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Pacific Power Rankings, Week 15: Could there be five teams making the playoffs out of the Pacific?

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Photo credit:Calgary Flames
Justin Mackenzie
4 months ago
It’s a tight race in the Western Conference, which is shaping up to be an absolute gauntlet of a playoff bracket with multiple teams looking like they could be the one to come out of the West.
With the standings and the wild card race heating up, there are currently six Pacific Division teams that look like they could claim a spot in this year’s playoff bracket. After a slow start by some of the teams, it looks like the Pacific Division is back in form, which is going to make for an exciting next couple of months down the stretch.
Let’s get into this week’s rankings:
All stats collected from Natural Stat Trick

1. Vancouver Canucks (32-11-4, 68 points)

Last week: 1 (-)
Record this week: 2-0-0
They have the goaltender. They have the superstar forwards. They have the superstar D-man. This Vancouver Canucks team looks built to go on a  run which is a crazy thought given their success over the past couple of seasons.
They are at the top of the list of multiple trade targets before the deadline to bolster their offence and solidify their defence. If they can do that, this is going to be a scary team come April.
Stick taps: Hughes brothers team up in Toronto
It was announced this week that Quinn Hughes has been named as one of the captains for the revamped NHL All-Star game at the beginning of February in the Mecca of hockey. Joining Quinn for the event are alternate captain, brother, and New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes and avid Canucks fan Michael Bublé as a celebrity captain.
Hughes is having a monster season with 12 goals and 45 assist in 47 games for the Canucks and is going to be right up there at the end of the year in the race for the Norris.

2. Edmonton Oilers (26-15-1, 53 points)

Last week: 2 (-)
Record this week: 3-0-0
It’s another week of Edmonton Oilers dominance as they pushed their winning streak to 13 straight victories. With the streak, the Oilers set a new Canadian NHL record after taking down the Calgary Flames on Hockey Day in Canada in the second edition of the Battle of Alberta this season. With a relatively soft part of the schedule coming up this week for the Oilers, who knows how far they can stretch their impressive rise up the standings.
The Oilers also added some depth this week by signing veteran Corey Perry to a contract for the rest of the year. Perry had four goals and nine points in 16 games with the Blackhawks before his contract was terminated.
Stick taps: Skinner shakes off the sophomore slump
To compliment the winning streak his team has, goaltender Stuart Skinner improved to 10-0-0 during the run, tying the great Grant Fuhr for the longest winning streak by an Oilers goaltender. He will have a chance to take over the team record tonight as Edmonton gets set to host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After a horrendous start to the year, Skinner has bounced his stat line back to a .906 save percentage and is down to a 2.53 goals against average.

3. Vegas Golden Knights (27-14-6, 60 points)

Last week: 3 (-)
Record this week: 3-0-1
After a very slow start to the 2024 portion of the schedule, including some pretty significant injuries to their stars, the Vegas Golden Knights seem to be bouncing back into form.
After collecting points in every game this week, the Knights find themselves eight points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for second in the Pacific. It might be tough to catch the Canucks if they are continue their run but this team has proved that they are more than capable on going on a long stretch of good hockey.
Stick taps: Thompson gets star of the week nod 
Goaltender Logan Thompson was named this weeks third star of the week after backstopping the Golden Knights back into form. In the three games he played, Thompson was 3-0-0, had a .956 save percentage, and only allowed 4 goals against. Adin Hill is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday night against the Islanders, solidifying the Golden Knights tandem as one of the top in the league.

4. Los Angeles Kings (22-13-9, 53 points)

Last week: 5 (+1)
Record this week: 1-2-0
The Los Angeles Kings are still trying to get out of the hole they have been digging themselves since the Christmas break. Still in a wild card spot as the surging Oilers passed them last week, they need to start stringing together some consistent hockey if they don’t want to slip down the standings any further.
What’s worse is Pierre-Luc Dubois, who was supposed to take this offence to the next level, has looked non-existent since joining the club this summer and it is costing the Kings a lot of money. In an attempt to get him going and jump-start his season, Todd McLellan has bumped him up to the first line to play on the left wing of Anze Kopitar and Adrien Kempe.
Stick taps: Quick returns to Los Angeles
New York Rangers goaltender Jonathan Quick was welcomed back to Crypto.com Arena with open arms on Saturday night in his first visit back to Los Angeles since being traded last season. Quick stopped 24 of 26 shots in a 2-1 loss to his former squad.
In his time in Los Angeles, Quick rose to the top of the list in almost every major goaltending category for the franchise including his record setting 2012 season where he set the NHL record for lowest GAA (1.41) and highest SV% (.946).

5. Seattle Kraken (19-18-9, 47 points)

Last week: 4 (-1)
Record this week: 0-3-0
A four game losing streak has pumped the brakes on the Seattle Kraken bandwagon, at least for this week. Despite the four straight losses, the slate of teams that the Kraken have had on their schedule were tough, including the Ranger, Oilers, and Maple Leafs. They were outscored by a score of 12-5 over those three games.
The good news for Kraken fans? The previous stretch of picking up points in 13 straight games has kept them within striking distance of a wild card spot. If Joey Daccord can keep his incredible form and a few key players can get back in the lineup, mainly Matty Beniers, Yanni Gourde, and Vince Dunn, it might not be time to write the Kraken off quite yet.
Stick taps: Injuries make room for an insurgence of youth
With the injuries stacking up against the Kraken, it has made room for some of the youth in the system to get a shot with the big club. On Jan. 16,  John Hayden was called up from Coachella Valley and played his first game of the season with the Kraken. His addition to the roster marks the 10th call-up by Seattle this season to play at least one game.

6. Calgary Flames (21-20-5, 47 points)

Last week: 6 (-)
Record this week: 1-2-0
An overtime win against the Coyotes on Tuesday extended the Calgary Flames winning streak to four before dropping back-to-back games to the Leafs and Oilers to finish the week. Similar to the Kraken, the Flames are right in the mix for that final wild card spot in the Western Conference. With Jacob Markstrom set to make his return in between the pipes this week, there still has to be some optimism that this season isn’t over yet for the Flames.
Unfortunately, Martin Pospisil is going to miss some time after taking an awkward fall into the boards against Toronto on Thursday. This hurts the Flames as that second line of Connor Zary, Nazem Kadri and Pospisil has been really clicking since being put together. We’ll see if they can produce at the same rate with Matthew Coronato stepping in on Kadri’s right wing.
Stick taps: A Shilly return on the horizon? 
On Monday, Flames defenceman Oliver Kylington practised with the club for the first time since May 2022. The last game Kylington played in the NHL was May 26, 2022. After multiple set-backs in his return to playing hockey, any steps in the right direction is great news for the 26-year old. The news comes after Kylington had a two game conditioning stint with their AHL affiliate Calgary Wranglers this month.

7. Anaheim Ducks (15-30-1, 31 points)

Last week: 7 (-)
Record this week: 0-3-0
Another winless week for the Anaheim Ducks, including a tough loss in the NHL’s Toilet Bowl against the San Jose Sharks, puts the team one step closer to a top draft pick. The fourth lowest scoring team in the league, injuries have been the big story for this young group, including multiple trips to the IR list for Trevor Zegras, who hasn’t looked anywhere near what he has been in his three previous seasons.
Along with Zegras, the forward group took another hit when premier off-season signing Alex Killorn underwent left knee surgery this week. He is expected to miss four to six weeks. In his first season as a Duck, Killorn has 19 points in 34 games.
Stick taps: Cutting out the haters
After the trade that sent Jamie Drysdale to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for highly touted Cutter Gauthier and the drama that followed, it looks like the newest Anaheim Duck hasn’t let the noise from the outside bother him. Since the trade, Gauthier has registered 7 points in 4 games with the Boston College Eagles, who are currently ranked second in the NCAA.

8. San Jose Sharks (12-31-4, 28 points)

Last week: 8 (-)
Record this week: 1-1-1
The San Jose Sharks are still doing Sharks things. I have no further comment than that so let’s get right into the stick taps for the week.
Stick taps: Sharks get their captain back
Sharks captain Logan Couture, suited up for the first time this season after suffering multiple setbacks in his recovery from a lower-body injury. Once thought that his NHL career might be over, it was awesome to see him make his return to the lineup. Couture recorded an assist in his season debut in a 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Have any additional stick taps this week? Let us know in the comments!

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