Pacific Power Rankings, Week 4: Ducks go streaking and the Oilers continue to slide
Photo credit:Anaheim Ducks
29 days ago
It was a quieter week in the Pacific Division during week 4 of the NHL season. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to discuss throughout the division. It seems the good teams keep getting better and the bad teams keep getting….. badder?
There’s plenty of story lines to dive into so let’s get right into it with this weeks rankings.
All stats collected from Natural Stat Trick
1. Vegas Golden Knights (11-1-1, 23 points)
Last Week: 1 (-)
Record this Week: 2-1-0
Saturday night’s “Clash of the Titans” game between the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche was one that hockey fans had circled on their weekly calendar. Unfortunately, for those who tuned in, it wasn’t so much a clash as it was a beat down with the Golden Knights dominating in a 7-0 victory at T-Mobile Arena.
Despite having their impressive season opening point streak snapped with a third period heartbreaker against the Ducks the following day, the Golden Knights are still the class of Western Conference.
Stick Taps: Special teams proving the doubters wrong
Coming into Saturday, the Golden Knight’s primary point of success has come at even strength with the special teams units being down towards the league average. It’s a good problem to have when the criticism of a team is in comparison to a league average but the Knights special teams had a special night against the Avs on Saturday. Two shorthanded goals from captain Mark Stone and a power play tally showed that this team can and will beat you in just about any way they want.
2. Vancouver Canucks (9-2-1, 19 points)
Last Week: 2 (-)
Record this Week: 4-0-0
It was to the surprise of the many watching Hockey Night in Canada’s “After Hours” when Elliotte Friedman claimed that the Vancouver Canucks were “Canada’s best chance” so far in this NHL season. While definitely still being early to be throwing out statements like that, it isn’t hard to see why the Canucks have had the best start in their franchise’s history and it starts with the teams stars.
Elias Pettersson leap-frogged New Jersey Devil Jack Hughes for the NHL point leader at 21 while Jack’s brother and Canucks captain Quinn Hughes has 20, six points clear of the next closest defenseman on the board.
Oh, and Thatcher Demko is also playing out of his mind but we’ll get to that below.
Stick Taps: The Thatcher Demko redemption tour
After an injury riddled season that plagued the Canucks star goaltender, Demko looks like he has returned to the “Bubble Demko” form we got used to seeing in 2021. He’s currently running a .948 SV% (5th in the NHL) and a 1.61 GAA (6th in the NHL).
3. Los Angeles Kings (7-2-2, 16 points)
Last Week: 3 (-)
Record this Week: 3-0-0
What was that about the goaltending being an issue for the Los Angeles Kings? Cam Talbot has continued to impress in the early goings this season and the Kings have allowed a mere 3 goals over the three games they played this week.
The offence is also doing it’s thing with five different players cracking the double digit mark through 11 games. If the Kings and the other top three teams keep their form throughout the season, it is going to be one heck of a race for the Pacific Division Crown.
Stick Taps: Is Quinton Byfield finally breaking out?
Byfield was selected second overall in the 2020 NHL Draft and had a ton of hype surrounding him. Since then he’s had some good looks at the NHL level and just hasn’t seemed to able to find it quite yet with last season being his highest point total at 22 points over 53 games.
With already 10 points through the first 11 games this season, could this be the year Byfield emerges as a star in the league? Playing with captain Anze Kopitar and team points leader Adrian Kempe is definitely setting him up for success.
4. Anaheim Ducks (7-4-0, 14 points)
Last Week: 5 (+1)
Record this Week: 2-0-0
The Anaheim Ducks undefeated eastern swing a week ago looks like it has made its way back west with them. The Ducks now have five third period comebacks, including taking down the league leading Golden Knights after trailing 2-0 heading into the final frame.
Although this streak of hot play might run out in the near future, it appears the rebuild in Anaheim is well ahead of schedule.
Stick Taps: Is the Ducks best prospect one we haven’t even talked about?
We all know the big names that are coming up for the Anaheim Ducks. McTavish. Zegras. Carlsson. Drysdale. But what if we haven’t been giving enough love to the 2022 10th overall pick, Pavel Mintyukov. The defenceman has looked incredibly dynamic in his first few NHL starts, producing one goal and seven assists through his first 11 games.
5. Seattle Kraken (4-6-2, 10 points)
Last Week: 7 (+2)
Record this Week: 1-1-0
There was a slim chance the Seattle Kraken were going to repeat what they did last year, but the level of regression that this team has seen so far this season is substantial. They aren’t getting a save on high danger chances, ranking in the bottom ten of the league in high danger save percentage (.767) while Matty Beniers still hasn’t found the back of the net.
Nothing is really clicking for this team right now but they have still found a way to win four games so putting them in this spot here is factoring in that some of their studs are going to start doing studly things soon. They have to right?
Stick Taps: Vince Dunn has picked up where he left off last season.
Defenceman Vince Dunn had a breakout year in 2022-23 with 64 points. After signing a big contract this off-season, he’s looked really good in the first month of play and has been one of the lone bright spots for the Kraken.
Dunn has 10 points in 12 games this season playing on the first pair with Adam Larsson while also manning the point on the first power play unit.
6. Edmonton Oilers (2-8-1, 5 points)
Last Week: 4 (-2)
Record this Week: 0-3-0
We still don’t really know what is going on with the Oilers. Is it a players issue? Is it a coach issue? Is it time to start asking if they aren’t a true cup contender? It might be too early to write them off quite yet but there are a lot of red flags coming out of Oil Country. While McDavid and Draisaitl aren’t producing at their normal clip, the goaltending certainly isn’t helping. They are currently holding the title of worst save percentage in the NHL at .861%.
Who would’ve thought a Thursday night match-up between the Oilers and the San Jose Sharks in November could be must-watch television? There could be a lot riding on the line this week for the Oilers.
Stick Taps: The Oilers stars have finally had enough
It may be weird to be applauding McDavid, Draisatl, and Hyman sitting in the box while head coach Jay Woodcroft headed to the dressing room after getting into it with the ref on Monday night but this could be what the Oilers need.
The narrative around this team so far is that this has just been a bad start and they’ll bounce back. Monday was the first time that we saw the big names on the Oilers show some fight and anger in the way their season is going so far. That could go a long way over the next few weeks on their journey to try and get this season back on the rails.
7. Calgary Flames (3-7-1, 7 points)
Last Week: 6 (-1)
Record this Week: 1-1-0
An energized Calgary Flames snapped a 6-game losing streak against the Seattle Kraken over the weekend. That is the good news. The bad news? The Flames are still at opposite ends on what the fans want to see from the organization as opposed to the internal outlook. While trade rumours have continued to pile up on the Flames, there has been a steady stream of fans calling for a overdue rebuild.
Whether the win over the Kraken on Saturday is the one that’s going to turn the season in the right direction or just prolong the process has yet to be seen.
Stick Taps: Connor Zary has injected some life into the offence
The 2020 draft’s 24th overall pick got the call to the big club on Thursday night against the Dallas Stars. The 22-year old rookie netted his first career goal on his first career shot. It wasn’t the prettiest first goal we’ve ever seen but it could be the youthful boost that the Flames need in order to ignite some of their stars and get them going offensively.
8. San Jose Sharks (0-10-1, 1 point)
Last Week: 8 (-)
Record this Week: 0-2-0
The San Jose Sharks have taken being bad to a whole other level this week. If a 10-1 loss to the Canucks on Thursday evening wasn’t enough, they doubled down next game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing 10-2.
The Sharks are the first team in 58 years to allow 10 goals in consecutive games.
Stick Taps: Karlsson returns to the Shark Tank.
Defending Norris Trophy winner and member of the Sharks for five seasons, Erik Karlsson made his return to the Northern California on Saturday evening. The star D-man had two assists on the night, bringing his season total to eight points in 10 games.
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