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Pacific Division Round Up: Calgary is back on top

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The Sharks really had em’ there for a minute, didn’t they?

Mar 10, 2019; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goalie David Rittich (33) and left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) celebrate the win over the Las Vegas Golden Knights at Scotiabank Saddledome. Flames won 6-3.  Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks put the Calgary Flames in their place — second place in the division, that is — for about 24 hours. I will cherish those 24 hours forever. However, the Flames beat the Vegas Golden Knights big time on Sunday, moving them back into first. The Sharks and the Flames continue to fight neck-to-neck.

Here’s how the rest of the division is shaping off, with most clubs on the outside looking in for playoffs:

Anaheim Ducks (27-34-9)

I don’t know what this Anaheim Ducks team is doing and I’m pretty sure they don’t either. They kicked their week off with a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Jakob Silfverberg, Adam Henrique and Troy Terry scored, while Ryan Miller made 22 saves between the pipes. They took on the St. Louis Blues next and lost 5-4, holding tight against a surging team. Jaycob Megna, Adam Henrique, Rickard Rakell and Nick Ritchie had the goals for Anaheim.

Things continued to get weirder when the Montreal Canadiens rolled into town. The Ducks somehow scored eight goals, beating them 8-2. Adam Henrique had quite the week, netting two against the Habs. The other goals came off the sticks of Troy Terry, Corey Perry, Devin Shore, Max Jones, Rickard Rakell and Daniel Sprong. The Ducks faced the Los Angeles Kings last night, losing 3-2 against one of the worst teams in the league. Silfverberg and Sprong found the net, but that was all she wrote for that one.

The Ducks face the Nashville Predators Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT.

Arizona Coyotes (34-29-5)

The Arizona Coyotes have become a pretty decent hockey team. I’m happy for them, I guess. Aside from losing to the Ducks 3-1 (Lawson Crouse, the long goal-scorer), they had a pretty good week. They did us Sharks fans a big favor and shut out the Flames. Jakob Chychrun and Clayton Keller scored for Arizona and Darcy Kuemper made 30 saves.

The Desert Dogs then beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 for us, which again, was very thoughtful. Christian Dvorak and Michael Grabner each had a pair of goals. Jason Demers made his return to the ice against Anaheim but has zero points in the three games he played. The Coyotes currently have 11 wins over their last 14 games.

The Coyotes face the Blackhawks today at 5:30 p.m. PT.

Calgary Flames (42-20-7)

The Flames had a flop week, but had to end it on a strong note, of course. First, the Vegas Golden Knights gave them a 2-1 beating. Travis Hamonic was the only Flame to find the net. They then lost 2-0 to the Arizona Coyotes. Mike Smith made 23 saves.

Things got better for them on Sunday, pulling off a 6-3 win over the Golden Knights. The Flames were struggling earlier in the week, but looked great against Vegas this time. Matthew Tkachuk netted a hat trick, while Mikael Bucklund found the net twice and Andrew Mangiapane added a goal of his own. David Rittich was in net and made 25 saves. Just like that, the Sharks were out of first place.

James Neal has been out with an injury for awhile now. He took the ice for the first time this week. He’s expected to be good to go come playoffs.

The Flames play the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday at 6 p.m. PT.

Edmonton Oilers (30-31-7)

The Edmonton Oilers started their week out strong, beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse, Kyle Brodizak and Zack Kassian scored while Mikko Koskinen made 35 saves. They managed to win again, finding a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Alex Chiasson, Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all scored for the Oilers.

The Oilers fought hard against the Toronto Maple Leafs over the weekend. They fell 3-2, but held up against a strong Toronto team. Oscar Klefbom and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had the goals. Anthony Stolarz was in net and made 37 saves.

The Oilers see the New York Rangers today at 6 p.m. PT.

Los Angeles Kings (25-36-8)

The Los Angeles Kings are still bad at hockey and I love getting to remind you all of that every week. They played four games and lost all but one. The first loss came from the Montreal Canadiens, a 3-1 final with just one Kings goal from Matt Luff. The St. Louis Blues hit Staples Center next, sinking the Kings 4-0. Jonathan Quick allowed all four goals, making 28 saves on the night.

The Coyotes added insult to injury, beating LA 4-2 in their first of a weekend back-to-back against division rivals. Carl Grundstrom scored his first NHL goal, with Adrian Kempe getting on the board, as well. Things got better after they sat in traffic for a few hours to get to Anaheim. Dustin Brown, Kyle Clifford and Grundstrom aided in the 3-2 victory.

The Kings play Nashville on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. PT.

Vancouver Canucks (28-32-9)

The Vancouver Canucks kicked things off this week by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime. Alexander Elder, Loui Eriksson and Josh Leivo lead their team to victory, along with Jacob Markstrom’s 28 saves. Then the Edmonton Oilers beat them 3-2. Jay Beagle and Alexander Elder scored, but no dice for the Canucks this time.

The Golden Knights came into town and had a field day with Vancouver. The 6-2 loss saw goals from Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat, but ultimately Vegas ran the show. Markstrom allowed five goals on 16 shots before being replaced by Thatcher Demko, who allowed one.

Jake Virtanen returned to the lineup after a hit from Ryan Getzlaf broke a pair of his ribs. Meanwhile, they signed top prospect Quinn Hughes to a three-year entry level contract now that the University of Michigan’s season is over. Anything to try to mend their problems is worth a shot, right?

Vancouver face the New York Rangers Wednesday at 7 p.m. PT.

Vegas Golden Knights (38-27-5)

Vegas started their week off as our best friends, defeating the Flames 2-1. Deryk Engelland and Shea Theodore netted the two goals. Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves between the pipes. Then came the huge 6-2 victory over the Canucks. The goals in that one were scored by Alex Tuch, Tomas Nosek, Paul Stastny, Mark Stone, Cody Eakin and Nate Schmidt.

The Calgary Flames came back into their lives one more time this week and snapped their six-game winning streak. The 6-3 loss was an ugly one for Vegas. Brandon Pirri, Reilly Smith and Mark Stone found the net, while Malcolm Subban allowed five goals on 34 shot attempts between the pipes, also taking a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Vegas will take a four-day break before hitting the ice again on Friday against the Dallas Stars at 5 p.m. PT.