Pacific Division Weekly: All is not well in Edmonton

NHL releases COVID makeup games schedule

Get ready for a busy few months in the Pacific Division. The NHL has rescheduled the games missed due to COVID-19 and a lot of those games deal with Pacific Division teams. The NHL is utilizing the window between Feb. 6 and Feb. 21, a time that was previously set aside for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Anaheim Ducks had five games to reschedule and will play all of those games between Feb. 11 and Feb. 22. There is one back-to-back in the mix, a road trip that hits Calgary on Feb. 16 and Edmonton on Feb. 17.

The Calgary Flames had 10 games to make up, with seven of those happening between Feb. 9 and Feb. 21. That run includes five games in eight days, starting off with a back-to-back against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The good news for the Flames is that all of the games in the February make-up calendar will be at the Saddledome. Calgary also has a back-to-back with the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators scheduled for April 18 & 19.

The Edmonton Oilers had nine games rescheduled. The NHL has slotted most of those games between Feb. 8 and Feb. 20. The Oilers will play eight games over 13 days. That includes three back-to-backs and many of the games are against Pacific Division foes.

The Los Angeles Kings only had three games to make up. The team is scheduled to host Edmonton on Feb. 15, playing in Vegas on Feb. 18 and in Arizona on Feb. 19.

The San Jose Sharks had four games to play. Three of them will be at home, with one away game in Anaheim on Feb. 22. There are no back-to-backs currently on the schedule.

The Seattle Kraken will make up nine games and seven of those games will be played between Feb. 9 and Feb. 22. The schedule makers were kind to the Kraken, who will only play one back-to-back in the series. Seattle will visit Vancouver on Feb. 21 and then take the short trip home to host the New York Islanders on Feb. 22.

There are seven games on the make-up list for the Vancouver Canucks. Things start out with the Canucks hosting the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 8 and the Islanders on Feb. 9. The load lightens from there, with four games played between Feb. 12 and Feb. 21.

The Vegas Golden Knights had five games to reschedule. The team will roll through Edmonton and Calgary on Feb. 8 and 9 and then spread out the remaining three games over the remainder of the Olympic window.

You can find the complete list of rescheduled games here.

Anaheim Ducks (19-16-7)

John Gibson is back after ten days on COVID Protocol, but the Ducks can’t seem to snap the losing streak. The team has lost four in a row.

The most recent loss came at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche, who beat the Ducks 2-0 last night. Even the return on Gibson in net and this fight by Nicolas Deslauriers couldn’t fire the team up:

Anaheim lost to the Minnesota Wild 7-3 on Friday. Anthony Stolarz took the loss, making just 23 of 29 stops. Max Comtois tallied a goal and an assist. The Ducks lost to the Blackhawks 3-0 on Saturday. Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves for his third shutout of the season.

Josh Manson, Cam Fowler, Anthony Stolarz, Troy Terry and Simon Benoit are all on COVID Protocol for the Ducks. Sonny Milano is injured.

Calgary Flames (18-11-6)

The Flames snapped a four-game skid with a dominant 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Johnny Gaudreau registered four assists and Sean Monahan scored two goals in the win. Jacob Markstrom stopped 28 shots to hold one of the hottest teams in the league to a single goal.

It was a win the Flames needed after losing to the Ottawa Senators 4-1 last Thursday. Last Saturday’s game against Vegas was postponed. It will now be played on Feb. 9.

The only injury of note for the Flames is Tyler Pitlick.

Edmonton Oilers (18-15-2)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. At the time of this writing, the Oilers are seventh in the Pacific Division and the players are feeling the pressure.

With several games postponed this week, the only game tape Edmonton has to look at is Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators. For guys like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the loss does not paint a pretty picture.

McDavid’s dead stare after the game said it all.

The Oilers have lost six games in a row. The team’s last win was on Dec. 18. Goaltender Stuart Skinner is on COVID Protocol, along with Kyle Turris. Mike Smith is still injured with a torn thumb.

Los Angeles Kings (20-15-5)

What started out as a good week turned into something else very quickly for the Kings. LA beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-2 last Thursday and topped the Seattle Kraken 3-1 on Saturday. Sunday morning, it looked like the Kings were rolling and ready to challenge the Ducks for the second spot in the Pacific.

But then LA was dominated by Timo Meier during Monday’s 6-2 loss to the Sharks. It got worse from there. The next day, Victor Hedman scored two goals and added an assist in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 6-4 win over the Kings.

For those of you keeping score, Jonathan Quick allowed 6 goals on 17 shots in the game against San Jose and Cal Petersen allowed 5 goals on 19 shots in the game against the Lightning.

Adrian Kempe is on COVID Protocol.

Seattle Kraken (11-23-4)

The Kraken snapped a nine-game losing streak on Monday, winning its first game since Dec. 14. Seattle beat the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout. Former Sharks forwards Ryan Donato and Joonas Donskoi both scored shootout goals. Donato also scored the game-tying goal during regulation.

Donato was one of the stars of the game, which meant he had the privilege of tossing a salmon into the crowd:

The Kraken lost to the Kings 3-1 on Saturday and the St. Louis Blues 2-1 last Thursday.

Jared McCann leads the team with 15 goals. Antoine Bibeau and goaltender Chris Driedger are both on COVID Protocol. Morgan Geekie is on IR with an upper-body injury.

Vancouver Canucks (18-18-3)

The Canucks finished off a five-game road trip through the south on a high note. Vancouver lost to the Lightning 4-2 last Thursday and the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Saturday, but followed it up with a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday and a 3-1 win over the Predators on Tuesday. Elias Pettersson scored two goals against the Capitals and added another against the Predators.

The Canucks have some injuries to contend with. Bo Horvat entered COVID Protocol on Monday. He joins Conor Garland, Jaroslav Halak and Ashton Sautner.

Vegas Golden Knights (23-15-2)

The Golden Knights only played one game this week and it was a brutal loss to the Penguins. Vegas came out strong, scoring three goals in the first period of Monday’s game. The team looked like it had the game in hand, but then the Pens turned it on. Pittsburgh reeled off five unanswered goals, including two from Jason Zucker to hand the Golden Knights a 5-3 loss. Robin Lehner was in the net for Vegas.

Logan Thompson was added to COVID Protocol on Monday.

The big news for the Golden Knights is that Jack Eichel’s return may be later than first thought. Eichel is skating and he’s expected to start traveling with the team, but head coach Pete DeBoer says the star center is at least a month or two away from game shape.