Sometimes it just takes a little time for contenders to round into form.
That certainly seems to be the case when it comes to the 2017-18 NHL season.
The Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets all raced out of the gate to catch the league by surprise, ranking among the league’s best early in December.
Now the familiar — anticipated — big shots have begun to shower us with promise. You know, like the Pittsburgh Penguins, repeat Stanley Cup champions who waited until after Thanksgiving to start looking like a team with titles under its belt. Or the Nashville Predators, who started slow but now seem just as, if not more,in the Stanley Cup Final. Or the Montreal Canadiens, cellar dwellers in the rough early goings of the season who suddenly look capable of a playoff run in the wake of five straight wins and a 10-goal drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings.
Only time will tell whether the surges from big-name teams carries over through the rest of the season, but for now, all the changes are reflected in our latest edition of NHL Power Rankings: