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Pacific Division Roundup: Clown Show in Vegas

Los Angeles Kings v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

We are back with another edition of the Pacific Division Roundup. The Kings have switched places with the Anaheim Ducks, as now the Kings are last in the Western Conference.

On Thursday, they tried to use the Panthers’ medicine against Florida itself. Being down 4-0 in the third period, the Kings almost tied it up, but they ultimately lost 4-3. Earlier this season, the Panthers managed to prevail in two games when down by four goals.

The Ducks, on the other hand, won 4-2 in Nashville, to move them ahead of the Kings in the standings.

Coaching changes are not surprising, but this season, they are flowing at a much higher pace than in the previous campaigns. The most shocking coaching change of the season, to say the least, belongs to the Vegas Golden Knights.

After their four-game losing slide — with one of those losses coming up against the Kings — the Golden Knights fired Gerard Gallant. Gallant led the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural 2017-18 season while winning the Pacific Division title last year. This year, the Golden Knights were in the mix to claim the divisional title yet again.

Last year, Vegas looked loaded after acquisitions of Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty, and Mark Stone. They went against the Sharks in the first round and led 3-1. Then, the Sharks came back stunningly, including recovery from a 3-0 deficit in Game 7.

There were a lot of controversies last spring. The five-minute major to Cody Eakin caused the Sharks’ four power-play goal explosion. Before Game 7, Peter DeBoer complained about Gallant chirping players from the bench. “For that clown to say that in the paper yesterday, it’s not right,” said Gallant before Game 7.

And from all people in the world, it was DeBoer who was named the new head coach of the Golden Knights. Not many fans get this move on behalf of the Golden Knights’ front office. Not all Vegas fans are pleased with DeBoer being their head coach after bad blood from last spring.

Will Gallant coach Seattle next? Just imagine that he could lead another expansion team to the Stanley Cup Final in their first season ever. Any guesses on if they would still fire him afterward, too?

Circle Around the NHL

There is an epic battle of I-do-not-want-the-Presidents-Trophy going on. The Washington Capitals currently lead the league with 69 points, while the Cup Final foes, the Blues and the Bruins, are right behind with 68 points. In the Western Conference, the separation between the first two spots is 10 points. It seems like everything in the Western Conference route in the playoffs will have to go through Enterprise Center. Don’t have to bother with that, Kings fans.

Sidney Crosby returned to the Penguins lineup. Crosby scored five points in his first two contests since his return. That’s solid, right? The improved Penguins got even better with Crosby in the lineup. It would be great to see another Caps-Pens playoff series for sure.

The injury-rattled Columbus Blue Jackets, who got one of their recent wins in Los Angeles, as well, are presently holding the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. With some many injuries, after so harmful off-season departures, with a guy named Elvis in the net... The Blue Jackets appear to be dangerous, yet again.

Pacific Division Power Rankings

  1. Arizona Coyotes (+1)
  2. Calgary Flames (+2)
  3. Edmonton Oilers (=)
  4. Vegas Golden Knights (-4)
  5. Vancouver Canucks (=)
  6. San Jose Sharks (=)
  7. Los Angeles Kings (=)
  8. Anaheim Ducks (=)

The Pacific Division Power Rankings can change its top five literally at any time. To lead the division, here are the Calgary Flames with 57 points. To close out the top five in the Pacific, there are the Oilers with 55 points. All those five teams are in the playoff spot as of now. The Coyotes still seem like the best contender, they just need their goalies to come back.