Pacific Power Rankings, Week 5: Vegas hangs onto top spot, gap closes at the top

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Mackenzie
7 months ago
We are now well into November, the second month of the 2023-24 NHL season. This month gives teams a chance at a fresh slate of sorts to attempt to either correct the course of the season after a rough first month, or for top teams to separate themselves as the elite of the Pacific Division.
With October now very much in the rear view mirror, lets take a look at how the division has started the month of November and where they stack up in this weeks Power Rankings:
All stats collected from Natural Stat Trick

1. Vegas Golden Knights (12-2-1, 25 points)

Last Week: 1 (-)
Record this Week: 1-1-0
The Vegas Golden Knights hit their first “skid” of the season, losing back-to-back games against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings this week. The Knights were able to dig themselves out of their shallow hole fairly easily as they were gifted the San Jose Sharks on Friday night, coming away with a 5-0 win to get themselves back in the win column.
Vegas holds onto the number one spot this week but both the Canucks and the Kings are not only keeping pace, but breathing down their neck. It’s going to be a lot of fun as the top three teams in the division start to go head-to-head on a more regular basis as we get deeper into the season and the playoff race heats up.
Stick Taps: King of the Hill
Adin Hill capped off another impressive week and a strong start to the season with his second shutout in three games. The 20 save performance against the Sharks continues to silence any pre-season doubters that he isn’t a true number one goaltender.
Hill now ranks in the leagues top five in all three major goaltender statistical categories (goals against average, save percentage, and wins).

2. Vancouver Canucks (11-3-1, 23 points)

Last Week: 2 (-)
Record this Week: 2-1-0
The Vancouver Canucks were looking forward to heading east to showcase themselves to those who aren’t able to stay awake for  west coast puck drop times. After the three game road trip, the Canucks have to be pretty happy with their effort.
All three games were decided by a 5-2 final, with the Canucks being on the right side of two of those games. The Canucks will play host to the New York Islanders and former captain Bo Horvat, who will make his return at Rogers Arena after being traded last season.
Stick Taps: The Canucks have found a partner for Quinn Hughes
After trying for the past few years to find a solid partner to play with captain Quinn Hughes on the first defence pairing, it looks like the Canucks have found their man in last years mid-season acquisition Filip Hronek.
Hronek is currently on a 10-game point streak, recording 14 assists over that span. Not only has he been a nice spot of complimentary scoring, but is also shutting it down in his end of the ice. Hronek is tied for second in the league in plus-minus, currently sitting at a plus-13.

3. Los Angeles Kings (8-3-3, 19 points)

Last Week: 3 (-)
Record this Week: 1-1-1
A statement win on Tuesday night over the Vegas Golden Knights put an exclamation mark on the perhaps underrated strong start to the season the Los Angeles Kings are piecing together. Despite dropping the next two against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers, the Kings are a scary team when they are gelling.
The Kings lead the league in expected goals for percentage and have capitalized on their high danger chances, scoring on over 17% of their attempts from dangerous areas.
Stick Taps: Anze Kopitar nets number 400
With an empty net tally in the 4-1 win over the Golden Knights, Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar became the fourth King to surpass the 400 goal mark with the organization.
Kopitar was the first player drafted to the National Hockey League from Slovenia in the 2005 draft and was a crucial piece in the Kings Stanley Cup runs in the early 2010s. Over the course of his 17 year and change career, he has an impressive 1,155 points.

4. Anaheim Ducks (8-6-0, 16 points)

Last Week: 4 (-)
Record this Week: 1-2-0
Like the Kings, the Ducks also fell victim to the Penguins and Flyers during the Pennsylvanian trip to California. In what seems to be a similar theme this week in the Pacific Division, they were able to bounce back with a win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night.
The Ducks are keeping themselves in it early on this season and could be a legit sleeper pick to come out of a fairly weak Western Conference. Although way to early to be on standing watch, they currently hold the second Wild Card spot in the West through over a month of play.
Stick Taps: John Gibson provides a boost between the pipes
After an upper-body injury sidelined the Ducks starting goaltender on October 30, Gibson has been lights in his three games since returning.
Gibson has a .946 SV% since coming back from injury and helped propel the Ducks to wins over the Golden Knights and Sharks.

5. Seattle Kraken (5-8-3, 13 points)

Last Week: 5 (-)
Record this Week: 1-2-1
The Seattle Kraken are still settling in to the season after an abysmal start, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for the NHL’s newest franchise.
They only came away with one win this week, although two of their three losses were tough tests against the Colorado Avalanche. The Kraken haven’t proved that they are a playoff team this year, but it’s is not nearly as bad in Seattle as their current record shows.
Stick Taps: The Kraken have found some consistent scoring
The Kraken have really struggled to get any sort of consistent scoring this year. Over the past week, Jaden Schwartz has single-handedly tried to turn that narrative around and emerge as a reliable goal scorer for his club.
Schwartz had a 4-game scoring streak before being held goalless on Monday night, bring his season total up to a team leading eight goals.

6. Calgary Flames (4-8-2, 10 points)

Last Week: 7 (+1)
Record this Week: 1-1-1
The drama keeps piling up for the Calgary Flames as news emerged on Friday evening that defensemen Nikita Zadorov has requested a trade following a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
A solid 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night got the week kicked off on the right note. Unfortunately, a weekend road trip back east changed the tides a bit with losses to Toronto and the Ottawa Senators on back-to-back nights.
Stick Taps: Dustin Wolf is back with the big club
A .877 team save percentage hasn’t benefited the Flames through the first month of games. Calling up top prospect Dustin Wolf from the AHL Calgary Wranglers hopes to pull these numbers closer to the .900 mark.
Wolf has carried a 2.34 GAA and .924 SAV% so far over his 6 starts with the Wranglers so far this year.

7. Edmonton Oilers (4-9-1, 9 points)

Last Week: 6 (-1)
Record this Week: 2-1-0
The last thing the Edmonton Oilers wanted was to start their week with an embarrassing 3-2 loss against the NHL worst San Jose Sharks. Although it took one more game for the Oilers to relieve now former head coach Jay Woodcroft, the loss sunk the Oilers to new lows.
Since that loss to the Sharks, the Oilers have strung together a pair of wins against the Kraken and the New York Islanders by matching 4-1 scores.
Stick Taps: The Oilers looked a lot more like the Oilers on Monday night
While still a long way from being back in the mix in the Pacific Division, Monday’s 4-1 win over the Islanders looked a lot more like the Oilers that we saw last season.
McDavid and Draisaitl had a combined six points, the power play went two for three, and Stuart Skinner looked refreshingly confident in the net, stopping 32 of 33 shots. The Oilers have their work cut out for them, but there was a lot of good stuff coming from Kris Knoblauch’s first game as head coach.

8. San Jose Sharks (2-12-1, 5 points)

Last Week: 8 (-)
Record this Week: 2-2-0 
The San Jose Sharks are on the board! Not only did they pick up their first win of the season against the Philadelphia Flyers, but they then solidified their first win streak of the season with a gutty 3-2 win over the Oilers.
A perfect 4-0 week was quickly made a fever dream by the division leading Golden Knights in a 5-0 loss, quickly followed by another at the hands of the Ducks. Nonetheless, there were a couple of positives to take out of the week for the Sharks, and that is all you can ask for after the start to the year this team has had.
Stick Taps: The Sharks are embracing their role as spoilers early on
Two teams that had vastly different expectations coming into this season found themselves in an oddly similar position on Thursday evening at the SAP Center. The 2-8-1 Oilers rolled into town in the midst of one of their worst starts in team history.
A win for the Sharks kicked off their role as perennial spoilers this season with a bang as they were able to sink the Oilers even further into their shocking start. The Sharks aren’t competing for anything this season other than a first overall pick, so succeeding in the spoiler role is about as much fun as they can have this year.
Have any additional stick taps for the week? Let us know in the comments below!

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