Power Rankings: Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues jockeying for top spot

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Say, are you a Twitter user? Did you happen to experience a seismic shift this week, where something that was easily digestible (but a frequent cause of heartburn) was transformed into an unreadable mess, filled with users overcome with a sudden sense of supremacy because they could now express their inane thoughts in 280 characters?

Yeah, so did I.

For this week's Power Rankings -- voted, as always, by ESPN's panel of experts -- we honor the ethereal concept of brevity by offering pithy observations in 140 characters or fewer. Hashtag: blessed.

How we rank: We use a panel of voters, and these rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams are favored over lower-ranked teams. A run of wins doesn't guarantee a jump, and a couple of losses doesn't guarantee a fall.

Previous rankings: Preseason | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: 12-2-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 2

Can Nikita Kucherov score 50 goals in 50 games? Everyone who's done it has had an elite playmaker with them, and Steven Stamkos is one.

2. St. Louis Blues

Record: 12-3-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 1

The Blues drop from the top spot, as our voters are clearly bracing themselves for some sort of regression. We debated their realness here.

3. Los Angeles Kings

Record: 11-2-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 3

Two things are clear: Jonathan Quick is playing out of his gourd (.937 SV%), and Ducks vs. Kings is the NHL's best rivalry, full stop.

4. New York Islanders

Record: 8-5-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 6

The Islanders are one of only 3 teams this season undefeated in regulation at home (5-0-2). But they're 30th in average attendance (11,700).

5. Winnipeg Jets

Record: 8-3-3
Week 4 ranking: No. 9

Connor Hellebuyck has a .949 SV% at even strength, better than any other goalie with 10-plus appearances. Steve Mason, meanwhile, does not.

6. New York Rangers

Record: 8-7-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 27

Our biggest mover of the week, the Rangers are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games and have won five straight. Call off the Alain Vigneault watch!

7. Nashville Predators

Record: 8-5-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 19

The Preds have won 3 in a row. Not rolling? No. 1 center Ryan Johansen, who has 0 goals and just 19 shots on goal despite 209 shot attempts.

8. Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 10-7-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 7

The Leafs are 2nd in goals per game with 3.76 in 17 games after averaging 3.05 last season. The bad news? They average 3.53 goals against.

9. Columbus Blue Jackets

Record: 9-6-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 5

Seth Jones' brilliant start: 12 points in 16 games, tied for the team lead with Artemi Panarin. He averaged 0.56 points per game in 2016-17.

10. Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 9-6-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 10

While plus/minus is a flawed stat and all of that, please note that after 17 games, the Penguins don't have any players with a positive one.

11. New Jersey Devils

Record: 9-4-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 4

The Devils are on a 0-2-1 skid but remain fifth in the NHL in points percentage at .678. Fabulous start, even with the recent stumble.

12. Ottawa Senators

Record: 6-3-5
Week 4 ranking: No. 12

Matt Duchene, acquired in a blockbuster trade with Colorado, was second on the Avs in even-strength points over the past two seasons (40).

13. San Jose Sharks

Record: 8-6-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 14

After their 5-1 waxing via the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Sharks' team goals-against average jumped from 2.31 to 2.50. Thanks, Kucherov.

14. Boston Bruins

Record: 6-5-3
Week 4 ranking: No. 22

David Pastrnak continues his strong season with nine goals. Brad Marchand has eight in 12 games. No other Bruin has more than three.

15. Washington Capitals

Record: 8-7-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 20

Alex Ovechkin has goals in three straight games and 13 goals in 16 games. Four of them have come on the power play.

16. Vancouver Canucks

Record: 8-5-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 17

Derek Dorsett leads the Canucks with seven goals -- after scoring six goals in his previous 85 NHL games. We live in interesting times.

17. Detroit Red Wings

Record: 8-7-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 24

Dylan Larkin has 14 points to lead the Wings and is heating up with five points in his past five games. Yet he has only two goals.

18. Montreal Canadiens

Record: 7-8-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 29

The Canadiens have won three in a row, including a 2-0 shutout of the Blackhawks by Charlie Lindgren, who is now 5-0-0 in his NHL career.

19. Vegas Golden Knights

Record: 9-5-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 11

Look, we just follow the votes. The Knights are 5-4-1 in their past 10 and are still second in the Pacific. Yet the voters are unimpressed.

20. Dallas Stars

Record: 8-7-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 8

The Stars have the NHL's best power play, with a conversation rate of 31.8 percent, despite having the second-fewest opportunities (44).

21. Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 7-6-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 13

Brandon Saad has cooled off considerably: no goals in his past nine games and just one assist in that span. He's scoreless in five straight.

22. Calgary Flames

Record: 8-7-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 16

Mike Smith has a spiffy .936 save percentage at even strength, having faced the third-most shots at EV (358) in the NHL.

23. Colorado Avalanche

Record: 8-6-0
Week 4 ranking: No. 23

After Duchene was traded, Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie are tied for the team lead in even-strength points at eight.

24. Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 7-6-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 18

Shayne Gostisbehere leads all defensemen with nine power-play points. He finished seventh in that category last season with 23 points.

25. Anaheim Ducks

Record: 6-6-3
Week 4 ranking: No. 15

Our voters obviously think the Ryan Getzlaf injury is finally one too many for the Ducks, who drop 10 spots in the rankings.

26. Edmonton Oilers

Record: 5-8-1
Week 4 ranking: No. 28

This Connor McDavid overtime winner vs. the Islanders is one of Edmonton's season highlights and an argument for regulation 3-on-3 play.

27. Minnesota Wild

Record: 5-7-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 25

The Wild have lost three straight and have a .428 points percentage, which is -- wait for it -- 27th in the NHL.

28. Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 5-5-3
Week 4 ranking: No. 21

The Canes' offense continues to sputter along at a 2.62 goals-per-game clip despite being second in shots on goal per game (37).

29. Buffalo Sabres

Record: 5-8-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 30

Evander Kane is a point-per-game player for the Sabres, which means that he's probably at the front of the trade-bait line.

30. Florida Panthers

Record: 4-8-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 26

The Panthers are on a 2-6-2 skid and have the NHL's worst defense in averaging 4.14 goals against per game.

31. Arizona Coyotes

Record: 2-13-2
Week 4 ranking: No. 31

We'd recap all the ways Arizona is terrible, from a ghastly regulation record to a minus-26 goal differential; alas, we have only 140 charac