The Buffalo Sabres are suddenly the hottest offensive team in the NHL.
It shouldn't come as a huge shock. The Sabres have been a middle of the pack or better scoring team all season. Still, Buffalo isn't the first team you'd associate with 24 goals in eight games.
The hot streak couldn't come at a better time. Winners of eight straight, Buffalo faces Ottawa twice and Carolina in the next six days. By next week we could be looking at a new leader in the Northeast Division, and a new king of the Power Rankings.
(Records and rankings through Friday, March 17.)
4. Ottawa Senators (44-15-6; Previous: 4) – The Dominator pulled one from the Terminator's arsenal, issuing an "I'll be back" proclamation. Take your time, Dominik.
5. Dallas Stars (44-19-3; Previous: 3) – Dallas finally figured out the Kings Thursday. It's a possible first-round playoff matchup and, before the latest meeting, Los Angeles held a 4-1-1 advantage in the season series.
7. Nashville Predators (39-19-8; Previous: 12) – The Preds have allowed just three goals since acquiring defenseman Brendan Witt, and two of those were scored after he was kicked out of his Nashville debut.
12. Calgary Flames (37-20-8; Previous: 15) – Everyone is calling out Calgary for not acquiring a new center for Jarome Iginla at the trade deadline. Now it's up to Daymond Langkow, Matthew Lombardi and Stephane Yelle to prove everyone wrong.
13. Los Angeles Kings (36-27-5; Previous: 14) – It has been so long since this team was healthy that it's hard to remember how good they were in December.
14. Vancouver Canucks (36-26-6; Previous: 11) – Vancouver gets Detroit and then Edmonton three times next week. Hard not to pick the Canucks as the current playoff team that will drop out.
15. Montreal Canadiens (31-25-9; Previous: 13) – Atlanta is charging fast, but beginning Saturday, Montreal embarks on a stretch of 10 straight games against the bottom six teams in the conference.
16. San Jose Sharks (32-23-9; Previous: 18) – After winning the first four games of a crucial six-game homestand, the Sharks will probably settle for a split against Dallas and Colorado on back-to-back days.
17. Anaheim Mighty Ducks (32-21-12; Previous: 16) – Hard to believe – in retrospect, of course – that Ducks GM Brian Burke had to apologize for trading Sergei Fedorov for defenseman Francois Beauchemin.
18. Atlanta Thrashers (32-28-6; Previous: 19) – Since Feb. 8, Atlanta has defeated Ottawa, Buffalo and the Rangers (twice).
19. Florida Panthers (27-30-9; Previous: 20) – After locking up Chris Gratton and Olli Jokinen with long-term deals, the Panthers went out and swept Carolina in back-to-back games. Impressive, but too little, too late.
21. Minnesota Wild (31-29-7; Previous: 21) – With only eight players under contract for next season, accounting for just $13 million in salary, the Wild have a lot of work to do on next year's roster. Might as well start thinking about it now.
22. New York Islanders (31-31-4; Previous: 27) – Back-to-back losses against Atlanta and Florida – teams New York is battling for the eighth playoff spot – dealt the Isles' postseason dreams a huge blow.
24. St. Louis Blues (20-33-11; Previous: 24) – Hopefully Curtis Sanford's injury won't rob this team of the momentum it was building toward the off-season. St. Louis still looks like next year's quick turnaround team.
25. Columbus Blue Jackets (26-38-3; Previous: 23) – Columbus has led or been tied in the third period in each of its last five losses.
27. Phoenix Coyotes (30-33-4; Previous: 25) – After five losses in seven games, players are beginning to question coach Wayne Gretzky's constant shuffling of lines.
30. Pittsburgh Penguins (16-38-12; Previous: 30) – Somehow, Pittsburgh isn't mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet