As March draws to a close, the haves separate themselves from the have nots, but no one feels comfortable.
The Anaheim Ducks will participate in the postseason dance, likely with a third consecutive Pacific Division crown. The Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames sit in playoff position, but do not feel safe just yet. The Los Angeles Kings are lurking behind the two aforementioned Canadian clubs, but they no longer control their path to the postseason.
Let’s take a closer look at where each of the seven Pacific Division teams stand with two weeks to go in the regular season.
Three Stars of the Week
- Radim Vrbata (VAN): Division-leading four goals and seven points
- Jiri Hudler (CGY): Two goals and six points
- Richard Bachman (EDM): 2-0-0 with a 0.50 GAA, .983 Sv% and a shutout
Stat of the Week
Six of the Pacific Division’s seven teams have a winning record in their last 10 games. Only the Arizona Coyotes (2-8-0) do not.
Highlight of the Week
1. Anaheim Ducks (49-22-7) LW: 1 (21 consecutive weeks)
It’s fitting the team that has sat atop the Pacific Division for the last five months is the first one to clinch a playoff spot. The Ducks have owned the division for the better part of three seasons now and will soon have a third banner to show for it. Three wins last week pushed them above the 100-point plateau, and they now lead the league with 105.
2. Vancouver Canucks (44-27-5) LW: 2
The Canucks had an interesting week to close out March. They handled playoff-caliber teams like the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets with ease, but struggled against the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars. Vancouver picked up five out of a possible eight points last week and holds a two-point lead (with a game in hand) on the Calgary Flames for the No. 2 spot in the division.
3. Calgary Flames (42-28-7) LW: 4
After struggling during the middle of the week, the Flames ended March with back-to-back road wins against the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars to leap ahead of the Los Angeles Kings in the standings and power rankings. Calgary just won’t go away and now the Kings need help to catch them. A Canucks/Flames first-round matchup seems more likely with each passing day.
4. Los Angeles Kings (37-25-14) LW: 3
The Kings are officially in trouble. After reeling off three consecutive wins to start their five-game road trip, the Kings finished the month with back-to-back 4-1 losses to the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks. With six games to go in the season, Los Angeles plays Calgary only once and will need some help to get into the postseason. The defending champs may not be able to defend that title much longer.
5. San Jose Sharks (37-30-9) LW: 5
Stick a fork in them, they’re done. The Sharks will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season and only the sixth time in their existence. San Jose went 2-0-1 last week to finish off their seven-game road trip, but it’s just too little too late. Major change is coming to the Bay Area sooner rather than later.
6. Edmonton Oilers (23-40-13) LW: 6
Edmonton is on a three-game winning streak and is inexplicably one of the hottest teams in the division. While their recent run will likely prevent them from picking in the top two in the upcoming draft, showing some fight and winning some games is exactly what this franchise needs. With the way things are going, they may not end up as Canada’s worst team when the regular season is all said and done.
7. Arizona Coyotes (23-46-8) LW: 7
The Coyotes have bottomed out — it’s as simple as that. While they are still playing hard and goaltender Mike Smith has found his groove again, the lack of offensive talent is too much adversity to overcome. Arizona and Buffalo will jockey for the bottom position and a guaranteed top-two pick in the season’s final two weeks.