It's hard to remember a National Hockey League outdoor game that was as thrilling — or had more goals — than Sunday's tilt between the New York Islanders and Rangers at MetLife Stadium. The former is subjective, but the latter isn't; the 11 goals scored in the contest is the most in the history of the 41-game event. The Blueshirts made an electric comeback in front of the 79,690 in attendance, erasing a late 5-3 Isles lead and winning ten seconds into overtime on a spectacular Artemi Panarin GWG. It was a fantastic NHL Stadium Series game from start to finish.

“The atmosphere was electric,” the Russian superstar said afterwards. “It was something I can’t compare anything else to. I had to hold back tears because it was that much of a spectacle. Once again I have to thank the fans for giving it that electric feeling and wave of emotion.”

Sunday afternoon's festivities were precluded by another entertaining game, this time between the Flyers and Devils less than 24 hours before. That one was full of scoring as well, with Nico Daws and New Jersey beating Samuel Ersson and Philadelphia 6-3 in the battle of the rookie goalies. Gary Bettman and the league probably couldn't have asked for a better 2024 NHL Stadium Series, and both matchups reminded us why we love the game — and the ODR. The 2025 iteration will pit the Blue Jackets and Red Wings against one another at Ohio Stadium next March.

Not to be overshadowed over the weekend was legend Jaromir Jagr having his No. 68 retired by the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a touching ceremony for a player who won two consecutive Stanley Cups with the franchise between 1991-92, and along with Mario Lemieux, created one of the greatest duos in hockey. The second-leading scorer in NHL history has continued to play professionally outside the league over the age of 50 (!), and he's undoubtably one of the all-time greats.

After a bit of a lull for some teams out of the All-Star break, most are playing either three or four games every week down the stretch. With only two months left, every contest is becoming critical for those in the hunt, and we're starting to see a playoff atmosphere across the league — which is just how it should be. And for the second straight time, there's a new team at the peak of the ClutchPoints NHL Power Rankings mountain. Let's get into it.

Previous 2023-24 NHL Power Rankings: Week 18 | Week 17 | Week 16 | Week 15 | Week 14 | Week 13 | Week 12 | Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3Week 2 | Week 1

1. Florida Panthers (+2) 

The Panthers can no longer be denied the No. 1 spot in ClutchPoints' NHL Power Rankings. Debuting just inside the top-10 back in Week 1, Florida's standing has fluctuated throughout the season. But they've found a completely different gear since the end of January, losing just once since Jan. 22 and winning five consecutive times to surge into first place in the Eastern Conference. The Cats are just four points behind the Canucks in the President's Trophy race with a game in hand, but look like the more dangerous club as of late. That was on full display in a 9-2 beatdown of the Lightning on Saturday, which improved their record to a phenomenal 36-15-4 through 55 games. The Panthers won the league in 2022 with 58 victories, and would need to triumph 22 of 27 times to match that incredible feat. It's unlikely, but the way things are going in South Beach, not impossible.

2. Vancouver Canucks (no change)

Although the Panthers and Bruins swapped places, the Canucks remain in the No. 2 spot for a second straight week. Things were going swimmingly after consecutive wins over the Blackhawks (4-2) and Wings (4-1), but Connor Hellebuyck outduelled Thatcher Demko in the battle of the Vezina Trophy frontrunners on Saturday night. Winnipeg beat Vancouver 4-2, but the Nucks remain a ridiculous 37-13-6 and first place in league standings. They're back in action in Minnesota on Monday afternoon, the first of a three-game road trip that'll also take them through Colorado and Seattle in Week 19.

3. Boston Bruins (-2)

The Bruins were starting to show warning signs after brutal losses to the Flames and Capitals at home in Week 17, and the struggles continued in Week 18. Boston lost three more games to make it four consecutive defeats — just the second time that's happened this season. No longer do the B's lead the Eastern Conference, watching the red hot Cats usurp them. Although the Bruins got past regulation in two of their three games last week, it was still three Ls to the Lighting, Kraken and Kings, all at home. The finale was a brutal blown lead against Los Angeles, and the crowd at TD Garden is fed up. We'll see if this club can right the ship when the Stars visit TD Garden on Monday.

4. New York Rangers (+2)

 the New York Rangers celebrates the winning goal by New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) against the New York Islanders during the overtime period in a Stadium Series ice hockey game at MetLife Stadium
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Make it seven wins in a row for the Rangers after Sunday's incredible Stadium Series comeback. That gives NY some breathing room over Carolina — the lead in the Metropolitan Division is up to six points as of Monday. Blake Wheeler's injury is extremely disappointing for both player and club, but the wins just keep piling up for a Blueshirts team that is eying the top of the Eastern Conference table with two months left. Besides the outdoor game triumph, the Rangers also beat the Canadiens and Flames, again looking like a powerhouse ahead of a four-game week that begins against the Stars on Tuesday.

5. Edmonton Oilers (-1)

The Oilers have been playing .500 hockey since their incredible 16-game win streak was snapped by the Golden Knights on Feb. 6. That's not ideal, and cost Edmonton a spot in the NHL Power Rankings. Nothing to be too concerned about in Alberta; the team is still 32-18-1 and occupying the No. 3 slot in the Pacific Division. They also finished the week strong with a 4-3 OT win over Dallas, and have three games in hand on Vegas, who are just three points ahead. The Canucks seem poised to win the division with a 12-point lead, but if Edmonton goes on another streak, who knows? Connor McDavid's team will need to play at a better pace than the last two weeks, though, starting with a tilt in the desert against the Coyotes on Monday afternoon.

6. Dallas Stars (-1)

The Stars destroyed the Predators for their third straight win on Thursday, with Matt Duchene snapping for three points against the team that bought him out in a 9-2 Dallas win. That must have felt amazing for the veteran. This team should have remained in the top-five of the NHL Power Rankings, but my hands were tied after Evan Bouchard scored the overtime winner on Saturday. Although the Stars remain 10 points ahead of the Oil, Edmonton has four games in hand. Still, it's back to the top of the division in Texas, with a three point lead on the Avalanche as of Monday. A successful four-game road trip would certainly put this squad back into the top-five, but it will be tough sledding against the Bruins, Rangers, Senators and Hurricanes in Week 19.

7. Winnipeg Jets (no change)

After an abysmal couple of games on either side of the All-Star break, the Jets have come out of the funk in impressive fashion. Winnipeg has won three straight dating back to Feb. 10, remaining in third place in the Central but holding games in hand on both the Avs and Stars, as well as the most regulation and overtime wins (ROW) of the trio. Saturday's win over the Canucks in Vancouver was impressive, as was Hellebuyck between the pipes. He was great in that contest, and was masterful in back-to-back wins during the week; a 1-0 shutout win over the Sharks and 2-1 victory over the Penguins. The 30-year-old is just a brick wall back there, and gives his team a chance to win every single night. Back to work in Calgary on Monday.

8. Carolina Hurricanes (+1)

The Hurricanes are playing great hockey in 2024, but are having a tough time making up any ground on the red hot Rangers. Still, Carolina has won four of five since Feb. 8, including two statement wins. One was a 5-2 victory over the Avalanche, the other a 3-1 triumph over Adin Hill and the Golden Knights to end the week on Saturday. The latter was the second half of a back-to-back; the Canes also beat the Coyotes 5-1 in the desert the night before. The big news in Raleigh was Frederik Andersen returning to the ice, which is a huge win after the blood clotting issue he's dealt with this year. In his absence, it's been Pyotr Kochetkov stepping up lately, although Spencer Martin has also been solid in a small sample size. Look for Carolina to stay right with New York the rest of the way.

9. Colorado Avalanche (-1)

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) celebrates wth Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) after their game against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Hard to believe the Avalanche are down to No. 9 in the NHL Power Rankings, especially after they flirted with the top-five for nearly the entire first half of the 2023-24 season. Colorado was able to snap out of a rare four-game funk, winning two of three games last week to stay No. 2 in the Central. But this pace isn't going to win the division, especially with how good the Stars and Jets have been as of late. Still, the Avs scored a lot of goals in Week 18, beating the Capitals and Coyotes, 6-3 and 4-3, respectively, while losing 6-3 to the Bolts in the middle. Now is the perfect time for a bit of a run in Denver, and that'll run through Nathan MacKinnon. He keeps making history after recording a point in his 26th straight home game to start the season. That is just ridiculous, and he continues to chase Nikita Kucherov for the Art Ross Trophy.

10. Tampa Bay Lightning (+1)

The Lightning had one of the hardest stretches in hockey in Week 18, playing a gauntlet of a three-game set against the Bruins, Avalanche and Panthers. And things were progressing to plan after Kucherov and co. took out the Eastern Conference leaders in a shootout on Tuesday. Tampa earned another impressive win two nights later, sending Colorado home empty-handed after a 6-3 triumph. Could the Bolts really go 3-for-3 against a trio of the NHL's best? No, they could not. Instead, they were part of the reason Florida is now leading ClutchPoints' NHL Power Rankings. The Lightning gave up a touchdown and then some in a brutal 9-2 shellacking. On the plus side, it's just one game, and the schedule gets a lot easier — a LOT easier — in Week 19 and beyond.

11. Vegas Golden Knights (-1)

The Knights played just two games last week, and weren't able to secure a single point. After snapping Edmonton's streak and following it up with a nice win over the flailing Coyotes, Vegas looked ready to drive on. Instead, they lost back-to-back games to the Wild on Monday and Hurricanes on Saturday, watching their lead over the Oilers for No. 2 in the Pacific decrease to just three. Could these two heavyweights really meet in the first round? It would be a treat for hockey fans after Vegas took out Edmonton in the second-round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Shea Theodore could make his return this week, which would be monumental, although Jack Eichel remains out for the foreseeable future.

12. Toronto Maple Leafs (+1)

We are watching prime Auston Matthews in 2023-24, a once-in-a-generation type goal scorer playing the best hockey of his career. ‘Papi Matthews' is up to a just impossible 48 goals — and 71 points — in 52 games. That included back-to-back hat tricks in wins over the Flyers and Ducks, earning him even more NHL history as the storybook season continues for No. 34. He's the first player with back-to-back three goal games since Wayne Gretzky accomplished the feat in 1983-84. Just insane. Maple Leafs fans know they are witnessing something special, and there's a real chance Matthews scores 75. As it is, Toronto is winners of three straight, back to third place in the Atlantic Division, and scoring a ton of goals. The Leafs are on the road all week, making stops in St. Louis, Arizona, Las Vegas and Colorado.

13. Detroit Red Wings (-1)

After going on a four week tear that saw the Red Wings return to contention in the Atlantic Division, it's been .500 hockey for Patty Kane and co. since. Detroit played a trio of games over the last seven days, all against Canadian teams north of the border. And it didn't go great, with Edmonton and Vancouver both feasting. The Oilers beat the Wings 8-4; the Canucks, 4-1. But it was back in the win column to end the week, with a rare James Reimer start leading to an even rarer 38-save shutout for the veteran. The road trip ends on Monday in Seattle before the club heads home to welcome the Avalanche and Blues to Little Caesars Arena.

14. Los Angeles Kings (+2)

Signs of life from the Los Angeles Kings? Yes, indeed. Anze Kopitar and the crew have won three straight and five of six to start to resemble again — at least a little bit — the team that was 20-7-4 on Dec. 27. We all know what happened next, but it looks like a good hockey team on paper is starting to figure it out on the ice. The only loss in the last six was a brutal 7-0 shellacking by the Sabres, which was genuinely uncharacteristic the way February has gone. Still, the Kings beat the Devils, Bruins and Penguins, giving up just six goals in that span and returning to contention for a top-three berth in the Pacific. It's not going to be easy with the Knights and Oilers in the way, but things are trending in the right direction for at least one California franchise.

15. New Jersey Devils (no change)

New Jersey Devils goaltender Nico Daws (50) and center Jack Hughes (86) celebrate their win over the Philadelphia Flyers in a Stadium Series ice hockey game at MetLife Stadium
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils got a big win over the Flyers on the ODR, riding yet another great performance from rookie Nico Daws in the process. It seems impossible that the 23-year-old hasn't won the starting job in Newark, at least for now, even once Vitek Vanecek returns from injury/illness. He has been playing great, and that's just what New Jersey has been missing: competent goaltending. It was a busy four-game slate that ended with the Stadium Series, and Lindy Ruff's club responded accordingly, capturing three wins and six of a possible eight points. Riding the high of the victory at MetLife Stadium, the push for the postseason continues — the Devils remain two points back of a wildcard berth in a jam-packed Eastern Conference playoff race.

16. Philadelphia Flyers (-2)

Two teams got big wins at the Stadium Series, and two teams went home disappointed. One of them was John Tortorella's squad. Philly has been the streakiest team in the league since the calendar flipped. They won five, then lost five, then won four, and have now lost two again after falling victim to Auston Matthews on Thursday and their Metropolitan Division rivals on Sunday. The Flyers remain five points up on those same Devils, but the gap is closing — and New Jersey has two games in hand. Now 29-20-7, it's all hands on deck in Philadelphia with 26 games left.

17. St. Louis Blues (no change)

After winning five games in a row to roar back into relevance in the Central Division, the Blues are back to .500 hockey as they were playing earlier in the season. But after the heater, there's a lot more belief that this team can challenge for a wildcard berth come April. They currently occupy the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but breathing room does not exist. The Preds are two points back; the Wild and Kraken, four; the Flames, five. St. Louis didn't do themselves any favors by losing two of three last week, coming up empty against the Leafs and Preds but doubling up the Oilers 6-3. Not a terrible week, but similar production won't be enough to keep the Blues in the dance in two months. A rematch against Toronto — this time in Missouri — is on tap to start the week.

18. Seattle Kraken (+1)

The Kraken had a great chance to snap a skid last Monday, but instead dropped their third straight decision to the Devils. This has been a .500 team on the road, meaning a five-game trip didn't inspire a ton of confidence. But Seattle turned it around over the last two games, visiting Long Island and New England and coming out on top against the Islanders and Bruins to end the week. That was extremely encouraging, and the club will now be back in Washington for a season-long six-game homestand that the players will be grateful for after spending over two weeks on the road. It's Kraken-Red Wings from Climate Pledge Arena on Monday afternoon.

19. Nashville Predators (-1)

Although the Predators got the better of the Blues last week, they remain two spots back in the NHL Power Rankings. That's because it was the lone victory in Smashville. After losing 4-2 to the Devils at home on Tuesday, the Preds treated their fans to the worst game any of them would see this season. The Stars scored four on Juuse Saros and five on Kevin Lankinen, and not even a 5-2 win over St. Louis could fully erase the bad taste from the 9-2 beatdown. Still, Nashville is just two points back of a postseason slot. That should make GM Barry Trotz's life very challenging ahead of the Mar. 8 deadline, especially when it comes to Saros' future.

20. Minnesota Wild (+3)

Minnesota Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek (14) celebrates his goal against the Buffalo Sabres with defenseman Jonas Brodin (25), forward Kirill Kaprizov (97), and forward Matt Boldy (12) during the third period at Xcel Energy Center NHL Power Rankings
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Wild head coach John Hynes finally put Joel Eriksson Ek, Matt Boldy and Kirill Kaprizov on the same line, and the results have been electric. The trio has driven offense better than almost any line in the league, and all three players are scoring at above a point-per-game pace over the last couple of weeks. And as those three go, so does Minnesota. The Wild cranked out four wins in a row over the Hawks, Penguins, Golden Knights and Coyotes, with Filip Gustavsson and Marc-Andre Fleury combining to allow just seven goals. It could have been a magical week in the State of Hockey, if it wasn't for a late blown lead against the Sabres on Sunday that turned into a 3-2 overtime loss. Still, this is a roster on the rise, and just four points separate them from a playoff spot ahead of an excellent test against the powerhouse Canucks on Monday afternoon.

21. Calgary Flames (-1)

Like the Flyers, the Flames love to go on streaks in 2023-24. Since Jan. 9, here's how things have gone in Calgary: four wins, then four losses, then four wins, and now three straight losses in Week 18. It's been a good time to be a puck if you're on the stick of any player on this roster; the Flames were shut out twice by the Rangers and Red Wings, and then gave up six in a ghastly defeat to the Sharks. That could be all Craig Conroy needs to see as he continues to try to get the best price for Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, and potentially, Jacob Markstrom. Calgary is five points back, but the roster is likely to look a lot different in a couple of weeks, and the slide down the NHL Power Rankings is likely to continue.

22. Pittsburgh Penguins (-1)

The Penguins celebrated one of the greatest players in franchise history — and of all time — on Sunday, and the team should have been motivated to secure a big win over the visiting Kings afterwards. Instead, Pittsburgh blew a late 1-0 lead, allowing two late goals to Adrian Kempe, both with under seven minutes left in regulation. Absolutely devastating way to end a fantastic day celebrating what Jagr has always meant to Pennsylvania. Now losers of four of five, the magic number for a playoff spot is seven, and that's with a plethora of other teams competing for the same thing. Kyle Dubas might have no choice but to trade Jake Guentzel, even though he'll miss the next four weeks after getting injured in the third period of Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Panthers. The postseason hopes are not so slowly slipping away.

23. New York Islanders (-1)

The 2024 Stadium Series was a ton of fun for a ton of people — but not the Islanders. Coming into the game already having lost two straight, there was some extra motivation for Patrick Roy's team to get back in the win column. And things were looking good; the Isles led the Rangers for basically the entire game, opening up a 4-1 advantage at one point. But the Blueshirts stormed back, and the Long Island-based New York team is now on a three-game slide, and the freefall continues in the NHL Power Rankings. Just a brutal loss for this team, and a microcosm of a bigger problem. With 11 losses in their last 13 games, and now four points out of a playoff spot, the hopes are starting to slip away.

24. Washington Capitals (no change)

The wheels just keep falling off in the nation's capital, although Alex Ovechkin has started scoring again. The Great Eight went on a six-game goal streak, but watched as his team lost all but one of them. It's now eight losses in 10 tries for Washington, who have been basically in the same boat as Pittsburgh all season. Older core, a lack of offensive depth, and inability to win games they should. Now 24-21-8, it would take a serious tear to get the Caps back into contention. More likely is Anthony Mantha and Nic Dowd getting traded ahead of the deadline, and another year without a postseason for fans of this franchise.

25. Buffalo Sabres (+2)

The Sabres have been playing .500 hockey since the calendar flipped to 2024, and that has continued over the last week for one of the league's most middling teams. Buffalo had a decent Week 18, triumphing in two of three, including an offensive outburst against the Kings that saw the club score at least seven goals for the first time this season (they beat the Leafs 9-3 on Dec. 21). A thrilling come-from-behind overtime win over Minnesota was also encouraging. In the first game of Week 19, the Sabres had a chance to drive on, but instead lost an abysmal 4-3 final to the Ducks on home ice on Monday. A disappointing result that sums up a disappointing campaign in Western New York.

26. Ottawa Senators (-1)

In what has been an underwhelming season for so many reasons in Canada's capital, the Senators finally gained some momentum by winning seven of 10 games between Jan. 18-Feb. 13. But as they've done all year, Ottawa failed to turn it into something more meaningful, dropping two straight decisions to two of the league's worst teams. That has them sliding again in the NHL Power Rankings. The Sens badly needed to beat the Ducks and Hawks and bank some points, but instead lost 5-1 to Anaheim and 3-2 to Connor Bedard's club. Very, very poor. If they can't beat two bottom feeders, how will they fare against Tampa Bay, Florida, Dallas and Vegas over the next seven days? The dream of a miracle postseason berth might finally be dashed come next Monday.

27. Montreal Canadiens (+1)

Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki (14) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the third period at the Bell Centre NHL Power Rankings
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Habs welcomed Alex Newhook and Arber Xhekaj back to the lineup, but it didn't lead to any type of progress. Montreal has struggled mightily trying to keep the puck out of their net, giving up a ridiculous 21 goals over their last five games — four of them losses. Of course, the lone victory was a shoutout victory over the Ducks on Tuesday. That's hockey for you. But one of the three goalies on this roster are bound to be traded before the deadline, and Canadiens GM Kent Hughes is probably hoping that Jake Allen has better fortune whenever his next start is. On the bright side, the big boys continue to produce, with Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Mike Matheson all primed for career years.

28. Arizona Coyotes (-2)

What an awful, awful month it's been for the Yotes. I saw this team having an outside chance to make the playoffs at the beginning of the year, and there was a time when it looked like they would compete for one all season long. But after nine straight losses dating back to Jan. 24, and Connor Ingram getting injured in the process, it's not looking at all like they can get back into contention. Arizona only got past regulation in one of the nine defeats, falling to 23-27-4 and a full 10 points out of a playoff spot. That could be all she wrote in the desert.

29. Columbus Blue Jackets (no change)

The big news out of Columbus this week was the firing of longtime general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. The 57-year-old was relieved of his duties after over a decade with the Blue Jackets, in the midst of another disappointing campaign in Ohio. John Davidson will act as interim GM for the rest of the season, and gets thrown right into the fire ahead of the Mar. 8 NHL Trade Deadline. It seemed like Kekalainen's time was up; the franchise won only two postseason series' under his leadership. Obviously a tough week for fans and followers of this club, but it ended in positive fashion when captain Boone Jenner — who else — scored the winning goal with 12 seconds left in a Jackets a 4-3 win over the Sharks on Saturday. That highlighted an otherwise forgettable week in the NHL Power Rankings for Columbus.

30. Anaheim Ducks (no change)

It's just been a shooting gallery for every team that has played the Ducks lately. Anaheim gave up five to Edmonton, then five to Montreal, and then fell victim to another Auston Matthews hat trick in a 9-2 shellacking to Toronto. Canadian teams have not been nice to the Ducks in 2023-24. The only bright light from Week 18 was a 5-1 victory over the Senators on Thursday, the only game of the week where the Ducks were able to keep the puck out of their own net with any competency. Staying pat at No. 30 in league standings and NHL Power Rankings, Anaheim is off to Buffalo for a rare Monday afternoon matinee.

31. Chicago Blackhawks (+1)

Just because of Connor Bedard's return to the lineup — weeks ahead of schedule — the Hawks are back out of the NHL Power Rankings basement. An eight game losing streak was finally snapped in large part due to the rookie phenom; Bedard scored a goal and added an assist in a 3-2 win over the Sens on Saturday afternoon. He also picked up a point on Chicago's only goal in a 4-1 loss to Sidney Crosby and the Pens two nights earlier. It was dark times in the Windy City without the rookie's presence, and the United Center is a lot more fun to watch a game when No. 98 is on the ice. Bedard remains the Calder Trophy favorite despite missing 14 games, and he still has a great chance to finish over a point-per-game in his inaugural campaign.

32. San Jose Sharks (-1)

The Sharks still maintain a two point lead over the Hawks in league standings, and they don't really deserve to be back in the NHL Power Rankings basement after a rare week out. But without Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, and with Bedard already looking electric in his return to action, it only made sense to give Chicago the edge. He's the only truly game-breaking player on either of these rosters, and he's still just 18. Mikael Granlund returning is a nice boost, and he scored a goal and an assist over his first three games back. The week did end on a sour note, with Jenner's late GWG spoiling what was almost a rare win streak. San Jose will look for better fortune in Week 19, but they would be just fine finishing No. 32.