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Pacific Division Round Up: The Golden Knights continue their dominance

Connor McDavid has gone cold, at least by human standards.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Vegas Golden Knights Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights are going all in, trying to keep the core that pushed them to the top of the Pacific Division together, the Vancouver Canucks may have a silver lining if they miss the post-season, and the Anaheim Ducks are close to healthy.

Here’s this week in the Pacific Division:

Anaheim Ducks (19-14-8)

Two solid netminders could be the difference maker for the Ducks come playoff time. On Tuesday, backup goalie Ryan Miller recorded a 5-0 win over his former team, the Vancouver Canucks. Miller made 31 saves to secure the shutout.

The Ducks are also getting scoring from their top forwards. Rickard Rakell has scored goals in his last six games. He notched two goals in Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes and scored the game winner in Friday’s 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Forward Corey Perry is with the team on this latest road trip and could return to the lineup soon. He has missed the last 10 games with a lower body injury.

Anaheim plays in Edmonton tonight at 6:00 PT.

Arizona Coyotes (9-27-5)

The Coyotes are hoping 2018 is much kinder to the franchise. A 5-2 loss to the Ducks on Sunday and a 7-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday were a tough way to end 2017.

The only highlight of the week was the return of Auston Matthews to his home state of Arizona. The Scottsdale native spent some time with his family during Christmas before making the short trek to Gila River Arena to play in front of his hometown fans.

The Coyotes host the Nashville Predators at 6:00 PT today.

Calgary Flames (19-16-4)

Another up and down week for the Flames. Calgary’s Mark Giordano scored in OT on Sunday to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. The Flames then lost to the Ducks on Friday 2-1 and we all know about Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Sharks.

The Flames waived forward Freddie Hamilton yesterday. The former Sharks draft pick hasn’t played for the team since Dec. 22. He had just one assist in eight games. Freddie is the older brother of Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton.

Calgary will host LA today at 6:00 PT.

Edmonton Oilers (17-20-3)

A lot is going wrong with the Oilers this week. Forward Patrick Maroon will miss the next two games after an illegal check to the head on the Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty. Maroon received a five-minute match penalty, a 10-minute game misconduct and a fighting major after the Kings’ Derek Forbort stepped up to fight him. Doughty left Tuesday’s game in the second period, but did return in the third. The Oilers lost 5-0.

It was the third game in a row that reigning league MVP Connor McDavid was held off the scoreboard. He hasn’t scored in three games, the longest pointless streak in his NHL career.

Edmonton was also shutout by the Winnipeg Jets 5-0 on Sunday and lost to the Blackhawks 4-3 in OT on Friday.

The Oilers host the Ducks today at 6:00 PT.

Los Angeles Kings (24-11-5)

The Kings are no longer top of the Pacific, but they’re keeping a definite hold on second place. LA followed up a 3-2 OT loss to the Golden Knights on Thursday with a 4-3 win over the Canucks on Friday and a 5-0 win over the Oilers on Tuesday. The Kings’ power play scored three goals during an extended five-minute power play against the Oilers, during Maroon’s aforementioned penalty.

The Kings play the Flames today at 6:00 PT.

Vancouver Canucks (16-19-5)

It’s looking less and less likely that the Canucks make the post-season this year, but there is a bright spot: they could have this year’s Calder Trophy winner on their roster. Rookie Brock Boeser was named December’s rookie of the month. He was also November’s rookie of the month. Boeser has 38 points (21 G, 17 A) this season. He scored a goal and notched three assists in Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Blackhawks.

The Canucks were shutout by the Ducks 5-0 on Tuesday and lost to the Kings 4-3 on Friday. Tough losses, but there was one highlight reel goal by former Sharks’ prospect Nikolay Goldobin. He had a nasty toe drag around the Kings’ Doughty during Friday’s game.

The Canucks play the Leafs Saturday at 4:00 PT.

Vegas Golden Knights (27-9-3)

GM George McPhee’s plan worked out a little too well and now the Golden Knights are paying the price, literally. Vegas has signed the team’s leading scorer, Jonathan Marchessault, to a six-year, $30 million contract extension. It’s a sure sign that the Pacific Division leaders plan to be in the thick of it come playoff time. And why not? They’ve won eight straight and earned at least one point in each of their last 13 games.

Marc-Andre Fleury had a 29 save shutout in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Predators. William Karlsson scored the first hat trick in Golden Knights’ history during Sunday’s 6-3 win over Toronto. Plus, David Perron had the game winner in Thursday’s 3-2 OT win over the Kings.

The Golden Knights go for nine in a row today at 5:00 PT in St. Louis.