Pacific Division Round Up: Flames heating up, Knights fall down

The standings are ever changing. It’s Calgary’s turn at first place now, apparently.

The most notable moment this week in the Pacific Division was probably Matthew Tkachuk’s hit on Zack Kassian that resulted in hockey World War III, but more on that later. Calgary has now inched its way to the top spot of the division in spite of it all. But with a whole lot of middling teams, the top spot in this division is always up for grabs.

Anaheim Ducks (17-23-5)

While the Calgary Flames enjoy first place, the Anaheim Ducks are stuck in dead last after losing all three of their games this week. It started with a 4-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Next came Corey Perry’s return to Anaheim, though, he was in arena seats because he’s suspended thanks to a stupid hit during the Winter Classic. Just Corey Perry things. His new squad, the Dallas Stars, shut them out 3-0. No Joe Pavelski goals were scored, however. Finally, the Chicago Blackhawks outscored the Ducks 4-2. The Los Angeles Kings are no longer the worst Pacific team, but the state of California hockey is rough.

Lots of injury updates for the Ducks this week. Rickard Rakell and Korbinian Holzer returned to the line up. Troy Terry remains day-to-day, while Derek Grant and Nick Ritchie began skating with the team and may be back after the All-Star break.

The Ducks are desperately seeking a win against the St. Louis Blues today at 5 p.m. PT.

Here’s Corey Perry’s tribute video because the team didn’t have many highlights this week:

Arizona Coyotes (25-18-5)

The Arizona Coyotes are now in second place in the division. They started their week off with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. Adin Hill was in net after both their starting and backup goalies were sidelined with injuries. He made 37 saves. Things went south when they faced the Tampa Bay Lightning, getting shut out 4-0. They were shutout again on Friday, this time by the Carolina Hurricanes. Goaltender Antti Raanta returned between the pipes only to leave the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Their week ended with another loss, this time in a shootout. The Pittsburgh Penguins came out on top 4-3.

Rookie Barrett Hayton was injured during his impressive stint in the World Juniors tournament. He will be week-to-week as he recovers from an upper-body injury.

The Sharks will be the Coyotes’ next opponent on Tuesday at 6 p.m. PT.

Calgary Flames (25-17-5)

The Calgary Flames had a solid week, winning every game they played and making their way to the top of the division standings. It started on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Elias Lindholm scored both goals for the Flames. On Thursday, they beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1. Cam Talbot made 42 saves between the pipes. Finally, the rivalry game went down. The Flames ended up topping the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Elias Lindholm had a pair of goals, while Matthew Tkachuk laid a hard hit on Zack Kassian that resulted in a brawl. Feel free to watch the video below to see how it unfolded.

Sam Bennett returned to the lineup this week as the Flames continued to win games. They look to keep their streak going today at 4 p.m. PT against the Montreal Canadiens.

Edmonton Oilers (24-18-5)

The Edmonton Oilers started their week off with a big 6-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. They followed that up with a 4-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens. Finally, they saw the Calgary Flames. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals in their 3-4 loss, but that wasn’t the highlight most remembered. Like I mentioned prior, Zack Kassian responded violently to a hit from Matthew Tkachuk. He will have a hearing and I’m sure a suspension looms in his future.

The Oilers will see the Nashville Predators on Tuesday at 6 p.m. PT.

Los Angeles Kings (18-25-4)

The LA Kings started their week with an instant 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. They followed that up with a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. On Thursday, however, they recovered in a big way, beating the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Adrian Kempe had a pair of goals while Jack Campbell made 44 saves. They didn’t have a good thing going for long, though — on Saturday they were shutout by the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-0. Oh well.

The Kings will face the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday at 4 p.m. PT.

Vancouver Canucks (25-17-4)

Well, the Vancouver Canucks didn’t have a great Monday. They lost 9-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning — yes, that’s nine goals scored on the Canucks. Jacob Markstrom was in the net for six of those goals, Thatcher Demko for the other three. Yikes! Things didn’t improve from there. The Florida Panthers beat them 5-2 on Thursday. They recovered and delivered a 6-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. They kept that momentum and beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1.

Michael Ferland is injured and will not return until after the All-Star break.

The Canucks will face off against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT.

Vegas Golden Knights (24-18-6)

If it makes anyone feel better, the Vegas Golden Knights lost every game they played this week. It started on Tuesday with a 4-3 loss to Marc-Andre Fleury’s old team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. He made only 12 saves against his former squad. On Thursday, the LA Kings beat them 5-2. They finished the week off strong with a 3-0 shutout loss handed to them by the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was a tough week for the Vegas Golden Knights, but we’re finding it difficult to feel bad for them.

Vegas will see the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday at 4 p.m. PT.