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Pacific Power Rankings, Week 23: The Kings and Golden Knights fight for the final spot in the division

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Photo credit:© Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA Today
Justin Mackenzie
28 days ago
Welcome back to another edition of the Pacific Power Rankings! Every week of the regular season, we’ll take you through how one of the most competitive divisions in the NHL is stacking up.
If you want to take a deeper dive into what else is going on in the Pacific Division, be sure to read Brennan Delaney’s weekly Pacific Division Notebook.
Let’s get into this week’s rankings:

1. Vancouver Canucks (42-18-9, 92 points)

Last week: 1 (-)
Record this week: 0-1-1
Three games through their season long nine game home stand, the Vancouver Canucks are an even 1-1-1. Thatcher Demko remains out with a lower-body injury for a few more games, but it hasn’t been the goaltending that has let down the club this week. Since going up 3-0 in the second period against the Avalanche on Wednesday night – which they would go on to blow in a 4-3 overtime loss – the Canucks have only scored one goal in the four periods they have played. More importantly, Elias Pettersson only has four points in the six games since signing his big ticket contract. With six more games to go on the homestand, it’s a chance for Pettersson and the Canucks offence to get back on track this week against a trio of non-playoff teams in Buffalo, Montreal, and Calgary.

2. Edmonton Oilers (40-21-4, 84 points)

Last week: 2 (-)
Record this week: 1-0-1
The 7-2 win over the Capitals was great for the Edmonton Oilers, but the real showcase of the week was the McDavid-McKinnon matchup we saw on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. It did not disappoint. In what could very well be a Western Conference final preview, the Avalanche pulled it out in overtime with seconds left in the extra frame to steal the extra point after coming back from from a 2-1 deficit. The Oilers still have an uphill battle if they want to claim the division title, but as we’ve seen as recently as earlier this season, they are more than capable of stringing together a large amount of wins.

3. Los Angeles Kings (34-22-11, 79 points)

Last week: 3 (-)
Record this week: 1-2-0
The Los Angeles Kings are hanging in there, going 4-4-0 in the month of March. Exchanging wins and losses since March 3 has been good enough to hold onto the third spot in the division, but it might not be for long as the Golden Knights are currently tied in points. The Kings didn’t make a single trade in the week leading up to the deadline which could come back to hurt them at the end of the year. There’s no question this Kings team is capable of doing well in the playoffs, but if they match up with the Oilers for the third post-season in a row, it could be a big task to get the monkey off their back.

4. Vegas Golden Knights (36-24-7, 79 points)

Last week: 4 (-)
Record this week: 2-1-0
A tough 4-1 loss to the Flames on Thursday was sandwiched between wins over the Kraken and Devils. It really looks like the Vegas Golden Knights are finally starting to find their footing again. Being tied with the Kings might be a little surprising given both their play recently and the build up of injuries sitting on the LTIR list, but we forget the heater that they went on earlier in November to open their season. The gap between them and the teams outside of the playoffs picture is shrinking but I find it hard to believe that we won’t see the Golden Knights come mid-April.

5. Calgary Flames (33-30-5, 71 points)

Last week: 6 (+1)
Record this week: 2-2-0
The Calgary Flames chances of making the playoffs are very slim. But, they aren’t zero. Shaking off a rough patch of games against some of the top teams in the league, they have played some really inspiring hockey this week. It’s a fun mixture of veterans and youth who look like they are clicking right now. Most notably of those youngsters this week has been top goaltending prospect Dustin Wolf. After a rocky start to his NHL career, Wolf has looked confident and comfortable over his last couple of games. As a result, he has been given a little bit more time between the pipes during Markstrom’s absence from the lineup due to injury.

6. Seattle Kraken (28-28-12, 68 points)

Last week: 5 (-1)
Record this week: 0-3-1
It looks like the dream of making the playoffs for the second straight year is over for the Seattle Kraken. Unfortunately for Seattle, it just didn’t look like they had the juice this year to sustain any sort of success. From a fan perspective, you really have to hope that Matty Beniers shakes his sophomore slump next season and Shane Wright starts to show signs of progression. If those two things don’t happen, it could be an ugly couple of seasons for the NHL’s newest franchise. If it wasn’t for the run we saw earlier this year from Joey Daccord you have to imagine that the Kraken would be getting a significantly higher pick in this years draft then where they currently are.

7. Anaheim Ducks (23-42-3, 49 points)

Last week: 7 (-)
Record this week: 0-4-0
Despite the young talent they have in their roster, there hasn’t been a lot of positives for the Ducks lately, losing six straight and only picking up two wins in the month of March. It was very much a “this could’ve been us” moment on Tuesday night when the Ducks watched Connor Bedard go off for five points in a 7-2 loss. As the Ducks ride out the season, that’s exactly what they will have on their mind as the Macklin Celebrini sweepstakes inch closer.

8. San Jose Sharks (16-44-7, 39 points)

Last week: 8 (-)
Record this week: 0-4-0
The San Jose Sharks and the Ducks are really going for it in March, posting a collective 3-13-2 record this month. Just brilliant stuff from the California rivals. After Thomas Hertl departing at the trade deadline and Logan Couture looking like he might’ve played his last game in the NHL, we are officially into a new era of Sharks hockey. Will Smith is looking really promising at the college level, finishing the season atop the NCAA leaderboard in points with 57 (18 goals, 39 assists) and should be the number one centre as soon as he steps on the ice for the Sharks. With another top pick surely heading to the Bay Area this summer, there could be a core for Sharks fans to get excited about sooner rather than later.

Questions? comments? concerns? Let us know in the comments!

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