The movement in the Pacific Division is absolutely fascinating. The Anaheim Ducks continue to pace the field, but the four teams behind them are jockeying for position like the final furlong at the Kentucky Derby.
In all likelihood, only three of the four teams will be left standing once the regular season ends. Trying to handicap the race may be a fool’s errand, but two Canadian teams have the upper hand. The race to the finish will surely be enjoyable to watch.
Let’s take a look back at the week that was in the Pacific Division:
Three Stars of the Week
- Mike Smith (ARI): 2-1-1 with a 1.45 GAA and a .956 save percentage
- Corey Perry (ANA) – Pacific-division leading four goals and six points
- Radim Vrbata (VAN) – One goal and five points
Stat of the Week
The Arizona Coyotes won their 20th game of the season on Monday, meaning the Pacific Division was the last division to have at least six teams with 20 or more wins.
Highlight of the Week
1. Anaheim Ducks (34-13-7) LW: 1 (14 consecutive weeks)
The Ducks had a fairly tough schedule last week and came out of it 2-1-1. Through three games of a five-game road trip, Anaheim relied on Corey Perry and its offense to lead the way. The Ducks now have a 12-point lead on the Calgary Flames for the division lead – get used to seeing the Ducks in this spot for the remainder of the season.
2. Vancouver Canucks (29-20-3) LW: 3
Artificially low in the standings due to playing 2-3 fewer games than the teams in front of them, the Canucks jump back into the No. 2 spot despite going 2-2 last week. Radim Vrbata and Ryan Kesler each had five points in those games. Vancouver’s play was all over the place last week. Following up a 5-1 defeat at the hands of San Jose, the Canucks routed the Penguins 5-0. Keep an eye on the Canucks as they begin to catch up in the games played column.
3. Calgary Flames (30-21-3) LW: 4
The little engine that could keeps on chugging. The inevitable collapse of the Flames seems less and less inevitable each passing day. Beating up on the Sharks last week on two separate occasions propels them past the Bay Area team. Let’s talk about our Jonas Hiller feelings, because he’s leading Calgary’s charge up the Pacific Division standings.
4. San Jose Sharks (28-20-7) LW: 2
Just when you think you’ve figured the Sharks out, they go 1-3, including a home loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. While San Jose mixed in a blow out win over the Canucks amongst the multi-goal losses to the Flames, the Sharks have about as much consistency as bottled water. Maybe left shark should start in net next week.
5. Los Angeles Kings (23-18-12) LW: 5
Although the week began as bad as one could imagine, a pair of losses including a 4-0 debacle in D.C., the defending Stanley Cup champions turned it around and finished the week .500. Stanley Cup hangover or not, the Kings don’t look very royal at all this season.
6. Arizona Coyotes (20-27-7) LW: 6
The Coyotes went 2-1-1 last week thanks in large part to the No. 1 star of the week above, Mike Smith. Smith’s play has been sensational since the All-Star break, and his team’s record follows suit. Arizona allowed only five goals in their four games last week, two of which went to overtime. Their offense is still hit or miss, but the Coyotes have separated themselves from the McDavid conversation with their play as of late.
7. Edmonton Oilers (15-30-9) LW: 7
Too little, too late comes to mind when thinking about the Oilers’ play lately. Edmonton went 1-2 last week, but has been playing .500 hockey over the last couple weeks. It’s hard to imagine the Oilers climbing out of the bottom three any time soon, but at least they’re showing signs of life. It’s something to build on.