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Pacific Division Round Up: The break is over, now back to hockey

Plus the debate over whether Connor McDavid should block shots.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up right where they left off before the Christmas break, easily handling the ailing Anaheim Ducks. Plus, the Arizona Coyotes got some much needed payback against the Colorado Avalanche.

Anaheim Ducks (16-14-8)

With top winger Corey Perry still out with a knee injury, the Ducks can’t seem to match up against the top team in the Pacific. Rickard Rakell had the only goal for the Ducks in last night’s 4-1 loss.

Anaheim did manage to handle the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, with goaltender John Gibson making 29 saves for the 4-0 shutout. On Thursday, Hampus Lindholm had a hat trick to help the Ducks to a 5-4 overtime win over the New York Islanders.

The Ducks play tomorrow night in Calgary. Game time is 7:00 PT.

Arizona Coyotes (9-25-5)

The Coyotes will be without forward Zac Rinaldo for at least six games. The NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended Rinaldo after he sucker punched an Avalanche player during Saturday’s 6-2 loss. Rinaldo is a repeat offender who has been suspended four times by the league.

The Coyotes responded to Saturday night’s loss with a 3-1 win over the Avs last night. They also beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Friday.

The Coyotes host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at 6:00 PT.

Calgary Flames (18-15-3)

Jaromir Jagr is with the Flames in San Jose today, but there’s no word on if he’ll play tonight. Jagr has missed seven of the team’s last nine games because of a lower body injury. With Travis Hamonic on IR and stars Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau in a slump, the Flames are in need of some offensive fire power. The team lost to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Friday.

Game time is 7:30 PT tonight.

Edmonton Oilers (17-18-2)

Even having Connor McDavid in the lineup couldn’t help the Oilers last night. The Oil lost to the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 despite McDavid’s two assists.

Edmonton beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Saturday, but the real issue in the game was a blocked shot by McDavid that hobbled him late in the third period. The x-ray came back negative, but the fact that he had to have one at all has many pundits saying the star forward shouldn’t be asked to block shots.

The Oilers beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Thursday. They play the Chicago Blackhawks at 6:00 PT Friday.

Los Angeles Kings (22-11-4)

The Kings are getting ready for a showdown of the top two teams in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles will pay a visit to the Golden Knights tonight at 7:00 PT. LA suffered a tough loss going into the Christmas break, getting shutout by Martin Jones and the Sharks 2-0 on Saturday. They beat the Avs 2-1 in OT on Thursday behind Dustin Brown’s game winning goal.

Winger Kyle Clifford is on IR.

Vancouver Canucks (15-17-5)

The Canucks will try to snap a four game losing streak tonight at 7:00 PT against the Chicago Blackhawks. Vancouver lost Saturday 3-1 to the St. Louis Blues and lost to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime on Thursday.

The good news for Vancouver is that center Brandon Sutter is expected to start skating this week. Sutter has missed the past 14 games with a lower body injury. There’s no word on when he will return to the lineup.

Meanwhile, Canucks forward Alex Burmistrov has retired from the NHL. He had just six points this season (2 G, 4 A) and was a healthy scratch on Saturday. He played six seasons in the NHL for the Jets, Coyotes, and Canucks.

Vegas Golden Knights (24-9-2)

The Golden Knights are certainly happy to have goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury back. The team has reeled off five wins since the return of Fleury, who had 26 saves in Saturday night’s 3-0 win over the Caps. Backup goaltender Malcolm Subban is doing just as well. He beat the Ducks 4-1 last night, making 27 saves of his own.

The Golden Knights face off against the Kings tonight at 7:00 PT.