The playoffs are getting closer and closer and the Pacific Division standings have been fluctuating here and there. The Vegas Golden Knights have a strong grip on first place, and the Sharks are still sitting pretty in second, but the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks are closing in. Here’s what’s gone down in the Pacific this week.
Anaheim Ducks ( 31-20-11)
The Ducks took on the Chicago Blackhawks last Thursday and handed them their eighth straight loss with a 3-2 win. Adam Henrique scored the winning goal in the third period, while John Gibson made a total of 42 saves. The Minnesota Wild were up next for the Ducks. Their 3-2 victory over the Wild didn’t come as nicely as the one in Chicago — this one went to a shootout that went on for what felt like a decade. The winning goal didn’t come until the 11th round, finally scored by Nick Ritchie. The teams combined for thirteen straight misses prior to Ritchie’s goal.
The Ducks took on Pacific Divison rivals the Vegas Golden Knights and won 2-0. John Gibson made 13 saves on 13 shots, but was injured by Reilly Smith and did not return. Backup netminder Ryan Miller kept the shutout alive, saving 20 shots. The Ducks have won the last four of their five road games, inching closer to the top of the table. The Dallas Stars continued their unlucky streak in California, falling 2-0 to the Ducks on Wednesday. Ryan Getzlaf and Hampus Lindholm had the goals for Anaheim. John Gibson appears to still be injured with Ryan Miller between the pipes.
The Ducks take on the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday at 5:00 PST.
Arizona Coyotes (17-32-10)
The Coyotes have only played two games since we last spoke, but they were both wins. They are currently on a four-game winning streak! They played the Montreal Canadiens and won 5-2. Clayton Keller racked up four points, a career high for the rookie. Brendan Perlini scored two goals in 19 seconds. This was a huge game for a struggling Arizona team, against a solid goalie like Carey Price.
Then the Coyotes took on the Edmonton Oilers. The Coyotes walked away with their fourth straight victory. Patrick Maroon netted a goal during the third period, but it was disallowed due to goalie interference, giving Raanta, who has been really strong for Arizona, his first shutout. Christian Dvorak had the single goal for the Coyotes.
The Coyotes also made a move with the trade window closing soon. They acquired goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the Los Angeles Kings, in exchange for Tobias Rieder and Scott Wedgewood.
The Desert Dogs will look to keep their winning streak alive today against the Calgary Flames at 6:00 PST.
Calgary Flames (30-22-9)
Calgary had a bit of an odd week. They started out strong last Thursday against the Nashville Predators, winning 4-3. The Flames saw goals from Dougie Hamilton, Matthew Tkachuk, Mark Jankowski, and Curtis Lazar. They fell 6-3 to the Florida Panthers, all three goals coming from Dougie Hamilton who kept his scoring streak going.
Things looked to be getting better for the Flames when the Boston Bruins rolled into town. David Pastrnak had a goal in the opening six minutes of the game. Matthew Tkachuk scored the tying goal on the power play during the second period. The third period remained scoreless. The Flames ended up losing 2-1, thanks to a Brad Marchand OT goal. Things stayed bad for the Flames when the lost to fellow Pacific Division rivals, the Vegas Golden Knights. They got killed 7-3, on the Flames’ mom’s weekend. Sorry moms, at least you got a trip to Vegas out of it.
The Flames have a chance to redeem themselves today against the Arizona Coyotes at 6:00 PST.
Edmonton Oilers (24-31-4)
The Edmonton Oilers continue to struggle. They lost 4-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. The losing streak continued on into Saturday when they were shut out by another division rival, the Arizona Coyotes.
Things started to turn around for Edmonton when they won 4-2 over the Colorado Avalanche. Cam Talbot made 24 saves. Connor McDavid had a hat trick because of course he did. Ryan Strome netted the fourth goal. They seemed to keep that momentum when they took on the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. The Oilers played hard in the first two periods, leading 2-0 going into the third. Cam Talbot made an unreal amount of saves, 34 in the opening 44 minutes. The Bruins scored three unanswered goals in the third, taking a 3-2 victory. This was certainly a frustrating loss for the Oilers.
There is talk of Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu being traded. What do you guys think will happen with this struggling Oilers team?
They’ll look to turn this all around tonight at 6:00 PST against the Colorado Avalanche.
Los Angeles Kings (33-22-5)
It seemed as though the Kings were going to stay in third place below the Sharks forever. This week, the Ducks took their spot. Things started out tough with a match up against reigning Stanley Cup champs, the Pittsburgh Penguins, where they lost 3-1. On Saturday, they redeemed themselves by beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. Jonathan Quick had 35 saves on the night, while Anze Kopitar and Michael Amadio had two goals each.
The Kings continued winning on Monday, 3-1 over the struggling Chicago Blackhawks. Our old friend Torrey Mitchell had a goal. The Kings scored their third straight win against the Winnipeg Jets. It was a hard fought 4-3 victory on Tuesday.
The Kings did a few trades this week. Aside from the Darcy Kuemper to Arizona trade, they also acquired Dion Phaneuf from the Ottawa Senators, for some reason. Nate Thompson of Ottawa was also included in the trade, with the Kings sending Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore up North.
The Kings will look to send the Stars back to Dallas with a losing record in California tonight at 7:30 PST.
Vancouver Canucks (23-30-7)
The Vancouver Canucks have had a very interesting week. They kicked things off with a glorious 4-1 loss against our San Jose Sharks. The Canucks turned their luck around, beating a hot Bruins team 6-1. Loui Erikkson netted two goals against his former team. Anders Nilsson made 44 saves between the pipes. Things went back to being rocky for the Canucks, losing 5-4 to the Colorado Avalanche. Another old friend, Nikolay Goldobin, had one of the four Vancouver goals. Nilsson had 29 saves, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Canucks afloat.
The Canucks signed defensemen Erik Gudbranson to a three year, $4 million dollar contract extension. It’ll be interesting to see if they make any other moves before the trade deadline.
The Vancouver Canucks take Vegas tomorrow at 7:30 PST.
Vegas Golden Knights (40-16-4)
Yes, the Golden Knights are still good and I am still annoyed by it. They’re currently sitting seven points above the Sharks in first place of the division. Of course, they started their week out strong on Thursday, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Next up, they completely dominated the Montreal Canadiens, scoring a total of six goals on both Carey Price and former Shark Antti Niemi. They won that game 6-3.
They finally lost, but it was to the Anaheim Ducks so we can’t even celebrate. They didn’t score any goals, losing 2-0, but Ryan Carpenter had a shot on goal so that’s something right? Back on their dominating game, beating the Calgary Flames 7-3. Ryan Carpenter had a goal! Remember when the Sharks put him on waivers? Yikes, too soon, sorry. Marc-André Fleury made 28 saves on 31 shots.
The Golden Knights host the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow at 7:30 PST.