Pacific Division Roundup: January 9 to January 15

Brennan Delaney
10 months ago
It’s safe to say that the Oilers had a pretty good week, picking up six out of a possible eight points.
By winning three of the four games this past week, the Oilers now have a six-point cushion for the final wildcard spot. What’s more, is that while the Colorado Avalanche have four games in hand, they’d have to win all four to overtake the Oilers
Let’s dig into the week that was January 9 to January 15…

The Edmonton Oilers’ week:

While the overall week was great for the Oilers, it didn’t start great. They lost 6-3 to the Kings, with Connor McDavid, Ryan McLeod, and Kailer Yamamoto scoring the Oilers’ three goals. Evan Bouchard added two helpers, however,t was ultimately the special teams play that sunk them.
In their second game of the week, they beat Anaheim Ducks 6-2. Klim Kostin scored twice, while McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added a goal and an assist. Leon Drasaitl and Dylan Holloway had the other two goals. Former seventh-round pick Vincent Desharnais made his NHL debut, playing 15:04, and looked quite good.
They smashed the San Jose Sharks 7-1 in their third game of the week.  McDavid scored twice, and both Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins added a goal and two assists, Kostin, McLeod, and Jesse Puljujärvi added the two other goals, while Desharnais registered his first NHL point!
Smashing the Bedard teams was to be expected, but they needed to pull out a win against a team ahead of them in the standings. They did that on Jan. 14 against the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Edmonton was playing the second game of a back-to-back, but managed to win 4-3. Draisaitl scored two, Kostin scored in his third straight game, and Mattias Janmark added a goal and an assist.
One positive from this week is Campbell’s play, as he had a .913 save percentage and a 3-1 record (over his last six, he has a .915 save percentage). Another huge positive is the play of the Janmark-RNH-Kostin line. It’s a fantastic third line, and all three players have reaped the rewards this past week.
Next up, the Oilers have the surging Seattle Kraken on Jan. 17 at home, the Tampa Bay Lighting at home on Jan. 19, and the Vancouver Canucks away on Jan .21.

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The Vegas Golden Knights’ week:

The division leaders only had two games this past week. They won their first game 4-2 against the Florida Panthers, with William Carrier, Jack Eichel, William Karlsson, and Nicolas Roy all potting a goal. Keegan Kolesar added two assists, while goaltender Adin Hill saved 37 of 39 shots for a .949 save percentage.
The last game of the week was against the aforementioned Edmonton Oilers. Karlsson, Kolesar, and Paul Cotter scored the Golden Kight’s goals, while goaltender Logan Thompson saved 33 of 37 shots for a .892 save percentage.
Next week, the Golden Knights play four games, the Dallas Stars at home on January 16, the Detroit Red Wings at home on January 19, the Washington Capitals at home on January 22, and play the Arizona Coyotes away on January 22.

The Seattle Kraken’s week:

The Kraken have not lost a game in 2023. They beat the Montreal Canadians 4-0 in their first game, with Matty Beniers,  Vince Dunn, and Eeli Tolvanen all getting a goal and an assist. Daniel Sprong had the other goal, while former Oiler Jordan Eberle added a helper.
They then beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3, with Beniers and Eberle getting a goal and an assist, as well as former Oiler Justin Schultz. Yanni Gourde scored the other goal, while another former Oiler, Adam Larsson, was held off the score sheet.
The Kraken then gave the Bruins their first home regulation loss since Apr. 14, 2022, as they won 3-0. Jaden Schwartz, Tolvanen, and Brandon Tanev scored their three goals, while goaltender Martin Jones earned his second shutout of the week.
In their last game of the week, Seattle won 8-5 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Jared McCann registered a hat trick, while all players except for three didn’t register a point. Jones allowed five goals on just 27 shots.
The Kraken have another four-game week coming up, playing Tampa at home on January 16, the Oilers away on January 17, the New Jersey Devils on January 19, and the avalanche on January 21.

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The Los Angeles Kings’ week:

The Kings picked up four of the available six points, beating the Oilers in their first game of the week. Kevin Fiala continued to score, picking up two goals and two assists, while Adrian Kempe also potted two goals and an assist.
They beat the San Jose Sharks in their second game of the week, with Quinton Byfield, Drew Doughty, Kempe, and Gabriel Vilardi all scoring a goal each. Goaltender Pheonix Copley saved 27 of 30 shots.
Los Angeles lost 5-2 to the Devils in their final game of the week. Fiala and Anže Kopitar scored the two goals, while goaltender Jonathan Quick struggled, allowing four goals on 27 shots.
Next week, they’ll play the Stars at home on January 19, the Nashville Predators away on January 21, and the Blackhawks away on January 22.

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The Calgary Flames week:

The Flames are tied with the Oilers on points but have a game in hand. They picked up five points out of the six available. They lost their first game of the week in overtime to the St. Louis Blues, with Milan Lucic scoring a goal.
Two days later, they played the Blues again, this time winning 4-1. Dillion Dube scored twice, while Blake Coleman added a goal and Walker Duehr scored his first NHL goal. Goaltender Daniel Vladar saved 25 of 26 shots in the win.
They played the Stars in their final game of the week, beating them 6-5. Rasmus Andersson, Nazem Kadri, and Chris Tanez all added a goal and an assist. Furthermore, Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, and Trevor Lewis added the other three goals.
Next week, they play the Predators away on January 16, the Avalanche at home on January 18, and the Lightning at home on January 21.

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The Vancouver Canucks week:

Spoiler alert: they picked up two points of a possible eight, and are now 12 points out of a playoff spot. The reason why they have their own section is just due to the drama surrounding the team.
A while back, J.T. Miller caught some flak for screaming at his goalie to go to the bench to give them an extra attacker. Now, they are deciding to keep coach Bruce Boudreau in limbo despite having internal options ready to replace him and have continued to string him along.
The team has also opened an investigation regarding how they handled Tanner Pearson’s season-ending injury after Quinn Hughes spilled the tea in a post-game interview.
Not a lot is going right for the Canucks, but former Oiler Ethan Bear scored his third goal of the season on Sunday, so there’s that!

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The bad teams of the Pacific Division:

It’s not unfair to assume the Canucks will be here soon, but let’s focus on the Ducks and the Sharks. More specifically, the former Edmonton Oilers.
On the Sharks, Matt Benning picked up an assist, bringing his season point total to 19. That’s just two shy of matching a career high he set back in the 2017-18 season. It’s also worth mentioning that Erik Karlsson (who the Oilers should find a way to trade for), picked up two assists in the three games he played.
Looking at the Anaheim Ducks, both Ryan Strome and Dmitri Kulikov failed to register a point in the two games they played. Strome was a -6 in those two games, while Kulikov was a -4. Yikes.

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As it stands:

Below are the standings of the wild card race (as well as the top three teams in the Pacific Division) as of Monday, January 16…
The big week from the Oilers put them in a position where they can breathe a little bit easier. While Colorado still has quite a few games in hand and could overtake them with four wins, that seems a little bit unlikely as they’re fairly banged up at the moment.
That doesn’t mean next week won’t be a big one for the Oilers. The primary goal should be finding a way to finish in a top-three spot in the Pacific Division, which is easier said than done. It’s a pretty tough week, as the Lightning are the Lightning, and the Kraken are on an eight-game winning streak. It would be nice if they could win a game against one of these teams (or both), before smashing the Canucks on Saturday!

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