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Pacific Power Rankings, Week 18: Can the Flames both sell and make the playoffs?

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Photo credit:Calgary Flames
Justin Mackenzie
2 months ago
Here we go. The final stretch of the regular season is off and the Pacific Division is far from wrapped up. With four teams currently sitting in playoffs spots and two more close on the heels of the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card spot, it is an exciting time for fans across the division.
Will the Flames be able to get themselves a spot in the dance? Will the Canucks hang on to the first spot in the league? Will there be a first pick coming to division at the lottery? All those questions will be answered over the next couple of months as we wrap up the 2023-24 NHL regular season. Let’s get into this week’s Pacific Power Rankings!
All stats collected from Natural Stat Trick

1. Vancouver Canucks (35-12-6, 76 points)

Last week: 2 (+1)
Record this week: 2-1-1
The Vancouver Canucks went out and got their guy. While the team is still trying to figure out who Elias Lindholm will be running with down the stretch and in what they hope is a long playoff run, the Canucks have a chance to complete another successful road trip in Chicago on Tuesday.
One concerning point for the Canucks is that they are allowing a lot of early goals over the last stretch here. They have been scored on first for six consecutive games with an opposition goal coming within the first two minutes in four straight.
Stick taps: Dynamic defensive duo
The Canucks first pair of Quinn Hughes (65) and Filip Hronek (39) have combined for 104 points this season. With the duo surpassing the century mark in a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes, they surpass the Canucks record of 100 combined points by two defencemen.

2. Edmonton Oilers (30-17-1, 61 points)

Last week: 1 (-1)
Record this week: 1-2-0
The streak is over, but 16 straight wins helped the Oilers get themselves right back into the thick of the playoff conversation. Losing to arguably two of their biggest rivals in the Golden Knights and Kings this week definitely hurts for those Oilers fans up north, but with the fewest games played in the NHL it gives them a shot to make that ground back up quickly.
Ken Holland is reportedly looking to get busy this trade deadline with Jake Guentzel and Sean Walker being some names that have been thrown around to beef them up for another playoff run.
Stick taps: Stuey is serving it up
Stuart Skinner has been excellent since his early season struggles. Take out the disappointing loss to the Kings on Saturday night, his 12 wins leads all goaltenders and .944 SV% trails only Connor Hellebuyck since Dec. 22. It looks like the Oilers aren’t as desperate for a goaltender anymore, but some reassurance between the pipes in case things go sideways again wouldn’t be the worst option.

3. Vegas Golden Knights (31-16-6, 68 points)

Last week: 3 (-)
Record this week: 2-1-0
The Vegas Golden Knights are slowing re-finding their footing over the past couple weeks after a stretch of uncharacteristic hockey in December and early January. They came out of the break firing against the record aspiring Oilers, taking them down in a playoff like tilt on home ice. The Knights are 7-2-1 over their last 10 games which seems a lot more like the team that lifted the Stanley Cup a year ago.
Keep in mind that the Knights still aren’t 100% healthy with some key players out of the lineup. One significant player has returned in Adin Hill, who looks like he might be in better form than we saw before the absence from the lineup. He has only lost a one start since his return and leads all goalies in both save percentage (.933) and goals against average (2.00).
Stick taps: Pietrangelo plays 1000
On Monday night against the Minnesota Wild, defenceman Alex Pietrangelo skated in his 1,000th career NHL game. He celebrated with two helpers on the night. Over his 16 year NHL career with the Blues and Golden Knights, Pietrangelo has 142 goals and 454 assists.

4. Los Angeles Kings (24-15-10, 58 points)

Last week: 4 (-)
Record this week: 1-0-0
A late bye week for the Los Angeles Kings resulted in only one game being on the schedule for the team. With that said, that singular game was an important one. A lot transpired over the course of the break for Kings as their nose dive in the standings resulted in their head coach being relieved of his duties. The 4-0 win over the Oilers on Saturday hopes to get the Kings back on track as they head east for a road trip.
The Kings goaltending situation is an interesting one as David Rittich has been fantastic since being picked up. He has a 6-1-3 record with a .931 SV% in the 12 starts he has had with the club. Rittich’s success has given veteran Cam Talbot some much needed games off. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep the tandem style system for the rest of the campaign.
Stick taps: Jim Hiller looks to turn the ship around
After Todd McLellan was relieved of his duties a week ago, the Kings announced that assistant coach Jim Hiller will take over behind the bench for the remainder of the season. The King haven’t made it out of the first round since McLellan was hired in 2019-20. With the coaching change, Hiller will look to get the Kings out of their slump and get them over the first round hump.

5. Calgary Flames (25-23-5, 55 points)

Last week: 6 (+1)
Record this week: 3-1-0
Even as the dominoes start to fall for the Calgary Flames inevitable selling at the deadline, the team has kept their head high and are playing some of their best hockey of the season. Winner of 4 straight before the loss to the Rangers on Monday, a playoff spot is within the sights with some of the younger players stepping up and making the most of their auditions with the big club. It’s been fun to watch.
An even bigger bonus for the Flames? We’re starting to see some chemistry being built with Jonathan Huberdeau and newly acquired Andrei Kuzmenko. Huberdeau now has five points in the five games Kuzmenko has been on the team.
Stick taps: Weegar fills the net on the island
A MacKenzie Weegar hat trick against the New York Islanders probably wasn’t on a lot of bingo cards but here we are. After being held pointless in the three games prior, Weegar had a great showing on Saturday capping off the three spot with a late empty netter. Weegar now leads all NHL defencemen with 15 goals on the year.

6. Seattle Kraken (21-21-10, 52 points)

Last week: 5 (-1)
Record this week: 0-1-0
The Seattle Kraken are nearly a shell of the team that we saw during the incredible point streak in December. They have now lost three straight and 2-7-1 over their last 10. The playoffs are slowly slipping out of reach for the Kraken as the Wild Card pace has been strong.
Scoring has been the nagging issue for the Kraken all season as they continue to be snake bitten on offence. Over the past 10 games, they have only found the net 10 times.
Stick taps: Daccord doing his best to keep his team afloat
Goaltender Joey Daccord is just about the only thing keeping the Kraken in games over the last stretch of games. He’s maintained an above .900 save percentage for the past six of seven.
Daccord is going to need to stand on his head for the remainder of the season if there is any chance for Seattle to return to the playoffs for the second straight year.

7. Anaheim Ducks (18-31-2, 38 points)

Last week: 7 (-)
Record this week: 0-1-0
The Anaheim Ducks had a nice little run going into the All-Star break, winning three of the last four. An Evander Kane hat-trick in a comeback win was the only thing that stopped them from starting off the final stretch of the season on a winning note.
With that, I am back in on the Ducks and their young core. They have been exciting to watch over their past few games and with Leo Carlsson back in the lineup, you can really start to see the direction of the team. Assuming they get a decent return in Trevor Zegras is traded at the deadline or offseason, it wouldn’t be crazy to say this team could be competitive as soon as next season.
Stick taps: Frankly speaking, Vatrano can score goals
Another piece that the Ducks could get a decent return on this year is forward Frank Vatrano, who represented the team at the All-Star game. He has been the primary driver on offence this year for the Ducks with 22 goals and 38 points, only 11 away from his previous high.

8. San Jose Sharks (14-32-5, 33 points)

Last week: 8 (-)
Record this week: 0-0-0
There was nothing on the schedule for the Sharks this week, which honestly might be for the best. In replacement of actually talking any hockey for the Sharks, here are their sweet new third jerseys:
Have any additional stick taps this week? Let us know in the comments!
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