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Pacific Division Round Up: Familiar face lands in Vegas

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We are just as confused as you are.

Jan 16, 2020; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer signals to his team on the ice in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure you’ve heard about this enough, but we have to address the elephant in the room: in a strange turn of events, the San Jose Sharks’ old friend Pete DeBoer has crossed enemy lines. After the Vegas Golden Knights’ coach Gerard Gallant was unexpectedly canned, his replacement came in the form of the former Sharks coach. It is a weird move and will definitely take some getting used to for both fan bases and teams.

Here’s how the division is shaping up as we head into the All-Star break.

Anaheim Ducks (19-24-5)

One bright spot in the black hole that the Sharks are in right now is the fact that they are still ahead of the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division standings. While the Sharks had a rough week, the Ducks actually had a pretty decent one. They lost their first game against the St. Louis Blues 4-1, but bounced back to win their next two. They beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 and the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime, thanks to a goal from Sam Steel.

The Ducks could move into the Sharks’ spot if they beat them on January 27, after the All-Star break, at 7:30 p.m. PT.

Arizona Coyotes (26-20-5)

The Arizona Coyotes are currently sitting in fifth place in the Pacific. They started their week off beating the Sharks 6-3, but we’ll just pretend that didn’t happen. That one was followed by a 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. They finished their week with a big loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Oil put up seven goals en route to a 7-3 thrashing, yikes!

Last week, goaltender Antti Raanta was sidelined with another injury. He made his return to the lineup this week against the Oilers. After allowing six goals, he was pulled and replaced by third-string netminder Adin Hill. Raanta can’t catch a break.

The Coyotes will see the Ducks on Wednesday, January 29, at 7 p.m. PT.

Calgary Flames (26-19-5)

The Calgary Flames have slipped down to third place in the division now, following a rough week. They kicked it off with a 2-0 shutout loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Next came the Toronto Maple Leafs, whom the Flames were able to finish off closely, 2-1 in a shootout. They wrapped the week up with a 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Our old pal Chris Tierney scored a goal against his once division rival. The battle of the Tkachuks ended in Brady’s favor.

The Flames will face the Blues on Tuesday, January 28, at 6 p.m. PT.

Edmonton Oilers (26-18-5)

The Oilers have inched their way back to second place in the Pacific. They played only two games this week, but won both of them. The first was a 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators, where Leon Draisaitl had a pair of goals. They finished the week off strong with a big 7-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Connor McDavid scored two of those seven goals, while goaltender Mike Smith had a .900 save percentage.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed practiced this week with illness, but was good to go against the Predators. He ended up scoring a goal that night.

The Oilers will face the Flames on Wednesday, January 29, at 7 p.m. PT.

Los Angeles Kings (18-27-5)

The Los Angeles Kings are still in last place and all is right in the world. They lost every game they played this week, starting with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Next, the Florida Panthers beat them 4-3. Finally, the Philadelphia Flyers stomped them 4-1.

Blake Lizotte sustained a lower-body injury and didn’t play the final three games of their road trip.

The Kings will see the Tampa Bay Lightning again on January 29 at 7 p.m. PT.

Vancouver Canucks (27-18-4)

The Vancouver Canucks are in first place and the month on the calendar doesn’t say October? Weird.

They started the week off by getting shut out 4-0 to the Winnipeg Jets. They bounced back on Thursday, beating the Coyotes 3-1. Finally, they beat the Sharks, but for some reason I can’t remember what happened during that game. Super weird!

The Canucks will face the Blues on January 27 at 7 p.m. PT.

Vegas Golden Knights (25-19-7)

The Vegas Golden Knights, now run by Pete DeBoer, won just one of their three games this week. They lost on Tuesday to the noted coach-killers, the Buffalo Sabres, by a score of 4-2. The Golden Knights then went on to beat the Ottawa Senators on 4-2 on Thursday. Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves that night. They wrapped up their week with a 5-4 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

Paul Stastny was injured during the game against Montreal after taking a puck to the face. He is currently day-to-day. William Karlsson missed the game against Ottawa and is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Vegas plays tonight, kicking off against the Boston Bruins at 4 p.m. PT.