NHL Power Rankings after Week 17

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

In the NHL, confidence is everything. Nothing bolsters confidence more than putting a goal on the board to take a lead over an opponent. It can change the way the scoring team plays. It can affect the way a trailing team plays.

Look at the Predators, one of the most successful teams this season. They have 30 wins in their first 52 games. All but seven of those victories came in games in which the Predators scored the first goal. On the other end of the spectrum, the Kings have 26 losses in 50 games, with 22 of them coming in games when their opponents scored first.

In this week's power rankings, we take a look at some of the numbers behind who leads, who trails, who wins and who loses.

How we rank: The ESPN hockey editorial staff submits polls ranking teams 1-31, and those results are tabulated to the list featured here. Teams are rated through Tuesday night's games, taking into account overall record, recent success and context such as injuries.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous ranking: 1

The Lightning are 17-1-1 when leading after the first period, and 24-2-1 when leading after two periods. Their 27 leads entering the third period are the most in the NHL through 50 games.

2. Calgary Flames

Previous ranking: 2

The Flames are the comeback kids of the NHL, winning seven of the 21 games in which they were trailing entering the third period.

3. Winnipeg Jets

Previous ranking: 4

The Jets are 13-3-1 when leading after the first period, and they are 8-8-0 when trailing after the first period.

4. San Jose Sharks

Previous ranking: 3

Over the past two seasons, the Sharks are 52-2-4 when leading after two periods. That includes a 22-1-2 mark this season.

5. New York Islanders

Previous ranking: 5

The Islanders know how to close out teams: They're 21-1-3 when leading after two periods, despite being just a plus-2 in third-period goals.

6. Nashville Predators

Previous ranking: 6

The Predators are 26-2-0 when leading after two periods, the most wins in the NHL this season when leading into the final frame.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

Previous ranking: 7

There is only one team in the NHL that's yet to lose a game when leading after two periods, and that team is the Toronto Maple Leafs (23-0-0).

8. Vegas Golden Knights

Previous ranking: 8

The Golden Knights are 19-0-2 when leading after two periods, one of six teams in the NHL this season that has yet to lose a game in regulation when entering the third with a lead.

9. Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous ranking: 9

Over the past two seasons, the Penguins are 46-0-3 when leading into the third period. That includes a 22-0-1 mark this season.

10. Boston Bruins

Previous ranking: 10

The Bruins are 1-14-2 when trailing into the third period, where they're a plus-6 in goals.

11. Montreal Canadiens

Previous ranking: 13

The Canadiens have scored the first goal in 20 of their 28 wins this season, going 20-5-3 when they do.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous ranking: 12

The Jackets are 1-13-1 when trailing entering the third period for a .067 winning percentage.

13. Washington Capitals

Previous ranking: 11

The Capitals have six overtime losses. Each one has come in a game in which their opponent scored the first goal of the game.

14. Minnesota Wild

Previous ranking: 15

The Wild are 2-17-1 when trailing into the third period, going 2-17-5 in that category last season.

15. Dallas Stars

Previous ranking: 14

The Stars are 19-1-2 when leading after two periods and 1-13-0 when trailing after two periods.

16. Colorado Avalanche

Previous ranking: 16

Fifteen of the Avs' 22 wins have come in games when they were leading after two periods.

17. Buffalo Sabres

Previous ranking: 17

The Sabres are 6-11-1 when trailing after two periods; not bad, when you consider they were 4-29-2 when trailing entering the third last season.

18. Carolina Hurricanes

Previous ranking: 18

The Hurricanes are one of only two teams in the NHL that have yet to win a game in regulation in which they trailed after two periods.

19. Vancouver Canucks

Previous ranking: 19

Seventeen of the Canucks' 22 losses have come when they've given up the first goal of the game.

20. St. Louis Blues

Previous ranking: 20

The Blues are a putrid 1-18-3 when trailing entering the third period, where they've been outscored 52-44.

21. Arizona Coyotes

Previous ranking: 23

It's feast or famine for the desert dogs: They're 16-0-1 when leading after the second period and 2-18-2 when trailing into the third.

22. Anaheim Ducks

Previous ranking: 22

The Ducks are tied with the Blackhawks with nine overtime losses. Four of them came when Anaheim led their opponents after the first period.

23. Edmonton Oilers

Previous ranking: 21

For the Oilers, 19 of their 24 regulation losses this season came when they were trailing after two periods.

24. New York Rangers

Previous ranking: 24

Inexplicably, the Rangers are 1-11-1 when trailing after the first period. Their .077 winning percentage in that category is the worst in the NHL this season.

25. Philadelphia Flyers

Previous ranking: 27

If the Flyers are trailing entering the third period, they're probably not rallying for the win. Philadelphia is 1-20-3 when losing after two periods, one of four teams that have lost 20 or more games entering the third period with a deficit.

26. Florida Panthers

Previous ranking: 25

Six of the Panthers' eight overtime losses have come in games where Florida had a lead after the first period.

27. New Jersey Devils

Previous ranking: 28

Bad things happen when the Devils don't score first. New Jersey is 2-14-2 (.111) when its opponent scores the first goal of the game.

28. Chicago Blackhawks

Previous ranking: 26

The Blackhawks are 2-17-5 when trailing after two periods. They've had a lead after two periods just 11 times in 51 games.

29. Detroit Red Wings

Previous ranking: 30

Five of the Red Wings' 19 wins have come after they trailed entering the third period.

30. Los Angeles Kings

Previous ranking: 29

The Kings have trailed entering the third period 22 times in 50 games this season. Their record? That would be 0-21-1. Ouch.

31. Ottawa Senators

Previous ranking: 31

The Senators are 3-20-1 when trailing after two periods. They were 6-37-2 last season.