Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Pacific Power Rankings, Week 8: A new team at the top, Oilers climbing back up the standings
2 months ago
It was a pretty slow week in the Pacific Division with most teams only getting two or three games in. Even though the schedule was light, there was still a lot to catch up on from around the division including a new number one team in the rankings with the Vegas Golden Knights sputtering a little as of late.
As we now enter the third month of the season and the American Thanksgiving mark has come and gone, we have officially surpassed the quarter mark of the 2023-24 NHL schedule. The Pacific Division is in no way set in stone and things are close at the top. Despite there being almost a 10-point gap between the third place in the division and the next team, there is also still lot’s of time for the stragglers to catch up. Add in the Wild Card mark being set fairly low in the Western Conference so far, no one is out of it just yet.
Let’s see where every team in the division sits through eight weeks of play:
All stats collected from Natural Stat Trick
1. Los Angeles Kings (14-4-3, 31 points)
Last week: 2 (+1)
Record this week: 1-1-0
Wrapping up a stretch of 3 games in 10 days, the Los Angeles Kings continue to climb the standings with multiple games in hand over the two teams that are currently ahead of them (Vancouver and Vegas). A statement 4-1 win against the Central Division leading Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night has to bump them into the Stanley Cup contender category.
They currently lead the league in both goals for per game (3.86) and goals against per game (2.29). Any time you lead the league in scoring and goals against you have to be feeling pretty good about your chances.
Stick taps: The Moore the merrier
From undrafted to team leading goal scorer, forward Trevor Moore is a real feel good story for the King this year. Averaging a goal a game in his last 5 while also leading the team with 12, Moore has established himself as a staple on the second line with Kevin Fiala and Phillip Danault. His previous high in goals came in 2021-22 when he scored 17 in 81 games.
2. Vegas Golden Knights (16-5-5, 37 points)
Last week: 1 (-1)
Record this week: 2-0-2
For the first time this season, the Vegas Golden Knights have been bumped from the top spot in the rankings. Despite the bump, the Golden Knights aren’t going anywhere and got back on track this week after a few weeks of mediocrity. A dominant 4-1 victory over divisional opponents the Vancouver Canucks proved that they will be hanging around at the top of the Pacific.
The Knights are hoping Adin Hill, who had to leave Thursdays game with a lower body injury, is back soon given the way he has performed this season. In the meantime, Logan Thompson has been a reliable number two posting a .919 SV%.
Stick taps: Eichel plays in game number 500
In Thursday nights win over the Canucks, Jack Eichel skated in his 500th career NHL game. He marked the occasion by scoring a goal and adding two assists on the night.
Eichel is off to great start this year. He currently leads all Golden Knights with 27 points (10g, 17a).
3. Vancouver Canucks (16-8-1, 33 points)
Last week: 3 (-)
Record this week: 2-1-0
The Vancouver Canucks have been stuck in a cycle of .500 hockey, sporting a win one lose one form dating all the way back to November 18. While the schedule hasn’t been their friend and sit tied for second in the league in games played, they will be looking to find some more consistency over the next couple of weeks.
After a 4-1 dismantling at the hands of the Golden Knights, the Canucks bounced back with a well managed 4-3 win over the Flames on Hockey Night in Canada. They gear up for the first ever Hughes Bowl on Tuesday when the Devils make their way to Rogers Arena.
Stick taps: Canucks trio hit the 30 point mark
After a 3-1 victory on Tuesday evening, the Canucks trio of Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and JT Miller became just the third set of teammates to break the 30 point mark in 23 games or less. They join the 2005-06 Senators and 1995-96 Penguins as the only others to accomplish the feat.
4. Calgary Flames (10-11-3, 23 points)
Last week: 5 (+1)
Record this week: 1-1-0
The Calgary Flames were among those who had a pretty light schedule this week, only getting two games in. A gutty 4-3 win in overtime against the Dallas Stars followed by another comeback that fell just short on Saturday night against Vancouver puts Calgary just outside a playoff spot.
With the Flames dealing Nikita Zadorov on Thursday afternoon, it could be the first domino to fall in what is expected to be a busy start to 2024 for GM Craig Conroy. It’s hard to not only see where the Flames will be in the standings in the coming months, but what their roster will look like after the trade deadline.
Stick taps: A November to remember
After a miserable start for the Flames, one in which saw them go 2-6-1 in the month of October, the team had a really nice bounce back in November. They finished the month with an 8-4-2 record while picking up points in 10 of the 14 games.
5. Edmonton Oilers (9-12-1, 19 points)
Last week: 7 (+2)
Record this week: 2-0-0
Like the Flames, the Edmonton Oilers are doing their best to climb themselves out of an early season hole. Now on a four game win streak, including wins against contenders Vegas and Winnipeg this week, the Oilers are now suddenly only three games under .500.
Under new head coach Kris Knoblauch, even the goaltending is doing it’s best to turn around the early season struggles. Since Knoblauch took over, Stuart Skinner has a .902 SV% compared to his .861 mark in the first nine games of the season.
Stick taps: McDavid inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame
On Saturday night, Oilers Captain Connor McDavid was the 2023 inductee into Canada’s Walk of Fame in the Sports & Athletics category. He joins former Oilers Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, among other Canadian hockey greats.
Along with his team, McDavid is starting to come back into form this season, riding a six game point streak in which he has 16 points (4g, 12a).
6. Seattle Kraken (8-12-6, 22 points)
Last week: 6 (-)
Record this week: 0-3-1
It was a week to forget for the Seattle Kraken, losing all four games and only managing to muster up a singular point on their road trip. Along the way, they lost to bottom feeders Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators, and the Montreal Canadiens.
With Jaden Schwartz out for at least six weeks, their -20 goal differential looks like it is only going to continue to go downhill. The Kraken’s playoff hopes are slowly slipping away and they need to find some scoring soon if they are going to get back in the race.
Stick taps: Larsson gets point number 200
Picked up as part of the original expansion draft and the only player to play in every game for the Seattle Kraken franchise, defenceman Adam Larsson picked up his 200th point on an Alex Wennberg goal on Thursday. Larsson currently has one goal and five assists this season.
7. Anaheim Ducks (10-14-0, 20 points)
Last week: 4 (-3)
Record this week: 1-2-0
The biggest piece of business this week for the Anaheim Ducks was getting off their eight game slide extending back to Nov. 15. On Saturday night against the Avalanche they were able to get off the schneid in a tight 4-3 shootout win.
Unfortunately for the Ducks, the losing streak has put them on the outside looking in at the playoff race after their surprisingly hot start we saw earlier on. Frank Vatrano is stilling scoring at a decent pace and John Gibson will save them the odd game but it looks like Anaheim is going to be in the mix come Draft Lottery season after all.
Stick taps: Another rookie scores his first NHL goal
The rookies continue to be the story this season for the Ducks as second-round pick Tristan Luneau potted his first career NHL goal. Luneau took advantage of a rebound off the pad of Darcy Kuemper and was able to find the back of the net on a well placed wrister.
He joins Leo Carlsson and Pavel Mintyukov as the third Ducks player to get their first career goals this season.
8. San Jose Sharks (6-17-2, 14 points)
Last week: 8 (-)
Record this week: 1-2-0
The San Jose Sharks are currently on a tough five game eastern road trip in which they will run into some the NHL’s top teams. Surprisingly, it’s been a pretty good showing from the bottom of the standings Sharks who have been in three consecutive tight games against the Bruins, Devils, and Rangers. Is it enough to get them out of the bottom of the Power Rankings? Not quite, but this week was a step in the right direction.
Anthony Duclair, considered to be a target at the trade deadline this year, has had a strong start to December so far, scoring three goals and picking up an assist in the two games this month.
Stick taps: Sharks get their first win on the road
Going into the Friday nights game against New Jersey, the Sharks were 0-10-0 when they were away from the SAP Center. In those 10 games they had been outscored 42-6 while not scoring more than one goal in any of those contests. With a 6-3 win, the Sharks not only snapped their losing streak, but also put a season high six in the back of the net.
Have any additional stick taps for the week? Let us know in the comments below!
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