This is it, folks. The final edition of TWIK.....for the 2013-14 regular season, at least. We'll keep this going throughout the playoffs, of course focusing only on the Conference that matters (hint: not the one where the Columbus Blue Jackets made the playoffs). But this does mean we'll have to wave goodbye to 5/7ths of the Pacific Division this week. Rest in peace, Phoenix Coyotes (good luck getting used to "Arizona Coyotes" next year, everyone). See ya later, Vancouver Canucks. Better luck next time, Alberta hockey teams.
It's all-California, all the time in the Pacific, along with a random and awkwardly soon homecoming for the Dallas Stars. Let's get into the final week of NHL regular season action in the division.
This Week in Games
(here's all the games involving the Pacific Division from this past week. we'll talk about the LA Kings' games in great detail, while the rest will mostly just be scores, unless I have something to say about it. you'll also get links to Eric's awesome recaps which will expand on everything I'm saying in much greater detail if you missed any of them.)
Monday, April 7th
-Calgary Flames 1, New Jersey Devils 0: Calgary rolled up into New Jersey facing a Devils team desperate for points- no, they still weren't eliminated from last Monday, I'm shocked too- and promptly shut them out, 1-0, on the strength of Karri Ramo's 31 saves. Uh, okay. The loss didn't *officially* eliminate the Devils from postseason contention, but as they were 3 points behind Columbus with just 3 games left to play at this point, it basically put a significant damper on them after the Devils had done an admirable job getting themselves back in the conversation. The loss also clinched a playoff spot for the Rangers, which is always a pretty awesome way to clinch, I think; sitting at home, probably in your underwear, and being told by someone "hey, we clinched just now!".
-Anaheim Ducks 3, Vancouver Canucks 0: On the other hand, this amazingly putrid effort by the Canucks- managing just eighteen shots on goal total against a rookie goalie starting his first NHL game- did officially eliminate Vancouver from postseason contention. In their defense, it's not like they've had a chance in hell of making the playoffs for, like, really weeks now. You'd still like to see your team respond to an elimination game by putting up more than three shots in a period (the 2nd, in this case), though. Oh well. Later Nucks.
Tuesday, April 8th
-Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Phoenix Coyotes 3 (OT): This overtime loss made it 0-2-3 in their past 5 for Phoenix, who continued to trail a Dallas team that was less than 48 hours removed from a regulation collapse against the Florida Panthers. Yep.
-Colorado Avalanche 4, Edmonton Oilers 1
Wednesday, April 9th
-Calgary Flames 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (SO): Oh man, where to start with this one? Well, first of all the Kings let the Flames get out to an early 3-0 lead, which is positively Anaheim-ian of them. Continuing to do their best Ducks impersonation, the Kings scored 2 goals in 24 seconds late in the 2nd period, then tied the game 12:18 into the 3rd off a Dwight King goal, of all things. Then they lost in a shootout anyway. Uh, sure. You remember the part where none of these games mattered at all, right? Just checking. (recap) (gamethread)
-Anaheim Ducks 5, San Jose Sharks 2: This game, on the other hand, definitely mattered. If the Sharks had won, they still had a relatively reasonable path to a Pacific crown and avoiding that LA-SJ first round series no one wanted to see. If the Ducks won, they, uh, officially clinched the Pacific. You probably know which one happened (and even if you didn't I just told you). Yeah. Thanks a freaking lot, Sharks. Jerks.
Thursday, April 10th
-Nashville Predators 2, Phoenix Coyotes 0: Make it six straight losses for the Coyotes, half of those to non-playoff teams like the Jets, Oilers, and yes, 'dem Perds. It's okay Phoenix, everyone wanted Dallas to make it anyway, we appreciate you falling on your sword like that.
-Los Angeles Kings 3, Edmonton Oilers 0: Yeah, so, teams who play on the 2nd half of a back-to-back really do tend to do significantly worse. That's not a made-up media narrative, it's a real thing you can back up with facts and numbers. I point that out because the Kings, playing on one of those very back-to-backs, absolutely destroyed the Oilers. If anything, the 3-0 score doesn't even do it justice. You'll see more of the #fancystats in their usual section below, but they were hilariously one-sided. Despite scoring their first goal just 29 seconds into the game (Anze Kopitar's 29th, too, which was awesome) and leading by at least 2 goals from the nine-minute mark of the 1st period, the Kings still controlled better than 60% of all shot attempts at 5v5 and an amazing 67.5% of overall shot attempts (so yes, their power play was actually good for once). That's, like ridiculous, for all the obvious reasons- score effects, second night of a back-to-back, nothing to play for, etc. Folks, These Oilers Are Bad. (recap) (gamethread)
-Colorado Avalanche 4, Vancouver Canucks 2
Friday, April 11th
-Winnipeg Jets 5, Calgary Flames 3
-San Jose Sharks 5, Colorado Avalanche 1: "Hmm, okay, for the first time all season wins don't matter to us at all now. Also, if Colorado wins they'll almost certainly win the Central and thus ensure one of Chicago or St. Louis gets knocked out in the 1st round. TIME TO REMEMBER HOW TO HOCKEY!" See what I mean about the Sharks being jerks?!
Saturday, April 12th
-San Jose Sharks 3, Phoenix Coyotes 2: You can beat the Coyotes all you want though, that's cool. The Coyotes had already been officially eliminated the night before when Dallas beat St. Louis to clinch their first trip to the playoffs since 2008, but they figured they might as well squeeze in their seventh straight loss anyway, because why not?
-Edmonton Oilers 5, Vancouver Canucks 2: This was the final NHL game for some jerk. Also, lol Vancouver.
-Anaheim Ducks 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (SO): All I wanted out of this game was for the Kings to clinch the Jennings. They had to allow 3 goals or less to clinch it, so I honestly wouldn't have given a shit if we lost 3-0. Instead, the Kings (obviously) outplayed the Ducks by a significant margin, still somehow gave up 3 goals, and then lost in a shootout, with the stupid awarded goal tying the Kings with the Bruins for that VERY IMPORTANT SHUT UP AND LET US HAVE THIS trophy. Luckily, the Bruins had one game left, and somehow didn't manage to shut out the Devils the next day, so the Kings won the Jennings outright anyway. Hurray! (recap) (gamethread)
Sunday, April 13th
-Anaheim Ducks 3, Colorado Avalanche 2 (OT)
-Vancouver Canucks 5, Calgary Flames 1: Hey, go screw yourself Paul Byron. The dude seriously rammed Daniel Sedin headfirst into the boards from behind (IN A COMPLETELY, 100% MEANINGLESS GAME) and the dude had to leave on a stretcher. Seriously, I hate the Canucks, but I mean, Daniel Sedin?! What the hell has he ever done to anyone, other than score some goals and make funny faces? And also, again, THIS GAME DIDN'T MATTER AT ALL. Ugh.
-Phoenix Coyotes 2, Dallas Stars 1: AKA "The Game NBC Picked Up at the Last Second Because It Was Supposed to Decide the Last Wild Card Spot, Until Dallas Just Clinched Two Days Earlier Instead". Oh, and for maximum lulz, the Yotes won it to break their seven-game losing streak. Yep.
This Week in Standings
|2. San Jose||82||51||22||9||111||41||249||200||+49||29-7-5||22-15-4||2-1-0|
|3. Los Angeles||82||46||28||8||100||38||206||174||+32||23-14-4||23-14-4||1-0-2|
Since the regular season is over, we can do away with those ugly-ass Xs and Es; either you're in the top 3 at the end and made it, or you're not and you have to look below at the Wild Card. Anyway, Anaheim had a perfect 4-0-0 week to wrap up the Pacific Division title and make it that much more hilarious when they lose to Dallas in the first round, probably. Below them San Jose did okay with a 2-1-0 week, but their one loss came in the only game of the week that actually mattered for them (the Pacific Division title showdown with the Ducks), so uh, yeah. Meanwhile none of the Kings' games mattered at all, and they put up a 1-0-2 record for maximum "who cares": didn't lose any games in regulation, still lost more games than they won. Okay, sure. They also somehow finished with identical records both home & away, which is kind of hilarious.
We might as well talk about the rest of the Pacific teams here, since (ZOMG SPOILER ALERT) none of them made the Wild Card anyway. Phoenix, with their season on the line, went 1-2-1, and like San Jose their one win came after the games no long mattered at all for them. Vancouver, who didn't really have a realistic shot anyway, did the exact same thing, going 1-3-0 and winning only once they had been eliminated. It was a fitting end to a pretty awful season for them, as they were a victim of bad luck and a coach who seemed to be a poor fit for their personnel from the very start. As such, they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08, and by a wider margin this time too (they missed by just 3 points that year, as compared to 8 points this year). Meanwhile, with the season over we can really take in the full depth of Edmonton's failure: they finished a whopping 10 points behind their provincial rivals from Calgary who were widely expected to be worse heading into the year (as they are just starting their own rebuild, rather than being on YEAR EIGHT or whatever like Edmonton), and somehow more than doubled the negative goal differential of Calgary to boot. Yikes.
With that out of the way, here's your final look at the Wild Card standings. Only the top two got in, while the rest got the honor of losing to the Florida Panthers in something.
|1. Minnesota (C)||82||43||27||12||98||35||207||206||+1||26-10-5||17-17-7||3-1-0|
|2. Dallas (C)||82||40||31||11||91||36||235||228||+7||23-11-7||17-20-4||2-2-0|
|3. Phoenix (P)||82||37||30||15||89||31||216||231||-15||22-14-5||15-16-10||1-2-1|
|4. Nashville (C)||82||38||32||12||88||36||216||242||-26||19-17-5||19-15-7||3-0-1|
|5. Winnipeg (C)||82||37||35||10||84||29||227||237||-10||18-17-6||19-18-4||2-1-0|
|6. Vancouver (P)||82||36||35||11||83||31||196||223||-27||20-15-6||16-20-5||1-3-0|
|7. Calgary (P)||82||35||40||7||77||28||209||241||-32||19-19-3||16-21-4||2-2-0|
|8. Edmonton (P)||82||29||44||9||67||25||203||270||-67||16-22-3||13-22-6||1-2-0|
The Wild wrapped up their second straight trip to the postseason with a very good 3-1-0 week. Dallas, meanwhile, had their second straight 2-2-0 week, but that was more than enough to send them to the playoffs given the team chasing them, Phoenix, lost seven straight games. So yes, the Pacific does get the indignity of being the only division in the NHL to send just three teams to the playoffs, while the Central is the only division to send five. Below Phoenix, Nashville & Winnipeg both had good finishes, although that wasn't enough to save Barry Trotz's job (
and time will still tell on Paul Maurice in Winnipeg uh actually he just got a 4-year extension today oops nevermind). At the bottom of the standings, #woeCanada.
This Week in #fancystats
(all stats are total attempts, not percentages. thanks to extra skater. also, as an experiment I'm going to now list the best & worst Corsi for the opponents, so you can see who contributed- positively and negatively- to their effort as well, because why not?)
Flames 4, Kings 3 (SO)
Corsi: Kings 79-Flames 42 (overall), Kings 73-Flames 42 (5v5, 60.0 mins), Kings 49-Flames 22 (5v5 close, 35.1 mins), Kings 23-Flames 13 (5v5 tied, 19.7 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 57-Flames 28 (overall), Kings 52-Flames 28 (5v5, 60.0 mins), Kings 35-Flames 13 (5v5 close, 35.1 mins), Kings 15-Flames 8 (5v5 tied, 19.7 mins)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Muzzin (+24), Voynov (+20), Lewis (+14). Worst: Brown (even), Mitchell/Pearson (tied, +1)
CGY Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Cundari (+4), Billins (+2), Monahan (-2). Worst: Butler (-28), Russell (-27), Cammalleri (-15)
Kings 3, Oilers 0
Corsi: Kings 81-Oilers 39 (overall), Kings 61-Oilers 37 (5v5, 52.0 mins), Kings 10-Oilers 4 (5v5 close, 9.0 mins), Kings 1-Oilers 0 (5v5 tied, 0.4 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 61-Oilers 27 (overall), Kings 45-Oilers 25 (5v5, 52.0 mins), Kings 7-Oilers 2 (5v5 close, 9.0 mins), Kings 1-Oilers 0 (5v5 tied, 0.4 mins)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Nolan (+16), Muzzin/Voynov (tied, +15). Worst: Campbell/Martinez (tied, -1), Toffoli (even)
EDM Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Lander (+2), Pitlick/Gagner (tied, +1). Worst: Hall (-17), Nugent-Hopkins (-14), Eberle (-13)
Ducks 4, Kings 3 (SO)
Corsi: Kings 63-Ducks 49 (overall), Kings 47-Ducks 27 (5v5, 44.0 mins), Kings 43-Ducks 27 (5v5 close, 41.8 mins), Kings 27-Ducks 22 (5v5 tied, 30.8 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 43-Ducks 37 (overall), Kings 30-Ducks 18 (5v5, 44.0 mins), Kings 28-Ducks 18 (5v5 close, 41.8 mins), Kings 15-Ducks 15 (5v5 tied, 30.8 mins)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Williams (+11), Regehr/Voynov (tied, +10). Worst: Carter (-2), Toffoli (+1), Mitchell/Martinez/Lewis (tied, +2)
ANA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Bonino (-1), Cogliano/Perry (tied, -3). Worst: Smith-Pelly/Getzlaf/Lovejoy/Beauchemin (tied, -8)
Next Week in the
(this is exactly what it sounds like: the next week's schedule for all 4 Western Conference playoff series. all times are Pacific because, um, duh.)
In the interest of saving space I'm only listing the national broadcasters (for US & Canada), and only in English. Some of these games are in French on RDS too, and almost all of them are on their local broadcasters (and I think you're blacked out of the national feeds if you're in their home market, lucky you). The one exception to this are any NBC games (the broadcast channel, in another words), which only air on NBC, obviously. Both Kings games are on Fox Sports West this week, although they're not airing Games 3 or 4 on FSW so I guess you're stuck watching NBCSN with the rest of us (please don't be Sharks announcers please don't be Sharks announcers please don't be Sharks announcers please don't be-).
So there you are folks, the first (abbreviated) week of playoff hockey. All four Western series will play their first two games by Sunday, with LA-SJ going on last Sunday night. Not much else left to say, except Go Kings (and Go Stars and Go Whoever I Don't Really Care About You, Central).
See you next time, when we'll have playoff hockey to talk about!