Pacific Division Weekly: Ducks are batting a thousand

The Canucks slide further, the Kings have a new arena name and the Ducks sit at the top of the division.

Anaheim Ducks (10-4-3)

I hope you all had Troy Terry on your fantasy teams, because he’s on a 15-game point streak with 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) on the season, and is climbing up that league’s leaderboard fast. Terry's auspicious start is compounded by the hot streak the Ducks are on right now. How else could the rebuilding team be sitting at first in the Pacific Division?

It’s been smooth sailing for Anaheim, after having won all three of their games this past week. On Thursday, the Ducks won 7-4 over the Seattle Kraken on the road, before coming home to beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Sunday. Tuesday’s game was definitely one to remember, with an exhilarating 3-2 overtime win over the Washington Capitals, extending the Ducks’ win streak to eight games.

It was also a milestone game for Captain Ryan Getzlaf, who earned his 1,000th point, making him the first Duck to ever do so. In a weird coincidence, it also marked the franchise’s 1,000th win.

Calgary Flames (8-3-5)

The Flames are sitting at a shaky third position in the division. While their young core have been fighting hard, Calgary only won one of their four games this past week, as they hit the road for a five-game road trip.

On Thursday, Flames center Trevor Lewis earned his 100th career assist as the team lost 4-2 to the Montreal Canadiens. Then, they fell 2-1 in overtime the next day against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flames had their moment on Sunday, when they shutout the Ottawa Senators in what was Walker Duehr’s first NHL game, and Dan Vladar’s first career shutout.

The luck didn’t last, however; the Flames lost 2-1 in overtime again on Tuesday, this time to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Los Angeles Kings (8-6-1)

Changes are coming to Los Angeles, and not just because Anze Kopitar is turning back the clock to 2010. The team’s home, the iconic Staples Center, will be renamed to Arena, as announced by arena owner AEG. If ownership is actively trying to attract young fans, putting ‘crypto’ in the name should do it.

All jokes aside, the Kings are so far defying expectations. Kopitar is leading the team in points with 16 (8 goals, 8 assists) in 15 games. On Thursday, the Kings shutout the Senators, 2-0, marking Jonathan Quick’s 55th career shutout.

The Kings may be heading towards a small downswing, however. They lost their last two games: a 3-2 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, and a 2-0 shutout loss to the Capitals on Wednesday.

Vegas Golden Knights (9-7-0)

The Golden Knights have looked absent and injured throughout this season. The team’s Injured Reserve is extensive; Nolan Patrick, Alec Martinez, Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson, Jack Eichel (obviously) and Jake Bischoff are all injured, while Jonathan Marchessault, William Carrier and Michael Amadio are indisposed due to Health Protocols. Because of this, the Knights claimed center Adam Brooks off waivers from the Canadiens.

Despite their roster being ... decidedly un-Vegas-like, the team has been gaining enough wins to sit in a precarious fourth place position in the division. In the midst of a six-game homestand, they’ve got an opportunity to build some momentum.

The Golden Knights won 3-2 against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday and again, 7-4 over the Canucks on Saturday, with Jake Leschyshyn scoring his first NHL goal. The luck didn’t last; Vegas lost 4-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Edmonton Oilers (11-4-0)

The Oilers are ridiculous. Can we all agree that Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are basically human highlight-reels? The pair are racking up points like they’re going out of style. Draisaitl has totaled 33 points (17 goals, 16 assists) in 15 games, while McDavid has 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 15 games. No wonder the Oilers are second in the NHL in goals-for with 61.

The Oilers bested the Boston Bruins 5-3 to start the week on Thursday, but then lost 3-2 to the Buffalo Sabres, the next night. On Sunday, the Oilers won again, this time 5-4 over the St. Louis Blues, but then lost again, 5-2, to the Jets on Tuesday. Despite the loss, that game marked the seventh multi-point game for Draisaitl. Yeesh.

Seattle Kraken (4-11-1)

The Kraken are simultaneously disappointing fans, and meeting the expectations of a first-year expansion team. Center Riley Sheahan was waived by the Kraken, but he’s not the reason the team is losing. The Kraken’s combination of new systems and struggling goaltending is part and parcel of the expansion team experience.

Phillipp Grubauer, who had been by all accounts a great goaltender in previous seasons, sits at a .880 save percentage (SV%) and 3.18 goals against average (GAA). Grubauer has said it himself that he’s the most comfortable playing within an established system, and that it takes him awhile to settle in, so it’s not shocking that the transition to the Kraken has been a little rocky on the ice.

The Kraken have lost their past two games: 7-4 to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, and 4-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

Vancouver Canucks (5-10-2)

Where to begin with the Vancouver Canucks? Jim Benning met with owners on Wednesday, Nov. 17, and while fans are calling for Benning’s resignation, I think he’ll probably stick around a little while longer.

Although if the Canucks continue to lose the way they did this past week, patience with Benning will be running thin — assuming it isn’t already. On Thursday, the Canucks lost 7-1 to the Avalanche, and lost again on Saturday, 7-4, to the Golden Knights. The next day, winger Nils Hoglander extended his point streak to 4 goals in three games, scoring the only Canucks goal in a 6-1 loss to the Ducks.

On Monday, defender Tucker Poolman returned from his two-game suspension for high-sticking Avalanche forward Kiefer Sherwood. Defender Travis Hammonic was called up from Abbotsford, as Madison Bowey was placed on Injured reserve. The team waived defender Guillaume Brisebois on Tuesday and he cleared ahead of the next game.

It seemed like after a few days of rest, the Canucks could stage a comeback and win at least once this week. They couldn’t, falling 4-2 to the Avalanche.