Pacific Division Roundup: Flames extinguished, new coach in Toronto

The Los Angeles Kings have won five straight home games. With playing only once on the road in the last five decisions, logically, the Kings have won four of their most recent five contests. Still, they are the worst team in the Western Conference. However, the Kings are far from being disappointed with their progress.

Some teams have much bigger problems in the Western Conference than the Kings. What exactly is wrong with the Calgary Flames? The Flames won the Western Conference last season with 107 points. This year, they sit three points outside of the playoff picture with only 23 points.

Aside from on-ice woes, the Flames also had an unexpected scare as T.J. Brodie collapsed a week ago at a practice. Following an anxious moment, everything seems alright, as Brodie might rejoin the team at some point in the near future.

Could this incident leave its mark on the Flames? Since the scary situation occurred, the Flames have not scored a goal in three road games and gave up a total of 14 goals. In their lone home game in the meantime, Calgary fell to an early 3-0 deficit, ultimately failing to recover. The Flames are currently riding a six-game losing skid.

The Flames already know it’s not going to be easy with Milan Lucic, a former King. Even the name of Johnny Gaudreau has appeared in the rumor chatter. The Flames have given up 78 goals this year; only the Sharks have conceded more goals in the West, 79. Surprisingly, the Kings have given up 76 goals, ranking better than San Jose, Toronto, Calgary, and... Detroit, who gave up 91 goals to “lead” the NHL.

This season, everything seems more open. The division-leading Edmonton Oilers came to San Jose during the Sharks’ six-game winning streak and beat them 5-2. Then, the Oilers came to play the worst team in the West, the Kings, and lose 5-1. Parity, it’s called, I suppose. As for the Flames, you know you are ailing when you have already lost twice against the Kings!

Circle Around the NHL

The other team who can shake hands with the Flames, is the Nashville Predators. The Preds’ season is heading south real quick. Nashville has lost six straight contests and eight of their most recent nine games. They sit five points out of a playoff position with only 21 points. In the Western Conference, only the Wild and the Kings are worse than the Predators.

Before we get to Toronto, let’s mention another remarkable comeback by the Florida Panthers. They have never achieved this before in their franchise history, but now they have come back from two 4-0 deficits to win a hockey game. Last night’s victims were the Anaheim Ducks, who have exactly one triumph in their latest eight games.

The Toronto Maple Leafs made up their minds and fired Mike Babcock. Under new head coach Sheldon Keefe, the Leafs won on the first go on Thursday in Arizona. More than a message sent to the Maple Leafs’ players and fans, this should be a warning point for many coaches in the NHL. The Blues won the Stanley Cup last year after firing a coach? Well, so now that’s an insurance point for coaches like Peter Laviolette, Jon Cooper, Bill Peters, or Peter DeBoer.

Lastly, are the Sabres somehow 13 points out of the top spot in the East, after leading it, and the whole league, earlier this season? We have seen that movie before, haven’t we?

Pacific Division Power Rankings

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

Making the Pacific Division Power Rankings so far this season has been a blast. The Oilers are far from being a well-oiled hockey team, yet, they are, somewhat, the most consistent team out there. As for Vegas, Vancouver, and San Jose moving up, it’s more about Calgary falling. However, don’t sleep on San Jose, who have won seven of their last eight. Some Kings versus Sharks games are coming soon, so buckle up!