Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Around The Pacific: California teams enter bye week, Vegas remains on top

The Golden Knights are starting to run away with the division while the California teams and the Flames duke it out for the sports behind them. I think it’s safe to say the Oilers have joined the Canucks in purgatory.

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1st: Vegas Golden Knights

29-10-2 (60 points) / +30 goal differential 

The Golden Knights had their eight-game winning streak snapped this week by the St. Louis Blues, but they got right back up and beat the Blackhawks 5-4 and the Rangers 2-1. They’re now seven points clear of the Los Angeles Kings for first in the Pacific Division and are only three points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Presidents’ Trophy race.

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2nd: Los Angeles Kings

24-13-5 (53 points) / +27 goal differential 

The Kings got the new year started off nicely with a 5-0 thumping of the Oilers, but then went on to drop back-to-back 4-3 games to the Flames and Predators. In other ugly news, Kings defender Jake Muzzin left the game against Nashville and didn’t return. L.A. is set to go on their bye week and won’t play until Jan. 13 against Anaheim, but Muzzin’s status isn’t clear yet.

3rd: San Jose Sharks

21-13-6 (48 points) / +4 goal differential 

The Sharks also got their new year off to a good start with a win over the Canadiens, but since then they’ve dropped two games in overtime and the shootout to Toronto and Ottawa and they lost 4-1 to the Jets. Like L.A., the Sharks will head into their bye week and won’t play until Jan. 13 against Arizona, then it’s back on the road, as the Sharks will play nine of their next 12 away from home.

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It looks like Free Agent Frenzy will be on November 1st

4th: Anaheim Ducks

19-15-9 (47 points) / -3 goal differential 

The Ducks opened the new year with a swing through Western Canada that went fairly well. They beat Vancouver, lost to the Oilers in a shootout, then lost in regulation to the Flames. They’ve looked like a different team with Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf back in the lineup, but Kesler left the game against Calgary with an injury. Thankfully for the Ducks, he’ll have a week to rest as the team enters their bye week.

5th: Calgary Flames

21-16-4 (46 points) / -4 goal differential 

The Flames have only played twice since the new year, but they’re undefeated. They hosted L.A. and Anaheim and won 4-3 and 3-2 in regulation, which is key for them to climb up the division’s standings. But in other more unexpected news, the team and Jaromir Jagr are reportedly splitting up. It isn’t known yet how it’ll go down, but Jagr’s time in Calgary is nearly done.

6th: Edmonton Oilers

18-22-6 (39 points) / -23 goal differential

Last week I said that the Oilers were still in a playoff race. Boy, did they make me look like an idiot. Edmonton got spanked by L.A. 5-0, edged Anaheim in a shootout, then lost 5-1 and 4-1 to Dallas and Chicago. All told, since they went on that little streak before Christmas, the Oilers have earned three points in their last seven games.

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7th: Vancouver Canucks

16-20-6 (38 points) / -30 goal differential 

The only reason the Oilers aren’t lower in the standings is that Vancouver is refusing to let them get by. The Canucks lost all three games they played last week. They got hammered 5-0 by Anaheim, they lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Leafs, and then they managed to lose 5-2 to the Canadiens, who can’t score.

Edmonton has not been ruled out as potential NHL hub city

8th: Arizona Coyotes

10-27-6 (26 points) / -52 goal differential

The Coyotes are still bad, but they managed an overtime win against the Predators last week. All told, they’ve actually been playing decently since Christmas, as they’ve earned five points in five games. Lol they’re so bad.