This is the sixth edition of theScore’s 2018-19 NHL Power Rankings, which will be published every two weeks during the regular season. It was compiled by editors Cory Wilkins, Sean O’Leary, and Josh Gold-Smith.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (23-7-1) ▲

It’s hard to find fault with the Lightning, who’ve won six straight including a blowout over the Avalanche. Tampa Bay’s offense is firing on all cylinders while backup goalie Louis Domingue has performed admirably in Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s injury absence.

Previously: 2nd

2. Calgary Flames (19-10-2) ▲

Four straight games on the bench apparently righted goaltender Mike Smith, who hasn’t looked back since reclaiming the starting job in late November. Across his last six contests, Smith’s .936 save rate and 1.59 goals-against average have powered Calgary to No. 1 in the West. – Wilkins

Previously: 9th

3. Toronto Maple Leafs (20-9-1) ▲

Teams don’t usually add a 20-goal scorer until the trade deadline, but the Maple Leafs did so in December with their last-minute signing of holdout William Nylander. While the Swedish forward went pointless in his first two games, it’s only a matter of time before he cashes in. – Wilkins

Previously: 4th

4. Winnipeg Jets (18-9-2) ▲

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The Jets keep winning, but there could be concern that nothing came easy against the Devils, Rangers, and Blackhawks. With eight points in his last six games, Mark Scheifele remains one of the league’s best bargains. – Wilkins

Previously: 7th

5. Washington Capitals (17-9-3)

What Stanley Cup hangover? It’s been another strong season for the Capitals and captain Alex Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 22 goals. – Wilkins

Previously: 5th

6. Colorado Avalanche (17-8-5)

While scoring depth is a big-time concern, the top line in Denver is simply amazing. Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen have already combined for 127 points this season. – Wilkins

Previously: 6th

7. Nashville Predators (19-10-1) ▼

The Predators hit a road bump – dropping four of six – but remain one of the league’s elite. They’ll have a chance to get on track with a soft upcoming schedule against a host of teams outside the playoff picture. – Wilkins

Previously: 3rd

8. Dallas Stars (16-11-3) ▲

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After years of defensive struggles, the Stars have locked it down in their own end this season. They’ve also gotten rock-solid goaltending and the usual offensive contributions from Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov, making this team a sneaky threat in the West. – Wilkins

Previously: 18th

9. Buffalo Sabres (17-9-4) ▼

The Sabres have lost five in a row since their 10-game winning streak, but at least there’s been some personal success. Jeff Skinner already has 20 goals and 10 assists in 30 games, making his offseason trade from Carolina look like a steal. – Wilkins

Previously: 1st

10. Anaheim Ducks (16-11-5) ▲

The Ducks rewarded longtime general manager Bob Murray with a multi-year contract extension, and it’s easy to see why. The team owns an exciting nucleus of young talent – particularly on defense – and an MVP-level goaltender who helps make up for offensive shortcomings. – Wilkins

Previously: 16th

11. Columbus Blue Jackets (16-11-2) ▼

The Blue Jackets are still comfortably in the playoff picture, but all-world netminder Sergei Bobrovsky is struggling. He’s surrendered 19 goals across his last five games and owns an .898 save percentage for the season. – O’Leary

Previously: 8th

12. San Jose Sharks (15-11-5) ▲

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The Sharks have underachieved this season, and that won’t change unless their 30th-ranked five-on-five save percentage (.902) improves. – O’Leary

Previously: 17th

13. Edmonton Oilers (16-12-2) ▲

The Oilers have shown signs of life and more commitment to defense under new head coach Ken Hitchcock. Giving some extra minutes to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl hasn’t been a bad idea, either. – O’Leary

Previously: 24th

14. Vegas Golden Knights (17-14-1)

The Golden Knights are dominating the shots and scoring chances every game, but they aren’t getting the same puck luck as last season. If and when it returns, look out. – O’Leary

Previously: 14th

15. Montreal Canadiens (15-10-5) ▲

Boy, the Canadiens must be happy to have Shea Weber back. Since his return, the towering blue-liner’s potted three goals in six games while averaging nearly 26 minutes per night. – O’Leary

Previously: 20th

16. Boston Bruins (16-10-4) ▼

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Based on the Bruins‘ recent efforts without several key contributors, one would think they’ll rise up this list rather rapidly once they’re back at full strength. – O’Leary

Previously: 10th

17. Pittsburgh Penguins (12-10-6) ▲

The Penguins are still climbing out of the gigantic hole they dug themselves in November, but at least they’ve scored 22 goals in six games since our last installment. – O’Leary

Previously: 22nd

18. New York Islanders (14-11-3) ▼

After amassing a sky-high 105.1 PDO (a stat used to measure luck) to begin the schedule, the Isles have been at 98.1, which has the team’s record closer to what most expected before the season. – O’Leary

Previously: 13th

19. New York Rangers (14-12-3) ▼

The Rangers aren’t anything special, but Henrik Lundqvist‘s .919 save percentage at 36 years old? That’s downright impressive. – O’Leary

Previously: 12th

20. Minnesota Wild (15-12-2) ▼

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The Wild have lost seven of 10 contests, with their offense averaging just 2.6 goals over that span. – O’Leary

Previously: 11th

21. Ottawa Senators (13-14-4) ▲

After three straight wins – including a big victory in Erik Karlsson‘s return to Ottawa – the Sens dropped three of four and lost Matt Duchene for weeks. At least the team earned three points over the weekend. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 28th

22. Carolina Hurricanes (13-11-4) ▼

The Hurricanes beat the Ducks on Friday, but that came after losses to the Sharks and the basement-dwelling Kings. Curtis McElhinney allowed five goals in San Jose and now he’s injured as the ‘Canes face matchups with the Leafs, Canadiens, and Capitals this week. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 15th

23. Arizona Coyotes (13-13-2) ▲

Adin Hill‘s stellar play in the crease helped the Coyotes reel off four straight wins before last week’s defeats to the Capitals and Sharks. Darcy Kuemper‘s on the mend, but Arizona could use continued excellence from Hill now that Antti Raanta‘s likely done for the season. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 27th

24. Philadelphia Flyers (12-13-3) ▲

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The Flyers got dismantled by the Jets on Sunday, killing some of the momentum gained in an impressive 6-2 win over the Sabres one day prior. Philadelphia owns one of the worst goal differentials in the NHL, but the 7-1 loss to Winnipeg was the team’s only regulation defeat in December so far. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 25th

25. Detroit Red Wings (13-13-4) ▼

Dylan Larkin‘s breakaway backhander gave the Red Wings an overtime victory over the Leafs on Thursday, but Detroit’s won just three of its last nine games. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 19th

26. Florida Panthers (11-11-6)

The Panthers lost five times during their eight-game homestand, but they still came away with nine points in that span. Next will be a major test with six of seven contests coming on the road. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 26th

27. St. Louis Blues (10-14-4) ▲

The Blues looked good in a shutout win over the Jets on Friday, but their performance in Sunday’s blowout home loss to the Canucks led Vladimir Tarasenko to apologize to fans. That was admirable, but the whole St. Louis roster needs to be much better. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 30th

28. New Jersey Devils (10-12-6) ▼

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Sunday’s wild shootout loss to the Ducks was the Devils’ eighth defeat in their last 10 games. Overall, it’s been a big step backward this season despite a talented top line of reigning MVP Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, and Kyle Palmieri. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 21st

29. Los Angeles Kings (11-18-1) ▲

Newcomer Nikita Scherbak scored in a decisive win over the Golden Knights on Saturday, but the Kings got doubled up by the lowly Devils two days earlier, couldn’t beat the Coyotes on Tuesday, and came up empty during a back-to-back in Alberta. There have been occasional slivers of hope, but the Kings still have major issues. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 31st

30. Vancouver Canucks (13-16-3) ▼

Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson went off against the Blues for the Canucks’ second straight victory, but Vancouver won just one of five and two of 14 before that. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 29th

31. Chicago Blackhawks (9-17-5) ▼

The Blackhawks hit rock bottom by dropping their seventh straight contest Sunday – their 18th defeat in the last 21 games. Patrick Kane has 34 points in 30 games, but the team needs other players to produce. — Gold-Smith

Previously: 23rd

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