Pacific Snapshot (1/20/16)

Literal Kings.

Sometimes you just need to let a WWE theme song do your talking for you:

(That's one of my favorite Titantrons ever, actually, just because of how bad it is and how it contrasts to a truly awesome theme song. Also RIP Lemmy- that's Motohrhead brother.)

The Pacific division is doing just as the song says: bowing down to the Kings, who now have a 12-point lead in the Pacific. That's a lot of points. Last time we did this a couple weeks back it was 10, and instead of narrowing that gap back down to single digits the rest of the Pacific teams have basically decided we don't want that division banner anyway, you take it Kings have fun. Nice try though, San Jose, we all know you're lying.

But it's not all bad news for the six Pacific teams not based in Los Angeles! While the race for the division crown is becoming more of a joke by the day, the Wild Card race has suddenly opened up a lot. For many months it looked like the Central Division was going to run away with both of those spots, leaving the top 3 seeds of the Pacific as the only way for any of these teams to get in. However, Nashville and (to a lesser extent) Minnesota have both hit the skids big time of late, which allowed Colorado to take the 2nd Wild Card seed (that won't last) and the Pacific teams to actually have a chance in hell at one of them again. In fact, the Canucks are currently tied in points with the Avalanche (though Colorado wins out on the ROW tiebreaker) and the Ducks are just 4 points back with 3 games-in-hand. So it looks like the Wild Card race might actually matter for fans of Pacific division teams going forward, and we'll keep you posted here as we go along.

As always, all of our advanced stats come to you courtesy of War on Ice and are at even strength only.

CF%: Corsi For % (percent of all shot attempts)
FF%: Fenwick For % (percent of unblocked shot attempts)
PDO: Save percentage plus shooting percentage
SC%: Scoring Chance %, based on shot location
HSC%: High-danger scoring chance %, based on shot location

Team GP W L OTL Points ROW GF GA Diff Home Away CF% FF% PDO SC% HSC%
1. Los Angeles 45 29 13 3 61 27 121 101 +20 15-7-1
14-6-2 55.9 55.5 99.5 55.0 54.1
2. San Jose
44 23 18
3 49 21 127 121 +6 8-12-1 15-6-2 50.7 52.4 99.2 52.2 56.6
3. Arizona
45 22 18 5 49 22 123 135 -12
12-8-3 10-10-2 47.1 46.2 101.3 47.7 49.7
4. Vancouver
47 19
11 49 15
113 130 -17
9-8-4 10-9-7 46.5 46.8
100.3 43.3 43.2
5. Anaheim
44 19 18
7 45 17
88 105 -17 13-8-4 6-10-3 53.7 53.9 97.3 52.6 53.4
6. Calgary 44 20 21 3 43 19 118 135 -17 14-9-0 6-12-3 47.5 48.4 99.1 49.0 48.8
7. Edmonton 48
19 24
5 43 15 119 142 -23 13-9-1 6-15-4 48.8
98.6 48.6

And here's a quick overview of what the Wild Card race looks like today:
WC 1: Minnesota Wild, 52 points, 22 ROWs
WC 2: Colorado Avalanche, 49 points, 23 ROWs
-Canucks (49 points, 15 ROWs)
-Predators (48 points, 18 ROWs)
-Ducks (45 points, 17 ROWs)
-Jets (45 points, 21 ROWs)
-Flames (43 points, 19 ROWs)
-Oilers (43 points, 15 ROWs)

1. Los Angeles (last time: 1, record since 1/5: 4-1-1): Yawn, yet another successful two week stretch for the Kings, who picked up 9 out of a possible 12 points. We all keep waiting for the recent historical trends to kick in with this team, but after first bucking their trend of poor Decembers (10-3-1 in 12/15) the team is off to a good start in January too (5-2-1). The only two losses for the Kings in the past couple of weeks were both games they should have won, too; they outshot the Blues & Senators by a combined 60-39 margin, but came away with a shootout loss and a regulation time collapse, respectively. You can't win 'em all, but you can play the best hockey in the league, and in almost every metric at our disposal the Kings are doing exactly that. It's nice to see it getting rewarded in the standings a little more often than it has over the past few years.

2. San Jose (last time: 5, record since 1/5: 5-1-1): The Sharks had a very strong couple of weeks, going 5-1-1 to leapfrog three teams and climb all the way back into 2nd, as their stay outside of a playoff spot ended up being a very brief one. If you want to nitpick their recent 5-game win streak, you could point out it didn't exactly come against a murderer's row of opposition squads. No one is going to confuse the Leafs, Flames, Jets, or Oilers for the top of the league (hey what do all those teams have in common other than being pretty bad? can't put my finger on it) and the other team they beat was Dallas, who has been struggling mightily of late. The Sharks saw their win streak snapped by the Senators (hey, another bad Canadian team, what are they odds!) in a shootout, but have still not lost a game in regulation since January 7th. The fact that they still have no breathing room at all (the 4th place Canucks are tied with them & Arizona in points) is pretty hilarious, though.

3. Arizona (last time: 2, record since 1/5: 3-2-1): The Coyotes had a moderately successful week, in NHL terms; they lost as many games as they won, but they got the loser point in one of 'em at least. Their underlying numbers continue to suggest they are due for a collapse, and the Ducks are still chasing them which means I doubt they hold onto this spot for much longer. But I've been saying some variation of this about the Coyotes in every single Snapshot, so maybe they'll just hold on for the rest of the season who knows? I'm tired of talking about them, at any rate, especially after all this John Scott garbage, so let's just move on.

4. Vancouver (last time: 4, record since 1/5: 4-1-2): 4-1-2 is just the most 15-16 Canucks record of all time, right? Anyway, congrats to the Canucks on rolling into MSG and somehow getting outshot forty-nine to twenty by a Rangers team that almost never outshoots anyone. Good stuff. Also they post articles like this to their official team site, so basically screw these guys.

5. Anaheim (last time: 3, record since 1/5: 3-3-0): The Ducks celebrated climbing back into a playoff spot by going .500 over the next two weeks, promptly dropping them back down to 5th as quickly as they had gotten out. Good work, Ducks! They remain a very dangerous team according to the underlying stats and yadda yadda, but at some point they're gonna have to climb above the Arizonas and Vancouvers of the world and stay there for longer than a couple days. Also, they lost their first meeting of the year with the Kings in regulation, which was pretty cool. More of that please, Ducks.

6. Calgary (last time: 6, record since 1/5: 2-3-1): The Flames lost more than they won, you say? I for one am shocked.

7. Edmonton (last time: 7, record since 1/5: 2-3-2): The Oilers had the exact same record as their provincial rivals except they picked up one more loser point, so good for them I guess. Also they just found out Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is going to be out until at least March after blocking a shot with his hand (not the best way to block a shot, as it turns out), because there is a god and they really hate the Oilers, apparently. If your first reaction to that news was "so what, they're gonna have Connor McDavid back soon!", uh, try again. They're not even ready to say when, exactly, McDavid will be back, except that he won't be activated off injured reserve until February 2nd at the earliest (and "activated off injured reserve" and "actually ready to play in NHL games" are two very different things, for the record).

Enough laughing at the Oilers' misfortune, let's take a look at the upcoming week of games for all 7 Pacific Division teams! All times are- you guessed it- Pacific time.

Team Wed 1/20
Thurs 1/21
Fri 1/22
Sat 1/23 Sun 1/24 Mon 1/25 Tue 1/26
LA - vs.MIN (7:30) - @ARI (6:00) @SJ (7:00) -
SJ - @ARI (6:00) - vs.MIN (1:00) vs.LA (7:00)
vs.COL (7:00)
vs.SJ (6:00) - vs.LA (6:00) - @MIN (5:30) @WPG (5:00)
VAN - @BOS (4:00) - @PIT (9:30 am) - vs.NSH (7:00)
ANA vs.MIN (7:30)
@WSH (4:00) @DET (4:00) - - @BOS (4:00)
- @CBJ (4:00) - -
@CAR (3:00) @DAL (5:30) -
EDM - @DAL (5:30) - vs.NSH (7:00) - - -

That's all for now, thanks as always for reading. See you next time!