Our sticks are taped, skates laced, and our mouth guards are bobbing in boiling hot water. After a week off, we’re all set and ready to go. We hope your holiday week was as enjoyable as ours was. Lucky enough for you, we kept our eyes on everything hockey over the past two weeks, and we’re here to catch you up on the latest NHL Power Rankings. @BellyUp_KJ, @BellyUpYake, and @BellyUpZachMac, the three wise men, are ready to fill you in on everything you missed while you were filling yourselves with all the foods. Look for Episode 4 of Puck Puck Pass dropping this Friday, where we discuss all things below and more. Let’s get to it!

@BellyUpYake

1. Buffalo

As we talk about on this week’s Puck Puck Pass episode, this team is HOT!!! right now. They have won 10 straight currently and are sitting with a 17-6-2 record leading t he league with 36 points. All the young talent is producing right now. Their ceiling is as high as their floor is low and that is a lot of the reason that this team is so much fun to watch.

2. Toronto

3. Nashville

4. Tampa Bay

5. Colorado

6. Minnesota

7. Washington

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The defending Stanley Cup Champions are finally looking like a team that won last year. With production picking up all the way around the team (looking like its led by the return of  Tom Wilson) this team is going to continue to rise on the lists. As I write this they are currently sporting a 6 game win streak and the question lies at how many games will the streak end?

8. Calgary

9. Boston

10. Columbus

11. San Jose

12. Winnipeg

13. NY Rangers

14. Anaheim

Anaheim is a team that shows why October-November is way to early too judge a team’s season. If you would have asked my a few weeks ago I would say that Ducks were a bottom 5 team at this end of this year, but now I’m looking at a team that could take one of those very open Pacific playoff slots

15. Carolina

16. Montréal

17. Vegas

18. Dallas

19. NY Islanders

20. Detroit

21. Vancouver

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The Canucks are finally showing their true colors. While I stand by they are a fun team to watch they are finally playing at the level that we all assumed they would be. With very little strong veteran leadership in the locker room, they are showing that young talent is not enough to lead the NHL.

22. Pittsburgh

23. Edmonton

24. Ottawa

25. Arizona

26. Chicago

27. New Jersey

28. Florida

29. St. Louis

30. Los Angeles

And that’s it! That’s all 30 teams that deserve to be called NHL Franchises at this moment in the season.

Oh and in DEAD LAST 31. Philadelphiaread my open letter that will be out this week to find out how I feel.

@BellyUP_KJ

1. Toronto Maple Leafs 

The Maple Leafs might not be on the same winning streak the Sabres are on, but they’re still the better team. Now that Matthews is back, they’re basically able to coast to the playoffs. A healthy Toronto, is a cup winning Toronto.. Book it.

2. Nashville Predators

3. Buffalo Sabres

4. Colorado Avalanche

Just in case you thought there was any chance Colorado might fall off, here’s a few insane stats to confirm their dominance: MacKinnon has 18 goals, and Rantanen has assisted on every one of them. The Avs top line has combined for 111 points already, and Mikko Rantanen is an Art Ross and 100+ Assist candidate. Maybe that last part was more prediction than stat but you get it. Watch out for the surging Avalanche. 

5. Tampa Bay Lightning
6. Washington Capitals
7. Columbus Blue Jackets
8. Minnesota Wild
9. Boston Bruins
10. Dallas Stars
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Woah woah woah, relax. Yes, the Dallas Stars are in my top 10. They just beat Calgary on the road, in OT, which is something we haven’t seen much of from the Stars this season. When/if the Stars pull their ish together, they’ll be ready to compete with the best the central division has to offer. Super Seguin and his comrades have the talent, it’s just up to their severely injured blue line to hold it together just long enough to get their top line guys back.

11. Winnipeg Jets
12. Calgary Flames
13. San Jose Sharks
14. Anaheim Ducks
15. Carolina Hurricanes
16. NY Rangers
17. Vegas Golden Knights
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Look out! The Knights are finding their groove, and starting to look more like the defending conference champs more and more. Paul Stasny’s return seems to be on the horizon, which will just be another shot of life for everyone’s favorite misfits. Marc-Andre Fleury is turning back the clock yet again, putting the Knights just a game out of the division lead.

18. Montreal Canadiens
19. NY Islanders
20. Pittsburgh Penguins
21. Detroit Red Wings
22. Edmonton Oilers
23. Vancouver Canucks

My favorite team, from the first few weeks of the season, has forced me to put my foot in my mouth. A 9-game losing streak, and a complete loss of production in all aspects of their game, it’s no surprise to see the Canucks fall into the bottom third. 

24. Chicago Blackhawks
25. Ottawa Senators
26. Florida Panthers
27. Arizona Coyotes
28. New Jersey Devils
29. St. Louis Blues
30. Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers are so damn bad, and the organization is an absolute mess. Just tossing that out there.

31. LA Kings

@BellyUpZachMac

1. BUF Sabres (+14)

2. TB Lightning (–)

3. NSH Predators (-2)

This team has been playing great hockey all season long. Don’t let the fall from the top spot lead you to believe this team is on the way down. I have this team winning the Presidents Trophy and Stanley Cup this year and I’m still sticking by it. The defense is stout and the goaltending is exquisite. Go Preds!

4. WSH Capitals (+12)

5. COL Avalanche (+2)

6. TOR Maple Leafs (-2)

7. CGY Flames (-2)

8. CBJ Blue Jackets (+13)

9. MIN Wild (-6)

10. WPG Jets (-2)

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Rounding out my top 10 is a team that we always need to keep an eye on. The most dynamic team in the league, the Jets can body up or go full out attack if they need to. Laine is the next Ovi and has a real chance to grab Rocket Richard honors by season’s end. This team is absolutely clinical. They won’t beat you by sitting atop the standings all season. They’ll beat because you didn’t see them coming.

11. BOS Bruins (+3)

12. SJ Sharks (–)

13. CAR Hurricanes (+7)

14. NY Rangers (+13)

15. MTL Canadiens (+2)

16. DAL Stars (-6)

17. VGK Golden Knights (+9)

A blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. The Knights find themselves 9 spots ahead of where they were two weeks ago, partly due to their current 4 game win streak. While winning exactly half of their games to this point, there is nothing exciting when watching this team. They’ll catch you sleeping and pounce on your mistakes to capitalize, but nothing too captivating happening in Vegas.

18. PIT Penguins (-5)

19. NY Islanders (-8)

20. ANA Ducks (+3)

21. EDM Oilers (-12)

22. DET Red Wings (+8)

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Ohhh, I’m liking what I’m seeing. The boys in red have been playing much more disciplined as of late, and it looks like they have some structure to what they are trying to accomplish. They’re still young, but they’ve already come a long way, even from the season’s beginning. If they can cut down on the turnovers, this team has a system that looks like it can win games in a consistent manner.

23. OTT Senators (+1)

24. CHI Blackhawks (-6)

25. VAN Canucks (-19)

26. FLA Panthers (+3)

27. ARI Coyotes (-8)

28. NJ Devils (-3)

29. STL Blues (-1)

Love to hate em. The Blues are awful and they are absolutely doing it to themselves. On paper, St. Louis has a team that should be able to compete on most nights with most teams. I’m not saying their championship tier, but they shouldn’t be here. To me, it appears they are suffering from a lack of identity. They don’t have any sort of stigma or mantra to lean on, and they lack the freelance creativity that you need to lean on when you have no identity. If they are not careful, St. Louis can find themselves wasting a lot of talent.

30. PHI Flyers (-8)

31. LA Kings (–)

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**Puck Puck Pass Episode 4 goes live tomorrow morning! We cover a lot of important topics as we get back into the swing of hockey after the holiday week**

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