Photo credit:Daniel Stopani
Pacific Power Rankings, Week 6: The Kings are for real, Calgary starts to change the narrative
3 months ago
Welcome back to another edition of the Pacific Power Rankings. The quarter mark of the 2023-24 NHL schedule is approaching quickly and we are starting to see some evening out of those teams that either had a really good start, or a really bad start.
With the standings starting to tighten up a bit and the Western Conference still being very much wide open, there is plenty to discuss around the division.
Let’s get into it for week six of the Pacific Power Rankings:
All stats collected from Natural Stat Trick
1. Vegas Golden Knights (13-4-2, 28 points)
Last week: 1
Record this week: 1-2-1
The Vegas Golden Knights eastern road trip didn’t go quite as planned picking up only three of a possible 10 points. The only win of the trip came in the form of a 6-5 offensive shootout over the Montreal Canadiens.
Despite the teams real first struggle of the season, it’s hard to bet against a Vegas team who has looked as dominant as they have and one of the best goaltending tandems in the league.
Stick taps: Marchessault bounces back after after scoreless streak.
Before Sundays game against the Montreal Canadiens, reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Marchessault hadn’t recorded a point in his previous five efforts.
The Golden Knights first line winger was able to string together a couple of solid outings to finish the week with four points (3 goals, 1 assist) as part of the teams east coast swing against the aforementioned Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
2. Los Angeles Kings (11-3-3, 25 points)
Last week: 3 (+1)
Record this week: 3-0-0
Everything is going the Los Angeles Kings’ way right now. They are rolling in the month of November, winning six of eight games so far in the second month of the season and currently riding a three game winning streak.
The Kings are getting above average goaltending from veteran Cam Talbot, scoring is coming from everywhere, and a breakout Quinton Byfield (3g, 11a) is starting to look like the number two pick they selected in 2020.
I wouldn’t be shocked if they have leapfrogged anyone in the standings come this time next week.
Stick taps: Old dog with the same old tricks.
Wednesday nights 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes marked Drew Doughty’s 1,112th game in a Kings jersey. He currently sits third all-time on the most games played list with Los Angeles.
After over 15 NHL season, Doughty is still a staple on the Kings blueline leading the first pairing and quarterbacking the first power play unit. He currently leads the Kings defence with eight points (4g, 4a).
3. Vancouver Canucks (13-5-1, 27 points)
Last week: 2 (-1)
Record this week: 2-2-0
The Canucks were victim to a tough travel schedule this week after returning from their eastern Canadian road trip. After pulling off a comeback overtime win against former captain Bo Horvat and the New York Islanders, Vancouver suffered their first back-to-back losses of the year to the Calgary Flames and Seattle Kraken.
It was more about simply staying afloat this week for the Canucks so a .500 week counts as a small victory.
The Canucks are still getting the benefit of the highest shooting percentage in the league (13.81%) along with the second best save percentage (.922), but you can’t doubt that the team is playing well in Rick Tocchet’s system.
Stick taps: The three headed dragon.
The Canucks have had the benefit of a shining star in each part of the ice leading the way so far this season. Quinn Hughes now leads the entire league in points with 30, Elias Pettersson who looks to be dealing with an injury is no slouch at 28 points, and Thatcher Demko is top five in the league in both goals against average and save percentage.
If that’s not enough, JT Miller, who has 29 points is sitting second in league scoring so far.
4. Anaheim Ducks (9-9-0, 18 points)
Last week: 4 (-)
Record this week: 1-3-0
Currently on a three game slide and winning only two games over the past two weeks, the Anaheim Ducks are starting to fade back down toward where we thought they were going to be at the beginning of the season.
Although the kids are playing ahead of their age, we have to remember that this team has played way above expectations early this seasons and there is a lot of growth to be made from this group.
There is still a lot to be excited about in Anaheim and for what it’s worth they are well within striking distance of a wild card spot. I am excited to see where the Ducks land once the highs and lows even out a bit.
Stick Taps: Gordie Howe hat trick caps off milestone week for Gudas
During the summer, Radko Gudas was signed by the Ducks to provide some much needed fire power for the young stars on the team. This week, the first year Duck did that and more.
Not only did Gudas complete the Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, assist, and fight against the Nashville Predators last Tuesday, but he also skated in his 500th NHL game on Sunday. A very nice week for the big man.
5. Calgary Flames (7-8-3, 17 points)
Last week: 6 (+1)
Record this week: 3-0-1
The Flames are starting to settle into a groove that is making some people change their original perception of this team earlier in the season. Since their miserable 4-8-2 start, Calgary has picked up at least a point in every game and won three of it’s last four.
If the Flames can get the consistent goaltending from Markstrom and their forwards continue to trend in the right direction, this Flames roster might not be as doomed as we originally thought.
An added bonus is Jonathan Huberdeau, after being benched last week, has been able silence the critics (for now) with five points in his last three games.
Stick taps: A couple of milestones to cap off the week.
Monday’s overtime win to lift the Flames over the Kraken by a score of 4-3 saw a pair of forwards reach some pretty significant milestones.
The teams leading goal scorer, Andrew Mangiapane, hit the century mark while captain Mikael Backlund recorded his 500th career point with a primary assist on the game winner. Backlund is the 11th player in Flames history to get to 500 points.
6. Seattle Kraken (7-8-5, 19 points)
Last week: 5 (-1)
Record this week: 2-0-2
There was a lot of extra hockey for the Seattle Kraken this week as three of their four games went beyond the 60-minute mark.
In a league where you are rewarded for getting into an extra frame and what looks like a lower playoff bar in the Western Conference this year, every point counts. The Kraken are in no way out of the mix yet, in fact they currently hold the second wild card spot.
Stick taps: Eberle comes back in a big way after injury.
After being hospitalized after a scary skate cut incident on Nov. 9, Kraken forward Jordan Eberle didn’t know just how long he would be out of the lineup.
Fortunately for Eberle and the team, he only missed three games and has been excellent since returning. He has five points in his last four outings including a three point performance in a 5-2 victory of the Canucks.
7. Edmonton Oilers (5-11-1, 11 points)
Last week: 7 (-)
Record this week: 1-2-0
After their miserable start to the season, the Edmonton Oilers made the decision to make a change behind the bench and relieve head coach Jay Woodcroft of his duties.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, nothing much has changed so far through Kris Knoblauch’s first couple of games as coach. The goalies are still the largest issue facing this Oilers squad, sitting at a league worst .868 save percentage. The power play hasn’t looked like the record-breaking effective unit of last year and it still doesn’t look like McDavid and Draisaitl have settled in for the season yet.
Time is running out for the Oilers who are already sitting eight points out of a playoff spot almost a quarter into the season.
Stick taps: Kane does it himself.
Things weren’t looking great for Evander Kane and Oilers on Wednesday when they trailed Seattle 3-1 heading into the third period.
The Oilers winger took control in the final frame scoring twice in the last 6:32 to tie the game and finishing it off in overtime with a one timer on a feed from Zach Hyman.
Kane has been solid this season and one of the lone bright spots for Edmonton, recording eight goals and eight assists in his 17 games.
8. San Jose Sharks (3-14-1, 7 points)
Last week: 8 (-)
Record this week: 1-2-1
The San Jose Sharks continue to be bad, but since snapping their historic losing streak to start the season, they haven’t looked like the below 30-point bad team we had them pegged as.
They still rank at or near the bottom in most statistical categories, but when you have Mackenzie Blackwood standing on his head every game, the Sharks will get the occasional win.
Stick taps: First of many high picks starting to make his mark.
I can’t keep giving it to Blackwood for being by far and away the best player on the team so let’s take a look at some of the young talent the Sharks have coming through the pipeline and into their starting lineup.
Swedish forward William Eklund was selected seventh overall in the 2021 first round by the Sharks. In what looks like it is going to be his first full season in the NHL, he’s looked more settled in each game he plays.
His six points is tied for third on the team and he’s seeing time on the top line while also occupying the left wing on the second power play unit.
Have any additional stick taps for the week? Let us know in the comments below!
This article is brought to you by Finning Canada!
Save big with the Finning Black Friday Sale now! Each day this week, Finning features a week-long offer for new, used, and rental equipment, as well as parts and service. Look for a new offer each day and save on the things you need to keep your business running. Check out all our deals now. Go to https://www.finning.com/en_CA/campaigns/black-friday.html
Recent articles from Justin Mackenzie