Apparently people thought the last Pacific Snapshot got a little redundant with all the "this division is trash" stuff. I will admit, I did say it more than a few times. I will try to be a little less sledgehammer-like in my analysis this time around. Here, let me just get some of it out of my system right now:
This division is so freaking bad!!!!!!!!!!
Okay. Maybe that helped. Probably not. But we tried!
Anyway, your up-to-the-minute standings are below. All advanced stats are at even strength and come to us courtesy of War on Ice.
|1. Los Angeles||
|2. San Jose
1. Los Angeles (last time: 1, record since: 4-3-0): It wasn't a great couple of weeks for the Kings, who could only manage a barely above-average record and slipped out of first place for the first time in a while. However, their victory last night over Florida brought them into a literal statistical tie with San Jose for first place in the Pacific. Yes, they are tied in every single tiebreaker- they've played the same number of games, have the same number of ROWs, both have identical 1-1-0 records (and each win came in the other team's building), and even their goal differential is exactly the same. As far as I can tell, there is literally no way to break this tie today! But NHL.com still lists the Kings in 1st presumably just out of alphabetical order (ESPN.com, on the other hand, lists the Sharks in 1st, but who cares about those hockey-hating jerks anyway), so damnit, that's what we're doing too! Everyone rejoice! Raise the "our team's city starts with an earlier letter in the alphabet" banner! Anyway, the Kings also still have the best underlying stats in the division by a mile (except for high-danger chances), so I think we deserve this. Deal with it. It does bring up the interesting question of what would happen if these two teams were in such a tie at the end of the season, however. One-game playoff? Coin flip? Breakdancing contest? All things are possible!!!
2. San Jose (last time: 3, record since: 6-1-0): Yeah yeah, obviously the Sharks have been great of late. They're currently riding a six-game winning streak and all that. Here's the cold water we can throw on it: Martin Jones currently has a .940 sv% at even strength for the season (and a .967 since the winning streak started). That's almost certain to come down a bit, even if he ends up having a great year. Meanwhile, the Sharks still have very average possession numbers (weirdly, a sub-50 Corsi but a Fenwick above 51). They look an awful lot like a slightly above-average team getting carried by a great goaltender at this point. Can they get carried all the way to a division title? In this division, absolutely. But the Kings are clearly a squad of higher quality. I still like our chances in what has quickly become a two-horse race.
3. Vancouver (last time: 2, record since: 2-4-1): The Canucks remain a bad team, losing five of seven in the past two weeks. Despite dropping in the standings they remain in a playoff spot by the tiniest of hairs, as they have a ".500 record" (with six loser points!!!) and just a one point lead on the Arizona Coyotes.....who have two games in hand. Yes, they are barely holding off the Coyotes. Honestly, if the Ducks don't rally and compete for this spot (which I still think they probably will, but who knows) and it's really Vancouver vs. Arizona for the final spot in the Pacific, that will be the most hilarious playoff race in quite some time. I predict Arizona wins that race, by the way, because why not.
4. Arizona (last time: 4, record since: 4-3-0): The Coyotes had a decent few weeks, winning more than they lost and remaining very relevant on the Pacific bubble. It's tough to even call them a lucky team at this point (as their 100.7 PDO should attest); yeah, they're a little lucky, but their real stroke of fortune is playing in the Pacific division. As mentioned above, I don't see why they couldn't catch the Canucks, who are very bad. But it's the team behind them that I think they really have to worry about.
5. Anaheim (last time: 5, record since: 2-3-2): You might recall that two weeks ago it looked like the Ducks were gonna charge right up the standings and at least get back into the playoff race- they had gone 4-2-1 in their previous 7 and it just seemed inevitable at the time that their rise would continue. Well, you can see their record since, which is certainly not very good, so it seems their trip upward has stalled out, at least for now. Their PDO still leaves plenty of room for regression and they've still got the second-best puck possession in the division (although their weird badness at converting that into a majority of the scoring chances in the game would certainly give me pause if I was a Ducks fan), so I still think it's very likely they ultimately sneak into that 3rd seed in the Pacific. Of course, no one ever thought the Kings were gonna miss the playoffs last year either, right?
6. Calgary (last time: 6, record since: 3-3-0): The Flames played .500 hockey for a couple of weeks. Not sure what there is to really say about them at this point. They're due for some better luck but they're still not, like, a good hockey team.
7. Edmonton (last time: 7, record since: 2-3-1): And down in the basement, perhaps one would argue where they belong, are these Oilers of Edmonton. Again, slightly better possession numbers than you might expect given their record (and reputation), which is perhaps a slight positive sign for them. I'm sure it's of great comfort that your even-strength Corsi is only a half-point below 50 when you're somehow 7 points out of a playoff spot in November in the 2015-16 Pacific Division, though.
Let's take a look at the coming week for this bunch of scoundrels (I skipped Thursday 11/26 cause there's no games at all due to American Thanksgiving):
||Sat 11/28||Sun 11/29||Mon 11/30||Tue 12/1|
My favorite part of that whole "skipping Thanksgiving" thing is how it makes it look like three different teams all have the first-ever back-to-back-to-backs in NHL history. If only!
So that's it for today's Pacific Snapshot. Enjoy your feast on Thursday, provided you will be having one. Do not look up what it is actually about, unless you want to be sad.