Pacific Division Roundup: Oilers maintain superb start, Coyotes on the rise

The second edition of our Pacific Division Roundup is here. After over two weeks of hockey, the Pacific Division starts to sharpen up. However, there are still some unexpected teams on top of the standings.

The Edmonton Oilers continue their excellent start to the campaign. The only team to defeat them so far was the Chicago Blackhawks. After their first loss of the season, the Oilers bounced back to a big 6-3 victory over the Flyers. It doesn’t matter that Philadelphia fired 52 shots on Mikko Koskinen. Connor McDavid continues to pour on the points as he sits atop of the NHL’s scoring race with 17 points. Who is right behind McDavid? It’s Leon Draisaitl with 15 points. That duo is simply sublime. Can the Oilers maintain that moving forward? That’s up in the air.

The second team in the Kings’ division with 10 points is the Anaheim Ducks. It was the Kings who were supposed to have a tremendous start despite the off-season odds! While the Kings lost 3-0 at home to the Sabres, Buffalo blew a 2-0 lead just a night before at Honda Center. That’s a stinger right there.

The Golden Knights are not going to go away. Both them and the Flames had a so-so start to the season. However, they still have 10 and nine points respectively in the standings. It’s those expectations hunting them down a bit. Every loss is painful for them, which is pretty logical. Overreaction on a win is not an option, delusion upon a loss is powerful. Expect both the Flames and Vegas to finish strong in the Pacific Division.

The streaky Vancouver Canucks are calling for attention. After a slow 0-2 start, the Canucks won four straight. On Thursday, Vancouver won after coming back from a two-goal deficit in St. Louis. Losing Jacob Markstrom due to personal reasons has not harmed them so far. We wish the Swedish goalie the best luck in the world. Stay strong!

The biggest sleeper in the Pacific Division currently seems to be the Arizona Coyotes. After a slow offensive start, the Coyotes are on the rise. They went 3-0-1 in their last four games, facing some quality hockey teams. Phil Kessel is on the board in Glendale, finally! This team was coming together for a long time. They will erupt in a positive way at some point.

It seems like the San Jose Sharks have that rough start to the campaign behind them. Now they have won three straight games, and they finally look firm and established. If they hit a hot streak, they will be quite difficult to beat. Evander Kane came off a three-game suspension to start the campaign on a high note; he struck down the Hurricanes on Wednesday with a first-period hat trick.

Notes Around the NHL

The top team in the league is the Buffalo Sabres. Yes, those Sabres from Thursday night at Staples Center. Where we have seen that story before? Can the Sabres, for once, not go from an elite-looking team to a complete disaster in a few months? They have everything what does it take to do it. So, do it.

The Tampa Bay Lightning reacted to a tough start with three huge road wins in Montreal, Toronto, and Boston. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to be without John Tavares for at least two weeks with a broken finger. Ouch. The Leafs play two prestigious contests versus the Bruins over the weekend.

The worst team in the NHL is the Minnesota Wild. That team looks awful. They don’t have offense, defense, or goaltending, simply nothing. Rough times in Minnesota! On another note, the #FireJohnHynes hashtags will have to stop for at least a few days. The Devils belatedly have their first win of the season. They did that against their foes, the New York Rangers. The Rangers played their second game in the last 12 days. Crazy schedule.

Pacific Division Power Rankings

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

You can see how the teams moved up compared to our Power Rankings from a week ago. The Sharks are the biggest risers, while the Ducks finally showed some signs of troubles. The Coyotes start to unleash their potential. The last place is presently truly stored for the Kings. A disturbing reality, but a reality nevertheless.