Pacific Division Roundup: Six points separates five teams as the All-Star break approaches

Ryley Delaney
1 year ago
Another week, another Pacific Division Roundup.
We’re approaching the all-star game, which means games are few and far between, as the Oilers only played two this past week, and don’t play again until February 7th.
Let’s look at the week that was Jan. 23 – Jan. 29…

The Edmonton Oilers’ week:

I just had to go and jinx it, didn’t I? If you read last week’s edition of the Pacific Division Roundup, I noted that the Oilers hadn’t had a seven-game winning streak since the 2006 playoffs, and hadn’t had one in the regular season since the 2000-2001 season.
They were under nine minutes away from doing so when the American broadcast noted the same fact. Seconds later, the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets tied it, before winning the game in overtime and ending the Oilers’ six-game win streak.
Although they still got a point, and have an eight-game point streak due to a win against the Chicago Blackhawks, it really feels as if they missed an opportunity for an extra point.
The Oilers still maintain the first wildcard spot, with the Flames trailing by three points. The Pacific division itself is an utter dog race, with the Seattle Kraken with 63 points (49 games played), the Vegas Golden Knights (51 games played) and LA Kings (52 games played) with 62 points, and the Oilers (50 games played) with 60 points.
Edmonton is still in a good spot though, despite only being three points up on the Calgary Flames, who sit on the outside looking in. They have games in hand against two teams they’re trailing in the Pacific and a very weak upcoming schedule.

The Seattle Kraken’s week:

The Kraken had a pretty easy week, beating the Vancouver Canucks 6-1 and the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. They lost to the Calgary Flames 5-2 but still finished the week as the Pacific division leaders. Like last week, let’s look at how the three Oilers did, as well as a defenceman who the Oilers could be interested in.
Jordan Eberle: 3 games played, 0 goals, 3 assists, -2
Adam Larsson: 3 games played, 0 goals, 3 assists, +1
Justin Schultz: Undisclosed injury, no games played
Carson Soucy was named by Jeff Marek on the 32 Thoughts podcast as a potential fit for the Oilers. Let’s look to see how he did…
Carson Soucy: 3 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, +3

The Vegas Golden Knights’ week:

The Knights picked up two points out of a possible six but lost all three games they played.
In fact, they’ve lost seven of their last eight, starting with a 4-3 loss to the Oilers on Jan. 14. This week, they lost to the New Jersey Devils (in overtime), New York Rangers, and the New York Islanders (in overtime).
On Jan. 8, they were the division leader by four points, so this sharp decline is quite surprising. Hopefully, it continues, because let’s be honest, no one likes the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Los Angeles Kings week:

Speaking of another team that has been “meh”, the Kings had an alright week. It started with a 4-3 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers, which isn’t too great, before beating the Florida Panthers 4-3. On the second night of a back-to-back, they lost 5-2 to the Lightning.
Unlike every other team mentioned so far, they have one more game on Jan.31 against the Carolina Hurricanes before their all-star break. Hopefully, they lose that.

The Calgary Flames’ week:

The Flames picked up four of a possible six points this past week, beating the Kraken, but losing to the Blackhawks, and beating the Blue Jackets in overtime. They’re currently tied with the Colorado Avalanche with 57 points for the final wildcard position, but have two more games played.
Not much in the way of a hot take in this section, but they need to start playing better if they wish to make the playoffs. Hopefully, there’s a second “Battle of Alberta” playoff series, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely.

The Vancouver Canucks’ week:

The firing of Bruce Boudreau wasn’t accidental, as the new coaching staff would have the opportunity to play the Chicago Blackhawks and the Columbus Blue Jackets in their first three games. As you’d expect, they beat those two teams, while being pounded by the Seattle Kraken.
Due to the way that they treated Boudreau, it’d be funny if they got a coaching bump in points, taking them out of the race for Connor Bedard, but not enough to get anywhere near the playoffs. That is the ideal situation.

The bad teams of the Pacific:

The San Jose Sharks had a surprisingly good week, picking up four of six points, and registering at least one point in all three of their games. They took the Carolina Hurricanes to overtime, while they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4. It was a solid week for them, but they’re still bad.
Anaheim had an even better week, beating the Coyotes twice, as well as the Colorado Avalanche. However, it wasn’t without controversy as Trevor Zegras said something to Troy Stecher which landed him a 10-minute misconduct and the ire of fans alike.
Here’s how the former Oilers (plus Erik Karlsson) did this past week.
Dmitry Kulikov: 3 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, +4
Ryan Strome: 3 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists, +/- of 0
Matt Benning: 3 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, +1
Erik Karlsson:  3 games played, 1 goal, 3 assists, + 4

As it stands:

Here are the pacific Division Standings as of Monday, January 30th…
The Oilers will have five more games against non-playoff teams, so they’re in a good position, despite having three games in hand against the Calgary Flames.
Furthermore, they’ll have three games in hand on the Los Angeles Kings and one on the Vegas Golden Knights, who have gone 2-6-2 in their last 10 games, once they return from the all-star break. It’s not out of the question that they could finish first in the division, all they need to do is keep on winning.

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