions. (What?) It’s the questions, boy…

Rank Team
1

Crazy consistent, the Rangers should be able to secure home ice throughout the playoffs, but how much does that matter when five other Eastern teams have as many wins at home as they do?

Previous: 1

2

The resurrected Wild had a better record in March (11-3-0) than any other NHL team, but will Minny’s heavy reliance on Devan Dubnyk wear the dude out in the playoffs?

Previous: 6

3

As Patrick Kane skates this week with the team for the first time since his injury, will he be rushed back into the lineup if the Blackhawks stumble into the playoffs?

Previous: 4

4

Making due with a bandaged blueline for the bulk of the season, can the Lightning return to full health (or close to it) and be the Eastern Conference finalist so many expect it to be?

Previous: 2

5

Can a 105-point team with a modest plus-11 goal differential (just 16th best in a rather telling category) continue to rely on one-goal wins and shootout points in the playoffs?

Previous: 7

6

With Vancouver only out-shooting its opponents by 0.2 shots per game, can the combination of an unproven Eddie Lack and a recovering Ryan Miller really get the Canucks into the second or third round?

Previous: 10

7

Will the Predators’ knack for coming from behind to win (a league-best 25 comeback wins this season) help them in the playoffs, when traditionally the first goal means so much more?

Previous: 9

8

A Central Division crown is still within reach, but does a so-so record of late (4-4-2 in their 10) serve as a bad omen for the post-season and the future of Ken Hitchcock?

Previous: 3

9

If Carey Price — this club’s MVP times a million — goes cold or gets hurt, is there any way Montreal can outscore a playoff opponent? Seriously?

Previous: 5

10

Can someone please re-send the memo to Columbus — 11-4-0 in March, best month in club history — that teams eliminated from the post-season are supposed to tank and press up “funny” McDavid sweaters?

Previous: 20

11

Will the voters get off the “Carey Price is God” sauce and give Alex Ovechkin the MVP after he improved his plus/minus by 49 points and became just the sixth NHLer ever to score 50 goals in six seasons?

Previous: 12

12

After the Bruins finally wrap up a wild-card spot, will second-line forwards Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak become playoff darkhorse stars?

Previous: 19

13

The Bruins just look too serious… so, has the magic worn off the burger guy? Even if it hasn’t, what do the Sens do with their goaltending trio this summer?

Previous: 8

14

After consecutive losses to real playoff teams Chicago and Minnesota by an aggregate score of 8-2, is this the year Darryl Sutter’s bunch runs out of rally?

Previous: 11

15

When will they quit?

Previous: 15

16

Considering both the Penguins and Islanders — neck and neck as the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the Metropolitan — are significantly better on home ice, does their likely first-round series rest on which team grabs that No. 2 seed?

Previous: 14

17

Are we reading too much into what’s shaping up to be Jason Spezza’s weakest season as a goal-scorer (17) since 2002-03?

Previous: 16

18

Instead of this team that has won just two of its last nine, can Long Island get the Isles of October back?

Previous: 18

19

With the Jets’ most impactful player, Dustin Byfuglien, set to miss the season’s most important games, how will Winnipeg react if his suspension helps rob the city of its first playoff series in 20 years?

Previous: 13

20

Has a relatively secure playoff position for pretty much the entire regular season resulted in a sub-par finish? And will Pavel Datsyuk please stay healthy?

Previous: 17

21

Where do we go from here?

Previous: 23

22

How many more 20-goal seasons (16 and counting) does 37-year-old Jarome Iginla have in him? Two?

Previous: 21

23

Can sniper Brandon Pirri (21 goals, two assists) keep avoiding helpers and hold on to win the Cy Young at 21-2?

Previous: 22

24

We understand him wanting to rest his knee, but how nice would it have been for Steve Mason to shine as Team Canada’s goalie at the world championships?

Previous: 25

25

With so much young forward talent, if Edmonton wins, say, the No. 2 pick in the draft, do they trade down a spot or two to get a defenceman like Noah Hanifin?

Previous: 26

26

From Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to three consecutive missed post-seasons: How many years will it take to rebuild this franchise into a legitimate contender?

Previous: 24

27

If the Maple Leafs win consecutive games in a forest, does anybody hear?

Previous: 29

28

Will Carolina do the smart thing (tank-wise) and lose its next three games — Florida, Philadelphia, Buffalo — even though they’re all winnable?

Previous: 27

29

GM Tim Murray on Connor McDavid: “I watch him too much and I think too much about him.” So… who wants to remove all sharp things from Mr. Murray’s office on lottery ball night?

Previous: 30

30

With 21 goals (seven of them game-winners) from the blueline, is there any doubt that Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the greatest bright spot in a season where they’re dogging it in the desert?

Previous: 28