Pacific Division Weekly: Jack Eichel skating in Vegas
Plus, COVID postpones several Pacific Division games.
With three teams based in Canada, the Pacific Division isn’t seeing a lot of hockey action right now, thanks to the on-going pandemic. Unless it’s Hockey Night in Canada, teams are postponing home games because they currently can’t have fans in the building.
That’s going to lead to a hectic March and April, but here’s what’s happening right now around the Pacific.
Anaheim Ducks (19-12-7)
Just hours before the puck drop, the league postponed the Ducks’ Jan. 6 game against the Detroit Red Wings because of COVID issues. Things seemed to be sorted out by Saturday, just in time for Anaheim to lose 4-1 to the New York Rangers. The Rangers scored four unanswered goals to claim the “W.”
The Ducks eked out a 4-3 shootout win over the Red Wings the next day. Trevor Zegras tallied a goal, an assist and scored in the shootout. With John Gibson on COVID Protocol, goaltender Lukas Dostal got the nod. The young man made 36 saves to claim his first NHL win.
Tuesday night, Anaheim had the misfortune of welcoming Evgeni Malkin back to the NHL. Malkin scored two goals and added an assist in his first game this season. The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Ducks 4-1.
And, uh, this happened:
Electric performance from the Rally Monkey ⚡️#AngelsNight22 | @AnaheimDucks pic.twitter.com/lJ0HX1O412— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) January 10, 2022
Calgary Flames (17-10-6)
The Flames know there’s more work ahead if the team wants to be considered a true Stanley Cup contender. Thursday and Friday saw the Flames play a tough back-to-back with two of the top teams in the NHL, closing out a four-game road trip.
Calgary lost 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 6 and followed it up with a 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 7.
The Flames have not had a chance to right the ship. The team’s game against the Islanders on Tuesday was postponed. Calgary will play its first home game in over a month tonight when the team hosts the Ottawa Senators.
A game would be a good thing because if you don’t keep the boys busy, things like this happen:
Teamwork makes the dream work. pic.twitter.com/2Hhe2ibgJU— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) January 7, 2022
Edmonton Oilers (18-14-2)
The Oilers haven’t played this week, but there’s still plenty to talk about. The team is in the midst of a five-game skid. Games against the New York Islanders (Jan. 8), Ottawa Senators (Jan. 10) and Minnesota Wild (Jan. 12) were all postponed.
The Oilers’ next game is on Saturday, Jan. 15, against the Senators. That’s Hockey Night in Canada, for those of you keeping track.
But the big story surrounding the Oilers is the team’s big push to land Evander Kane. As you know, the San Jose Sharks terminated his contract earlier this week. Kane’s camp will tell you that nearly two-thirds of the league have called about his availability. Other pundits say that number is closer to 10.
Either way, we know the Oilers are one of the teams pushing hard to land the forward. When asked about Kane, Oilers general manager Ken Holland told Sportsnet, “I believe in second chances. It’s hard to be perfect. We’re all people. We all make mistakes. Some make big mistakes, some make little mistakes, but it’s hard to be perfect and I think if somebody makes a decision or does something in their life and they make a mistake, I think they have to try to learn from it. And try to change. And should be entitled to a second opportunity once they do some of those things.”
Holland also admitted he’s met with Kane’s agent Dan Milstein.
Connor McDavid was also asked about Kane potentially joining the team. Here’s what he had to say:
"If fans don’t like it, or the media doesn’t like it, or whatever... it is what it is."— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) January 12, 2022
Connor McDavid was asked about Evander Kane potentially joining the #Oilers pic.twitter.com/oBsRHBpfPh
Stay tuned — this saga is far from over.
Los Angeles Kings (18-13-5)
The Kings had a good week, snagging four of a possible six points. Things started out rocky with a 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday.
Los Angeles followed it up with a 4-0 shutout win of the Red Wings. Cal Petersen had a light night, making just 21 saves to claim the shutout. Two nights later, Petersen and the Kings added another two points to the season, winning 3-1 over the Rangers.
Cal Petersen committing on-ice robbery 😱 🥶 @LAKings pic.twitter.com/7HYV1uwvxA— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) January 11, 2022
Martin Frk, Carl Grundstrom and Christian Wolanin are all in COVID Protocol. Lias Andersson is on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.
While Anze Kopitar isn’t injured, the star center hasn’t been putting the puck in the back of the net lately. He’s notched just one goal since Nov. 11, 2021.
Seattle Kraken (10-21-4)
A few days off did nothing to help the Kraken right the ship. Seattle’s games against Ottawa (Jan. 6) and the Winnipeg Jets (Jan. 8) were postponed. The team followed it up with a 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday and a 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
Seattle's top scorer is Jordan Eberle, who has totaled 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) so far. Jared McCann leads the team with 14 goals, including this one against the Stars:
YES, HE MCCANN!!! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/0SUR25DoiY— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) January 13, 2022
Vancouver Canucks (16-15-3)
The Canucks appear to be coming back to Earth since getting that Bruce Boudreau boost. The team’s game against the Senators on Jan. 8 was postponed, but the Canucks followed that with a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Jan. 11.
The real talk of that game wasn’t the score, but what rapper Kodak Black was doing in one of the suites. Google it if you haven’t heard, but be forewarned, it is not kid-friendly.
Vancouver has now lost two of its last four games. The only new injury to note is Alex Chiasson, who was added to COVID Protocol on Jan. 6.
Oh yeah, and Vancouver came out with these pretty cool Lunar New Year jerseys:
"The tiger leaping out of the water is a symbol of power, leadership and change. By transforming the Canucks' orca into the tiger, it's to imagine that we can become anything we want to be, including a better ally as we celebrate the Chinese community."— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 12, 2022
-Artist Trevor Lai https://t.co/XUFkZZ1GD4 pic.twitter.com/Uk7b6txuVb
Vegas Golden Knights (23-14-2)
Vegas continue to sit atop the Pacific Division and that means our old friend Pete DeBoer will be behind the bench for the Pacific team at next month’s All-Star game.
The Golden Knights had a strange week. Vegas beat the Rangers 5-1 on Thursday, but then lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Saturday. It was another tough one on Tuesday, when the Golden Knights played the Toronto Maple Leafs. While Vegas pushed Toronto to a shootout, the team ultimately lost 4-3.
Shea Theodore, Nicolas Roy and Nolan Patrick were all added to the COVID list on Monday. The good news for Vegas is that Friday’s game against Edmonton and Saturday’s game against Calgary are postponed.
That also gives Jack Eichel more time to get into game shape. Gulp.
THERE HE IS 🔥 pic.twitter.com/EvInlcLfpu— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 11, 2022