Pacific Division Roundup: Vancouver Strikes, Sharks Strain

It’s another episode of our Pacific Division Roundup as we switch the calendars to November. Fittingly, the Los Angeles Kings are ready to turn the page on their calendars, although they somehow are not the last team in the NHL. This “honor” goes to the Ottawa Senators and the New Jersey Devils.

If you look at the Pacific Division standings, six teams are separated by only four points. The top spot still belongs to the Edmonton Oilers with 19 points, while the sixth position belongs to the Arizona Coyotes with 15 points. There is, however, a yawning gap between the Coyotes and the seventh-placed Sharks and last-placed Kings.

The Oilers have had a rough week. In back-to-back games, they failed to score a goal. Then, they sunk the Capitals´ two-goal lead late to win in overtime. It was a big win against currently the top team in the NHL, the Capitals, followed by two brutal losses, 6-2 at home against Florida, and 3-1 in Detroit. On Wednesday, the Oilers bounced back to win 4-1 in Columbus. Despite holding down the top spot in the Division, the Oilers showed some signs of concern.

The second spot in the Pacific Division goes to the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks opened the season with two regulation losses, followed by an 8-1-1 record in their next 10 games. At Rogers Arena, they haven’t found a conqueror in regulation time yet, although squandering a 5-1 lead versus the Capitals last week was abysmal.

However, the Canucks are on the rise. We could have witnessed it on Wednesday when Vancouver stormed through the Staples Center with a 5-3 victory. Four power play tallies demonstrate the quality their attack possesses. Besides, their goaltending has been solid this season.

The Golden Knights with a loss-win-loss-win streak, fail to find some consistency, but still maintain the third spot in the Division. On the other hand, the Flames are in a rather analogous spot as Vegas. After losing the Heritage Classic (hey, did you know there was an outdoor game in October?) and putting up only one goal in Carolina, the Flames somehow scored five goals in the third period and overtime on Thursday in Nashville.

The Flames end up tied with the Ducks, who still occupy a playoff berth in the Division with 16 points. Arizona saw its perfect 7-1-1 run stopped by the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

What about the San Jose Sharks? They are awful once again. When Patrick Marleau signed there, the Sharks went on a three-game winning streak. The Sabres cut that one down with a 4-3 win at the SAP Center. Subsequently, the Sharks embarked on a five-game road trip, which had a promising start. A point from an overtime loss in Buffalo, great win in Montreal, and a tight loss on back-to-back nights in Toronto.

After that, the Senators beat them 5-2, in yet another infamous return of Erik Karlsson to Ottawa. This team was 4-2-1 and seemingly improving before losing badly to lowly Sens. If one would expect a response from them, there was none. The Bruins trashed them densely 5-1 as San Jose seemed like the fivesome randomly skating on the ice. This Sharks team needs to find some answers rather soon.

Circle Around NHL

Injuries, injuries, and more injuries. What’s up with those injuries? Tough break for the reigning champs, the St. Louis Blues, as they lost Vladimir Tarasenko, who might be out until the playoffs, if not beyond that. Well, he has his ring already, right? Tarasenko’s injury occurred in a game versus the Kings, which started the present Kings’ four-game losing skid.

Another injury blow in the Central Division, this time for the Colorado Avalanche. Their captain Gabriel Landeskog will miss significant time with a lower-body injury. All of a sudden, an initially impeccable Avs lost three of their last four contests. Remember, Mikko Rantanen also remains absent with his injury issue.

Meanwhile, the Dustin Byfuglien saga grew greater with the defenseman undergoing a surgery. Apparently, the Jets were unaware of that surgery. Byfuglien is set to miss the next few months, to say the least. Roman Josi cashed in big-time with the Predators on an eight-year contract extension worth $9.059 million per season until 2028.

Let’s close with some fantastic goals, both scored in Calgary’s recent games:

Pacific Division Power Rankings

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

There are a lot of moves in our Pacific Division Power Rankings compared to last week’s ones. The Golden Knights, despite a bit of an inconsistency, seem like a top team in the Division. The Oilers are downgrading, and therefore there is no reason keeping them atop the list.

The Canucks got our attention last week, but they are showing some likable progress to claim the second spot. Apologies to the Ducks hard-working team that went beneath the Sharks last week. In terms of hard-working abilities, only the Kings match the Sharks!