NHL Power Rankings: Golden Knights are officially the real deal

theScore's NHL Power Rankings are published every other Monday. Our seventh installment is put together by editors Cory Wilkins, Sean O'Leary, and Josh Wegman.

1. Vegas Golden Knights (26-9-2) ▲

Previously 5th

Vegas knows winning. The Golden Knights recently became the first expansion team to reel off six straight wins and are one of the hottest teams coming out of the holiday break. - Wilkins

2. Washington Capitals (24-13-3) ▲

Previously 3rd

Don't overlook the Capitals. Winners of the past two Presidents' Trophies, Washington is getting hot as we approach midseason. - Wilkins

3. Los Angeles Kings (23-11-5) ▲

Previously 4th

After a down season a year ago, the Kings are back and looking like the team that won it all in 2012 and 2014. - Wilkins

4. Toronto Maple Leafs (23-15-2) ▲

Previously 9th

The Maple Leafs scoring machine is roaring again, as Toronto has netted 26 goals in its last six outings. - Wilkins

5. Winnipeg Jets (23-11-6) ▲

Previously 8th

The Jets keep soaring along, but the team's offensive game will be challenged with Mark Scheifele out for the long term. - Wilkins

6. Tampa Bay Lightning (28-8-2) ▼

Previously 2nd

A slight dip for the Lightning, who have cooled in recent weeks. Among the changes from the start of the season? Nikita Kucherov, who has just two tallies in his last six appearances. - Wilkins

7. San Jose Sharks (20-12-4)

Previously 7th

The netminding duo of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell has impressed, holding down the fort for the low-scoring Sharks. - Wilkins

8. Boston Bruins (21-10-6) ▲

Previously 17th

The Bruins have pieced together eight consecutive games without a regulation loss and now sit in second place in the Atlantic Division. - Wilkins

9. Nashville Predators (23-10-5) ▼

Previously 1st

Nashville has scored just 15 goals in its past six outings, and that lagging production won't be helped with Filip Forsberg on the sidelines. - Wilkins

10. New Jersey Devils (22-10-6) ▲

Previously 12th

The surprise factor has worn off as the Devils remain one of the most consistent teams this campaign. - Wilkins

11. New York Rangers (20-13-5)

Previously 11th

The Rangers continue to stick around in the Metro race, but will need to tighten things up in their own end if it's going to last. - O'Leary

12. Dallas Stars (22-15-3) ▲

Previously 15th

For whatever reason, Dallas is nearly unstoppable at home and quite mediocre on the road, which is why the Stars are stuck near the middle of the pack. - O'Leary

13. St. Louis Blues (24-15-2) ▼

Previously 6th

The loss of Jaden Schwartz has hurt immensely, and the Blues have won just three of their last 10.

14. Edmonton Oilers (17-19-3) ▲

Previously 24th

The Oilers look much better lately, but still have quite a road ahead to reach the playoff cut line. Whether Connor McDavid and Co. can pull it off should prove to be highly entertaining down the stretch. - O'Leary

15. Columbus Blue Jackets (22-15-3) ▼

Previously 13th

Sergei Bobrovsky had a December to forget, winning just four starts, but the team in front of him needs to be way better, too. - O'Leary

16. New York Islanders (20-15-4) ▼

Previously 14th

Being sandwiched between the Coyotes and Sabres in any stat - particularly goals allowed - is not a good place to be, especially for a team as offensively exciting as the Islanders. - O'Leary

17. Anaheim Ducks (17-14-8) ▲

Previously 19th

The Ducks continue to get key pieces back, and suddenly sit just one point out of a wild-card spot. - O'Leary

18. Minnesota Wild (20-16-3) ▼

Previously 16th

Just about halfway through the season, the Wild do indeed still exist. - O'Leary

19. Carolina Hurricanes (18-13-7) ▲

Previously 22nd

Carolina's surged for seven wins in 10 games, because another playoff competitor is exactly what the Metropolitan Division needed. - O'Leary

20. Chicago Blackhawks (18-14-6) ▼

Previously 10th

Jeff Glass nabbing his first NHL win was a nice story and all, but this club needs Corey Crawford desperately to have a chance. - O'Leary

21. Pittsburgh Penguins (19-18-3) ▼

Previously 18th

It's time to accept the Penguins are nowhere near the team they were for the past two seasons. A big-time acquisition would certainly help, but they have very little trade bait to offer. - Wegman

22. Florida Panthers (17-16-5) ▲

Previously 27th

Don't look now, but the Panthers have won five in a row, thanks in large part to stellar goaltending from James Reimer. Unfortunately, it might be too little too late for the Cats. - Wegman

23. Colorado Avalanche (19-16-3) ▲

Previously 26th

A playoff appearance this season is still unlikely, but the Avs are very exciting to watch, and they're undoubtedly trending in the right direction. - Wegman

24. Philadelphia Flyers (16-14-8) ▼

Previously 20th

The Flyers are easily the streakiest team in the league, and their lack of consistency will ultimately keep them out of the postseason. - Wegman

25. Vancouver Canucks (16-18-5) ▼

Previously 23rd

There's a lot to like about what Vancouver has done this season, but Bo Horvat's injury erased their status as a potential playoff contender. - Wegman

26. Montreal Canadiens (16-19-4) ▼

Previously 21st

The Habs have scored three goals during their current four-game losing streak. That just about sums up their season. - Wegman

27. Buffalo Sabres (10-20-8) ▲

Previously 30th

Another year, another basement-dwelling season for the Sabres. At least the Buffalo Bills' playoff berth eliminates some of the negativity surrounding the city's sports teams. - Wegman

28. Detroit Red Wings (15-16-7)

Previously 28th

The Red Wings are a lock to be sellers at the deadline as they aim to add more youth to complement Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha. Mike Green and Jimmy Howard will be among their most valuable trade chips. - Wegman

29. Arizona Coyotes (9-26-5) ▲

Previously 31st

The possibility of drafting Rasmus Dahlin is the only light at the end of the tunnel for the Coyotes. - Wegman

30. Calgary Flames (19-16-4) ▼

Previously 25th

The Flames have hit a bit of a rough patch, but they're still in the Western Conference playoff picture. - Wegman

31. Ottawa Senators (12-17-8) ▼

Previously 29th

The Sens have just four wins in their last 21 games. Woof. - Wegman

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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