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What’s Going On In The Pacific Division: The Flames win their first game back, the Oilers win streak is over, and more!
15 days ago
It’s that time of the week where we look at the Pacific Division.
The Calgary Flames won a hard-fought game against one of the best teams in the league, the Edmonton Oilers finally lost after facing real competition, and the Vancouver Canucks kept rolling.
Without further ado, let’s dig into this week’s What’s Going On In The Pacific Division.
The Ducks have only played one game since the What’s Going On In The Pacific Division (WGOITPD) article, defeating their tanking brethren, the San Jose Sharks, 3-2 in overtime.
Troy Terry leads the team in points with 15 goals and 37 points, with Frank Vatrano right behind him with 22 goals and 36 points. Adam Henrique (more on him later) has 15 goals and 33 points, while Mason McTavish has 13 goals and 31 points.
As for their goaltenders, Lukáš Dostál has a .902 save percentage and a 3.50 goals-against average in 22 games played, while long-term netminder John Gibson has a .901 save percentage and a 3.05 goals-against average.
As you may know, there were two centres that were traded at end of January and start of February, as Elias Lindholm was traded to the Canucks, and former Flame Sean Monahan was traded from the Montréal Canadiens to the Winnipeg Jets. It’s believed that Henrique is now the most coveted centre on the market, as he’s a proven scorer who’s contract can be retained.
Over their next five, the Ducks will host the Oilers, before heading on an Eastern Conference road trip facing off against the three Canadian teams in the east and the Buffalo Sabres.
Like the Ducks, the Calgary Flames have only played one game since the last WGOITPD article, defeating the Boston Bruins 4-1 in a hard fought and exciting game which got chippy in the third period after every whistle.
With three assists in that game, Nazem Kadri has taken over the team lead in points with 42, along with 16 goals. Blake Coleman and Yegor Sharangovich each have 20 goals, with Coleman having five more assists than Sharangovich. Jonathan Huberdeau now has seven goals and 29 points for the season.
Netminder Jacob Markström continues to play well, as he now has a .913 save percentage and a 2.55 goals-against average in 30 games played, along with a 15-13-2 record. Daniel Vladař has played 16 games and has an .888 save percentage and a 3.27 goals-against average, along with a 7-7-2 record.
It’s no secret that the Flames traded Elias Lindholm to the Canucks, the second time this season the two teams have made a trade. In return for the soon-to-be free agent, the Flames got a 2024 first-round pick, a conditional fourth-round pick, prospects Hunter Brzustewicz and Joni Jurmo, as well as main roster player Andrei Kuzmenko. Well, the latter scored in his debut game for the Flames and has found instant chemistry with Huberdeau and Sharangovich. Good return for a pending unrestricted free agent.
The Flames will continue their Eastern Conference road trip, facing off against the three New York Metropolitan teams, before returning home to host the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings.
The winning streak is over, as the Edmonton Oilers fell 3-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday evening.
Still, Connor McDavid has gotten hot as he has a point on the Oilers’ last eight goals, now putting up 21 goals and 68 points. Leon Draisaitl has a hand in many of the goals as well, as he now has 23 goals and 58 points for the season. The Oilers also have three other players with 40 or more points, Zach Hyman has 30 goals and 47 points, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Evan Bouchard have 44 and 43 points respectively.
Stuart Skinner has been one of the best goaltenders since the Oilers’ mid-November turnaround, as he now has a .910 save percentage and a 2.43 goals-against average in 35 games played. Calvin Pickard has filled in well when needed, posting a .915 save percentage and a 2.34 goals-against average in the eight games he’s played. Jack Campbell has played well in recent American Hockey League games and could be called up at some point in the future.
As you may know, the Oilers were on a 16-game win streak, which is tied for second all-time. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, they fell one game short of matching the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins’ win-streak of 17 games. Let’s be real, their schedule in January was incredibly easy and it’ll toughen up quite a bit for the remainder of the season.
Over their next five, the Oilers will head to the Los Angeles metropolitan area to face off against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings on back-to-back nights, before hosting the Detroit Red Wings at home. Afterwards, they’ll head on a road trip to face off against the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings pulled out a win before the All-Star break, defeating the Nashville Predators 4-2. Still, they’re 2-8-6 since Dec.28.
Adrian Kempe and Kevin Fiala are tied in points with 43 each, with the former scoring 17 goals and the latter scoring 13. Long-time King Anže Kopitar has 15 goals and 41 points, while Trevor Moore leads the team with 21 goals. The Kings have eight players with 10 or more goals, with Quinton Byfield, Phillip Danault, Drew Doughty, and Pierre-Luc Dubois being the other four.
David Rittich has taken over the crease, as he has a .925 save percentage and a 2.09 goals-against average in 11 games, along with a 5-1-3 record. Cam Talbot was the Kings’ representative for the 2024 All-Star game, and has a .911 save percentage and a 2.59 goals-against average, but his play has tapered off in 2024.
The big news surrounding the Kings is that they fired head coach Todd McLellan. This isn’t the first time a Pacific Division team has fired the 56-year-old coach, as he has been at the helm of both the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks. Altogether, McLellan had a 164-130-44 record in 338 games with the Kings.
Over their next five games, they’ll host the Oilers, before heading on an Eastern Conference road trip to face the Buffalo Sabres, the New Jersey Devils, the Boston Bruins, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks have only played one game since the latest WGOITPD article, losing 3-2 in overtime to the Ducks in a battle of the tanking teams.
Tomáš Hertl is in an unfortunate situation, as the 29-year-old is far too good to be on the Sharks as he has 15 goals and 34 points in 48 games. Mikael Granlund has five goals and 29 points, but is injured, while rookie William Eklund has eight goals and 24 points. Fabian Zetterlund is the only other Shark with double-digit goals, as he has 14 goals and 21 points.
The Sharks two goaltenders will need to be rescued from the team at this year’s deadline, as MacKenzie Blackwood has an .899 save percentage and a 3.51 goals-against average in 32 games played. Kaapo Kähkönen has a .901 save percentage and a 3.55 goals-against average, and could be traded at this season’s deadline.
There isn’t really much in the way of news for the Sharks; they are really bad. Hopefully, Chicago isn’t awarded a second-straight first overall pick, and Macklin Celebrini ends up with the Sharks or the Ducks.
The Sharks don’t play until February 14, where they’ll go on a two-game road trip against the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames. They’ll return home and host the Columbus Blue Jackets, Vegas Golden Knights, and Nashville Predators.
The Sharks have just one shutout this season, and it came at the hands of the Seattle Kraken on Jan. 31.
Seattle is led by Oliver Bjorkstrand in the point department, as he has 13 goals and 40 points. Defenceman Vince Dunn has eight goals and 37 points, while Jared McCann leads the team with 20 goals while putting up 35 points. Eeli Tolvanen, a waiver pick up during the 2022-23 season, has 13 goals and 30 points.
Joey Daccord continues to keep the Kraken’s playoff hopes alive, as he has a .921 save percentage and a 2.32 goals-against average in 34 games played. Philipp Grubauer missed quite a few games, and he has an .884 save percentage and a 3.25 goals-against average in 17 games this season.
As of the afternoon of Feb. 7, the Kraken have 52 points, which is just two points out of a playoff spot while playing one more game than the St. Louis Blues. The big question is, are the Kraken going to be buyers, sellers, or stand pat at this season’s trade deadline? The Kraken have a few interesting players that are soon-to-be free agents, such as Jordan Eberle, Alexander Wennberg, and Justin Schultz. If they go down the seller route, they can set up their future nicely.
The Kraken will head east once returning, facing the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and Boston Bruins, before returning home and hosting the Detroit Red Wings.
The Vancouver Canucks are a wagon, as they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in their first game back.
J.T. Miller has 22 goals and 68 points, while Elias Pettersson has 27 goals and 65 points, and defenceman Quinn Hughes has 12 goals and 64 points. Brock Boeser leads the team with 30 goals and 54 points, while the Canucks have eight players with 20 or more points, including Elias Lindholm.
Their goaltending has been strong as well, as Thatcher Demko has a .920 save percentage and a 2.43 goals-against average in 36 games. On top of that, he has five shutouts which is tied for second best in the league.
Of course, the Canucks made a trade with the Calgary Flames after the last WGOITPD, moving five assets to the Flames in exchange for Lindholm. Well, like Kuzemenko, Lindholm scored in his first game as a Canuck, in fact, he scored twice. This trade will likely go down as a good trade for both teams.
The Canucks are in the midst of an Eastern Conference road trip, and will face off against the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals, and Chicago Blackhawks, before returning home to host the Red Wings.
Vegas Golden Knights
Everyone reading this article should send the Vegas Golden Knights a bouquet of flowers for ending the Edmonton Oilers’ massive win streak.
Captain Mark Stone has 15 goals and 50 points, leading the team in the latter category. Jonathan Marchessault leads the team in goals with 25, along with 41 points which ranks third on the team. Jack Eichel has 19 goals and 44 points, but will be out for a while due to surgery. William Karlsson returned on Tuesday and has 16 goals and 33 points, while Ivan Barbashev has 13 goals and 30 points.
Adin Hill has played like a Vezina candidate all season long, posting a league best .938 save percentage and a 1.88 goals-against average in 18 games. The Knights missed him when he was injured, because he steals games for the team. Logan Thompson isn’t bad by any means, posting a .906 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average in 31 games played, but Hill is the de facto number one.
Tuesday’s game against the Oilers proves that the Flames’ provincial rival still has a long way to go to match the Knights. Like in last season’s playoffs, the Knights easily shut down the Oilers offence, a big part due to Hill himself, while the Knights offence capitalized on their chances. The Oilers will need to either add a top six forward, or add a shutdown defenceman to play alongside Darnell Nurse.
Over their next five games, the Knights will head to Arizona, before a two-game home stand against the Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes. They’ll be back on the road to face the San Jose Sharks, before playing a back-to-back against the Nashville Predators at home
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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