Pacific Division Round Up: Sharks close in on Coyotes

How much longer will the ‘Yotes be sitting pretty in second place?

After a successful month for the San Jose Sharks, the standings look very different from the start of the season. The Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks sat in the top three for some time. Now, the Sharks are inching closer to that second place spot. Sorry, Desert Dogs.

Here’s how the rest of the division looked this week:

Anaheim Ducks (11-12-4)

Remember when the Sharks were in second-to-last place in the standings? Now our old friends, the Anaheim Ducks, call it home. They started their week off strong, beating the New York Islanders in a 3-0 shutout win, thanks to 26 saves made by John Gibson. They then held the Arizona Coyotes to a tie at the end of regulation, but it was the Desert Dogs who had the last laugh, winning 4-3 in a shootout. Finally, the Ducks finished their week on the other side of a 3-0 shutout. Connor Hellebuyck and his Winnipeg Jets held the Ducks to just 24 shots.

The Ducks signed first-round draft pick Brayden Tracey to a three-year, entry-level contract. With the way their season is going, they might be calling on him sooner than later. In other completely unnecessary news to share, Rickard Rakell started a charity that involves dogs, so maybe he is the only Anaheim Duck we respect.

The Ducks will face off on a battle for last place against the Los Angeles Kings today at 7 p.m. PT.

Arizona Coyotes (15-9-4)

The Arizona Coyotes are still in second place, but the Sharks are creeping up on them, sitting just three points behind. The Coyotes started their week off with that 4-3 shootout win over the Ducks. Then came the Vegas Golden Knights. At the end of regulation, it was tied 1-1. A shootout victory for the bad guys, the Golden Knights, shortly followed. The Coyotes were handed another loss, this time from our Sharks. Things looked rough at first, but the boys in teal finished that one off 4-2.

The Coyotes dealt goaltender Eric Comrie to the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Vili Saarijarvi this weekend. So, there’s that.

The Coyotes will play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday at 4 p.m. PT.

Calgary Flames (13-12-4)

The Calgary Flames have had a rough last few weeks. This week, however, they came out with a few wins. They started the week off with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They got their groove back come Wednesday, winning 3-2 in overtime against the Buffalo Sabres. They finished off the week with a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

By now, I’m sure you know everything that’s been going on with the Calgary Flames. Coach Bill Peters is no longer part of the organization after serious racist comments and incidents of abuse from his past were brought to light. Good riddance, Bill! Geoff Ward has been named interim coach for the time being.

Calgary will see the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT.

Edmonton Oilers (17-9-3)

The first-place Edmonton Oilers had a rocky week, which is good news as the Sharks look to move up the standings. They started the week with a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Joonas Donskoi had two points. He really is the one who got away, huh? They saw the Vancouver Canucks for the first of back-to-back games against them. They lost the first game 5-2. The second was on Sunday, and the Oilers pulled off a 3-2 win after a goal in the third period broke the tie.

Zack Kassian, Kris Russell and goaltender Mike Smith didn’t hit the ice for round two against Vancouver. Russell is home on dad duty while Kassian and Smith are both injured. Matt Benning returned to the lineup, however.

The Oilers will face the Senators on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. PT.

Los Angeles Kings (11-14-2)

The Los Angeles Kings are still bad, guys. Their week started on Monday with that overtime loss to the Sharks. Wednesday brought a victory for the Kings, however, beating the New York Islanders 4-1. Jonathan Quick made a whole 24 saves that night. The Sharks saw their favorite rivals again this week and won that one too.

The Kings had some life in them for one last win this week, this time over the Winnipeg Jets. The 2-1victory saw 33 saves from Jack Campbell, who should probably be their starting goaltender after the last minute save in the video below.

The Kings play the Ducks today at 7 p.m. PT.

Vancouver Canucks (13-9-3)

This week was interesting for the Vancouver Canucks, leaving the Sharks ready to take their spot in third place. They started their week off with a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. That was followed up by a big 8-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That’s a lot of goals, friends. Thatcher Demko stopped 33 shots. Things improved when they faced off against Edmonton, winning that one 5-2. Tanner Pearson had a pair of goals. They weren’t done with Edmonton, however. They saw them again on Sunday, but fell 3-2.

Alex Edler was injured this week and a game-time decision on Sunday. He ultimately did not play. Seems as though he is day-to-day.

The Canucks will face off against the Ottawa Senators tomorrow at 7 p.m. PT.

Vegas Golden Knights (13-11-4)

The Vegas Golden Knights are two spots below the Sharks in the standings currently, which feels right. This week started with a 4-2 loss from the red hot Dallas Stars. On Wednesday, Vegas pulled off a 4-3 overtime win against the Nashville Predators. Malcolm Subban was in net and made 31 saves to keep his team in the game. Finally, they found another victory in overtime. That one ended 2-1 against the Arizona Coyotes. Subban made 35 saves that night.

The Golden Knights have been playing without Marc-Andre Fleury this week. He is on personal leave after losing his father. He is expected to return on the team’s East Coast road trip, but the timeline is unknown. Cody Eakin is week-to-week after suffering an upper-body injury.

Vegas will see the New York Rangers today at 4 p.m. PT.