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Pacific Division Round-Up: Ducks could be odd man out

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Plus “Johnny Hockey” takes a leave of absence.

Mar 27, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour (26) battles for the puck against Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin (22) during the third period at Rogers Arena Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights are in the postseason. The team clinched its first ever playoff berth this week. Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings are fighting to keep their postseason hopes alive. Right now, LA has the slight edge, but a meeting between the two teams on Friday could go a long way to making the playoff picture clearer.

As for the Vancouver Canucks, they added a young gun to their roster, while the Calgary Flames will be without two of their top scorers.

Anaheim Ducks (39-25-13)

The Ducks are clinging to a playoff spot, just barely. As of this morning, Anaheim is tied with the Kings and the St. Louis Blues at 91 points apiece. Trouble is, the Blues have 43 wins, the Kings have 42 and the Ducks have 39. A tie in points goes to the team with the most regulation wins, which means the Ducks are the lowest team on the totem pole. With the Colorado Avalanche just one point behind Anaheim, there’s no room for error.

The Ducks lost to the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Tuesday, but beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 in overtime on Saturday. They also lost to Winnipeg 3-2 in overtime on Friday.

Hoping for a little scoring help, the Ducks signed U.S. Olympian Troy Terry to a three-year entry-level contract earlier this week. The young forward was a fifth-round pick for Anaheim in 2015. Terry spent this past season playing for the University of Denver. He’s now eligible to play for the team.

Anaheim will play their biggest game of the season on Friday at 7:00 when they host LA.

Arizona Coyotes (17-39-11)

The Coyotes are trying to finish off the season on a high note. Arizona beat the Golden Knights 3-2 on Wednesday and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 on Monday. The Coyotes lost to the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Saturday and the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 on Thursday.

Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is out for the rest of the season with a lower-body injury.

Arizona is right back at it tonight. They pay a visit to Los Angeles to play to Kings. A win over the Kings would help move the Sharks toward clinching that second place spot. Game time is 7:30 PT.

Calgary Flames (35-32-10)

Another tough week and the Flames are officially out of playoff contention. Calgary has scored just one goal this past week. The Flames were shutout 3-0 by the Kings on Monday and lost to the Sharks 5-1 on Saturday.

Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau missed Monday’s game in Los Angeles because he rushed back to New Jersey to be with his father who suffered a cardiac event. The Flames say Gaudreau will remain with his family “until further notice”.

The team has already shutdown forward Sean Monahan for the rest of the season.

Calgary plays host to the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at 6:00 PT.

Edmonton Oilers (34-37-6)

The Oilers are playing for pride and Connor McDavid is playing for his second consecutive Hart Trophy. McDavid surpassed the 100 point mark for the second season in a row. He has registered 12 points in the last four games (six goals, six assists).

Oilers goaltender Al Montoya is still sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Montoya missed Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to the Blue Jackets and Sunday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Ducks on Sunday.

The Oilers beat the Kings 3-2 on Saturday and beat the Senators 6-2 on Thursday. They play play tonight at 7:00 PT in Vancouver.

Los Angeles Kings (42-28-7)

Good news for the Kings, bad news for the rest of the league: Anze Kopitar is heating up. He scored four goals in Thursday’s 7-1 win over Colorado. He did not score in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Oilers, but did have a goal and an assist in Monday’s 3-0 win over the Flames. Jonathan Quick made 23 saves to secure the shutout. Kopitar has 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in the last 16 games.

Defenseman Jake Muzzin was injured in Monday’s win. He left partway through the game and did not return. Muzzin will be sidelined indefinitely according to Kings GM Rob Blake.

The Kings play host to the Coyotoes tonight at 7:30 PT.

Vancouver Canucks (28-40-9)

The Canucks’ newest player is giving fans something to be excited about. The team has signed NCAA leading scorer Adam Gaudette to a three-year, entry-level contract. The young forward is the Hobey Baker frontrunner. He’s expected to start tonight at 7:00 PT against the Oilers.

The Canucks could use the help, as Brenden Leipsic left Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks after blocking a shot. The Canucks have also lost defenseman Chris Tanev, who sprained his knee in Friday’s 4-1 loss to St. Louis.

Vancouver beat the Ducks 4-1 on Tuesday and the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Sunday.

Vegas Golden Knights (48-32-7)

Vegas is making history. They’re the first NHL expansion team to make the playoffs since the 1980 WHA merger. The Golden Knights have also set records for best regular season record, most wins, and most points by an NHL expansion team.

Vegas has clinched a playoff spot, but is still trying to clinch the top spot in the Pacific Division. The Sharks are just five points behind. Both teams have five games left in the season.

Winger David Perron did not play in Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. No word yet on how he got hurt.

The Golden Knights beat Colorado 4-1 on Monday, lost to Colorado in a shootout 2-1 on Saturday and lost to the Sharks 2-1 in overtime on Thursday.

The Golden Knights Friday at 7:30 PT against St. Louis.