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What’s Going On In The Pacific Division: The Golden Knights won a huge game, the Canucks look unstoppable, and more!

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid - USA Today
Ryley Delaney
24 days ago
This is the fourth-last Wednesday of the 2023-24 regular season.
The Macklin Celebrini watch continues for some of the Pacific Division teams, the Vegas Golden Knights have increased their odds with a win over the St. Louis Blues, and the Vancouver Canucks look unstoppable.
Let’s look at this edition of What’s Going On In The Pacific Division!

Anaheim Ducks

It’s been rough going for the Anaheim Ducks in recent weeks, as four of their last seven games have seen them not score a goal, while picking up their own shutout win. Since the last What’s Going On In The Pacific Division (WGOITPD), the Ducks beat the lowly Chicago Blackhawks, lost in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but were shutout by the Seattle Kraken.
Some good news for the Ducks is that Trevor Zegras played a game for the first time since Jan. 9, held pointless in nearly 16 minutes of action. The young centre has had a rough season between injuries and poor play, as he has just four goals and seven points in 21 games this season.
Frank Vatrano continues to lead the team in both goals (30) and points (51), while Troy Terry has 19 goals and 49 points. Youngster Mason McTavish has 17 goals and 40 points to round out the top three in scoring. Netminder Lukáš Dostál looks like he’ll take over the starter job next season, as he has a .901 save percentage and 3.45 goals-against average, compared to John Gibson’s .891 save percentage and 3.41 goals-against average.
The Ducks have the third-fewest points in the league, meaning that they are in contention for Macklin Celebrini. In the Slackin’ for Macklin odds, Tankathon gives them an 11.5% chance of moving up to the top pick.

Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames’ playoff hopes are still alive, but just barely. They trail the Vegas Golden Knights by 15 points, but are on the wrong trajectory as they’ve lost their last four games and are 3-7-0 in their last 10. Since the last WGOITPD, they’ve lost all three games they’ve played, scoring just four total goals while allowing 10.
Nazem Kadri has 23 goals and 60 points and it looks like he’ll be the leading point-getter for the Flames this season. Interestingly, both Blake Coleman and Yegor Sharangovich have 28 goals and 51 points, and it will be an exciting race to see who will have the goal lead at the end of the season. During Tuesday’s game, MacKenzie Weegar scored his 17th goal of the season, which is tied for the third-most in the league and two behind the leader, Roman Josi.
With Daniel Vladař’s injury, Dustin Wolf has filled in as the backup and he has a .900 save percentage and a 3.14 goals-against average in 11 games. Jacob Markström is still playing well, as he has a .909 save percentage and a 2.70 goals-against average in 43 games.
With the loss on Tuesday, the Flames have moved up to ninth in the draft lottery, meaning they have a 5% chance of landing the first overall pick and a 5.2% chance of landing the second-overall pick.

Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers have already had their time in the sun in the lottery. Now, the team is a contender to win the Stanley Cup. However, it was a pretty rough week since the last WGOITPD, all things considered. It started off well as they throttled the Buffalo Sabres 8-3 with five goals in the third period. However, a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators in back-to-back games weren’t great. They did pick a win on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets though, blowing their second straight 3-1 lead.
The big question for the Oilers is whether or not Connor McDavid can win his sixth Art Ross trophy. He’s currently third in the league in points with 119, while Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon have 123 each. On top of that, Zach Hyman is now a 51-goal scorer, tied for the second most in the league while assisting on just 19 goals. Leon Draisaitl is in the top 10 in NHL scoring as well, with 38 goals and 93 points.
Goaltending has been hit or miss for the Oilers all season, and starting netminder Stuart Skinner has a .905 save percentage and a 2.66 goals-against average in 52 games, along with a 32-14-4 record. Calvin Pickard has filled in well as the Oilers’ backup, posting a .913 save percentage and a 2.32 goals-against average in 17 games played.
As it stands, the Oilers occupy the second spot in the Pacific Division, meaning that they’re on pace to get home ice advantage against either the Los Angeles Kings (87 points) or Vegas Golden Knights (86 points). Either team presents a tough matchup for the Calgary Flames’ provincial rival.

Los Angeles Kings

Speaking of the Los Angeles Kings, their play has been better as of late, as they are on a four-game win streak and winners of five of their last six games. Since the last WGOITPD, they shutout the Minnesota Wild 6-0, beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in overtime, and beat the Pacific Division leaders, the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2.
Captain Anže Kopitar has 24 goals and 64 points, leading the team in the latter category. Adrian Kempe has 22 goals and 63 points, while Kevin Fiala has 24 goals and 63 points. The Kings also benefit from good secondary scoring, as Quinton Byfield has 19 goals and 52 points, Trevor Moore leads the team with 26 goals and 49 points, while Phillip Danault has 17 goals and 25 points. Defenceman Drew Doughty has 14 goals and 44 points as well.
Netminder is the big question mark heading into the playoffs. Former Calgary Flame Cam Talbot has a .917 save percentage and a 2.40 goals-against average in 46 games, and has rebounded nicely after a rough January. Their backup is another former Flame in David Rittich, who has a .921 save percentage and a 2.17 goals-against average in 21 games this season.
One of the biggest games of the regular season for the Kings and the Edmonton Oilers will take place on Thursday, as the Oilers host the Kings in what will be the final game of the regular season between the two. With a win, the Kings will move to just one point behind the Oilers (with an additional game played), while potentially giving them some breathing room from the Vegas Golden Knights.

San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks are the worst team in the league, which is a sad sight for the team they used to be.
With Tomáš Hertl’s trade to the Vegas Golden Knights, Mikael Granlund has scored 10 goals and 48 points to lead the Sharks by a wide margin. Fabian Zetterlund is coming into his own, as he leads the team with 20 goals and has 35 points. Rookie William Eklund has 12 goals and 34 points, while veteran Mike Hoffman has 10 goals and 22 points.
At the trade deadline, the Sharks traded Kaapo Kähkönen to the New Jersey Devils, leaving Mackenzie Blackwood to tend to the crease. This season, Blackwood has an .896 save percentage and a 3.57 goals-against average and is under contract for the 2024-25 season. Poor guy.
The Sharks have the best odds in the Slackin’ for Macklin race, as Tankathon gives them a 25.5% chance of landing Celebrini. Interestingly, Celebrini’s dad, Rick, is the director of sports medicine and performance for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association, meaning that Macklin has spent time in the Bay Area.

Seattle Kraken

It wasn’t a great week for the Seattle Kraken since the last WGOITPD article, as they fell 3-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights, 2-1 in overtime to the Arizona Coyotes, 5-1 to the Montréal Canadiens, before ending an eight-game win streak with a win over the Anaheim Ducks.
The core that led the Kraken to Game Seven of the Western Conference semifinals in 2023 remains and are still producing. Jared McCan leads the team in goals with 27, as well as points with 55, and Oliver Bjorkstrand is having another good season with 19 goals and 31 points. Vince Dunn has continued to produce with 11 goals and 45 points, while Jordan Eberle had a rough start to his season but now has 17 goals and 40 points. Even Matty Beniers, who is in a sophomore slump, has raised his totals to 11 goals and 31 points.
Joey Daccord has really come on as a number one netminder this season, as the 27-year-old has a .917 save percentage and 2.42 goals-against average in 46 games, along with a 18-15-11 record. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if he’s in contention for the Vezina Trophy. Philipp Grubauer has made the majority of the other starts, and he has an .897 save percentage and a 2.96 goals-against average.
The Kraken and Flames are in a similar boat, as teams that aren’t as bad as the Ducks or San Jose Sharks, but not good enough to make the playoffs. This season, the Kraken have a 29-29-13 record with 71 points, the same number of points the Flames have. According to Tankathon, the Kraken have better odds of landing the first overall pick, as they have a 6% chance of doing so.

Vancouver Canucks

It’s hard to believe that the Vancouver Canucks went from a lottery team in the 2022-23 season to a Presidents’ Trophy contender in 2023-24. Since the last WGOITPD article, the Canucks won games against the Buffalo Sabres, Montréal Canadiens, and Calgary Flames, before a loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
This season, J.T. Miller has 34 goals (a career-high) and 91 points, and may hit 100 points for the first time in his career. Elias Pettersson has 33 goals and 84 points, while defenceman Quinn Hughes has 13 goals and 81 points this season. Brock Boeser has 37 goals to lead the team, while an additional four players have 30 or more points this season. On top of that, the Canucks have 10 players with double-digits goals.
However, it was announced on Thursday that Thatcher Demko has been placed on the long-term injured reserve (for cap reasons, retroactive to his original injury date). This season, Demko has a .917 save percentage and a 2.47 goals-against average in 49 games played, and is a big reason why the Canucks are where they are. Casey DeSmith will fill in, and he has an .899 save percentage and a 2.69 goals-against average in 25 games played.
If the playoffs were to start today, Mar. 27, they would be facing the Nashville Predators who have a point in 18 straight games. Another team that they could potentially play is the team that we’ll look at next.

Vegas Golden Knights

The reigning Stanley Cup champions and winners of the 2024 trade deadline have been playing better as of late. Since the last WGOITPD article, the Vegas Golden Knights had a three-game win streak that included a massive win over the St. Louis Blues, before blowing a three-goal lead in the third period against Nashville.
Jonathan Marchessault has been terrific for the Golden Knights this season, scoring 39 goals and 62 points, leading the team in both categories. Jack Eichel has 24 goals and 56 points, while the injured Mark Stone has 16 goals and 53 points. WIlliam Karlsson has 25 goals and 49 points, while they’re getting depth scoring from Chandler Stephenson, Ivan Barbashev, Shea Theodore, Nicolas Roy, and Alex Pietrangelo.
Adin Hill was injured in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and he is a big loss as he has a .914 save percentage and a 2.62 goals-against average. This wasn’t his first injury of the season though, and Logan Thompson has a .907 save percentage and a 2.72 goals-against average in 39 games this season.
It’s unknown when Tomáš Hertl and Stone will return to the lineup, but the Golden Knights are in a pretty safe spot. With an overtime win against the St. Louis Blues, they are now six points safe in the final wild card spot. Both teams have just 10 games remaining, but it is worth mentioning that the Blue have the second easiest schedule remaining, according to Tankathon.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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