Pacific Division Roundup: McDavid-Draisaitl drive the Oilers, frustrated leaders appear
Is there even anyone else on the Oilers?
Welcome to our third edition of the Pacific Division Roundup! The Kings, unfortunately, are still the last team in the Pacific Division, nothing to be happy about, but nothing to be surprised about either.
On the top of the division, the Edmonton Oilers still reign. Then again, should we say the Oilers or the McDavid-Draisaitl hockey club? Those two players, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, have been killing it all season long. While atop of the NHL scoring is, as everybody expected, John Carlson, the Capitals’ defenseman, with 21 points, McDavid and Draisaitl aren’t far behind. Despite their high-scoring forwards, though, last week wasn’t as smooth for Edmonton. They lost back-to-back games for the first time in the season, not scoring a single goal.
Down 3-1 in the third period facing Washington, it was Draisaitl from McDavid to cut the lead in half, then McDavid somehow beating Braden Holtby, and finally, McDavid feeding the German forward for an overtime-winner. When those two turn the jets on, they are simply unstoppable. An easy thing to highlight in any pre-game show for any NHL team, when facing the Oilers: stop McDavid and Draisaitl, and you are done. The Wild and the Jets were able to do that. But it’s such a tough task to handle.
Now, let’s turn and look at the Golden Knights. Reasonably, the biggest concern for Vegas is their goaltending. Marc-Andre Fleury can’t play it all. He did so until last Monday when Oscar Dansk was their starter. The Flyers, the struggling Flyers, facing the Golden Knights, the mighty Knights, got six past them to claim an easy win. Is that a show that you have limited chances with your backup in the net? Yes. Malcolm Subban is still out with injury, and Fleury cant catch them all.
The Calgary Flames might be third in the Division, but their -2 overall goal differential is not to be overlooked. They have goaltending issues of their own, with both David Rittich and Cam Talbot struggling early. On the other side, the Canucks are on the rise. It all started with that huge 8-2 win over the Kings in their home opener. Since then, Vancouver has lost only one game, which took place in that Hughes brothers derby against New Jersey.
The Ducks, after a perfect start to the season, downgraded to 6-5 on the campaign. Anaheim is now in the midst of a three-game losing skid. Their last loss came versus the Dallas Stars with Corey Perry in a Stars uniform. Yep, that sounds weird.
The 5-0-1 run from the streaky Arizona Coyotes was halted by the Islanders on Thursday. Otherwise, the Yotes are still high, and their performances show magnificent promise as of late.
"It's a selfish play, and that doesn't need to be part of this team so we'll figure that out."— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 23, 2019
— #SJSharks captain Logan Couture on the overtime error that led to Buffalo's game-winning goal on Tuesday.https://t.co/ctsKZzr0e3
We are already pretty low in the Pacific Division standings, and we have not reached the Kings yet! The Sharks won in Montreal on Thursday, but before that, San Jose lost back-to-back to Buffalo. Their captain Logan Couture wasn’t quite thrilled about that. Seems like the Sharks are improving, but they have a ton of stuff to correct.
Circle Around NHL
On top of the NHL, we find teams like the Sabres and the Oilers. We have seen that story before, haven’t we? Following a flawless 5-0 start, the Carolina Hurricanes have won only one game in their past five contests. It doesn’t surprise anybody that the only recent victory for the Caniacs came in Los Angeles.
Auston Matthews on #Leafs navigating tough stretch: “Something that we are doing a better job of is holding each other accountable. You know, we're a family here, but I mean sometimes you gotta yell at your family.”— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) October 24, 2019
Apart from Couture not being happy about the Sharks’ display, Auston Matthews has not pleased with the Maple Leafs’ performances as of late. One shouldn’t be shocked, Toronto lost at TD Garden on Tuesday, where they lost Game 7s in each of the last two campaigns.
THAT CLOSE. 😳— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) October 24, 2019
The Penguins were that close to tying the game as time expired in the third period. pic.twitter.com/Ug18A1XOc6
The last thing we will touch on in the Roundup is the controversy situation from the Lightning game versus the Penguins from Wednesday. Was that a goal or not? It surely seemed like an inconclusive play, but fans around the League argue that it was in. What’s your take? With that, let’s say, miss, the Penguins lost three straight after winning five in a row.
Pacific Division Power Rankings
- Edmonton Oilers (=)
- Vegas Golden Knights (=)
- Calgary Flames (=)
- Arizona Coyotes (=)
- Vancouver Canucks (+2)
- San Jose Sharks (=)
- Anaheim Ducks (-2)
- Los Angeles Kings (=)
The only movers in comparison with the last Power Rankings are the Canucks and the Ducks. Anaheim is in a slump lately and that uncovers perhaps their real potential. On the other note, the Canucks had an impressive week. Let them enjoy claiming at least a virtual second wild-card spot in this week’s edition!