Pacific Division Roundup: The Golden Knights and Kings are heating up
1 month ago
What a brutal week for the Edmonton Oilers.
While picking up three of a possible six points sounds alright, the team is in the midst of a four-game losing streak. Let’s look at their week and the problems which have been plaguing the team.
The Edmonton Oilers’ week:
The first shootout loss came against the Detroit Red Wings, losing 5-4. Unlike the other two games (which we’ll get into), the Oilers were actually down 4-2 heading into the third period. So getting a point out of this game wasn’t that bad.
The same can’t be said for the other two games. In their 5-4 loss in a shootout against the New York Rangers, the Oilers held a 4-1 lead after one period, and a 4-2 lead after two, before collapsing in the third.
Much was the same against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon. Up 5-3 with a little over half of the third period left, the Oilers allowed two late goals, before a goal in the final minute of overtime gave them a 5-3 loss.
Edmonton has scored 15 goals over their past four games, for 3.75 goals a game. Ironically, that is their current goal-per-game pace, which leads the NHL. They should be winning games, right? Well, they’ve also allowed 20 goals in that four-game stretch (along with the two fake shootout goals.)
Goaltending gave them a boost in January, but it has struggled significantly since the all-star break. Coincidentally, the Oilers are 2-1-4 since the all-star break. Not great.
This upcoming week, they’ll play the Philadelphia Flyers at home on Tuesday, Pittsburgh Penguins away on Thursday, and the Columbus Blue Jackets away on Saturday afternoon. They have to win two games here.
The Vegas Golden Knights’ week:
Three weeks ago, Sin City was struggling to stay afloat as they had lost seven of their last eight games. It is clear that they needed the all-star break, as they have yet to lose a game.
This past week, Vegas beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1, and the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4. This is their second straight “sweep” of the week, wherein they win every game on their schedule.
Vegas only sits one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, but with the improvement of their play, it looks like they could run away with it if they keep streaking.
Next week, they play the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, the Calgary Flames on Thursday, and the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
The Los Angeles Kings’ week:
It sucks for the Oilers that both the Kings and the Knights decided to play perfectly since the all-star break ended, while the Oilers have played terribly.
Like last week, the Kings only had two games this past week against two awful teams, beating the Anaheim Ducks 6-3, and beating the Arizona Coyotes 6-5 in a shootout. Goaltending remains an issue for the team (Jonathan Quick was pulled from the game against the Ducks), but they are outsourcing their problems.
The Kings will play the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, The New York Islanders on Friday, and the Rangers on Sunday, all on the road.
The Seattle Kraken’s week:
As this is being written, the Kraken are actually playing a game, but we’ll focus on their past week.
In last week’s edition of the Pacific Divison Roundup, the Kings had a 1-3 week, and were losers of four of their last six games. This past week, they picked up five of six points, beating the streaking Red Wings, the Flyers, but losing in a shootout to the Winnipeg Jets.
Like we always do, we’ll look at how each of the three former Oiler players did the past week.
Jordan Eberle: 3 games played, 2 goals, 3 assists, +1 (now leads the team in points)
Justin Schultz: 3 games played, 1 goal, 1 assist, +1
Adam Larsson: 3 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists, -3
This upcoming week, they have the ongoing game against the San Jose Shark, a game at home against the Boston Bruins on Thursday, and a home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.
The Calgary Flames week:
The fellow Albertan team didn’t have a great week either, picking up three of a possible six points.
Calgary lost 4-3 in overtime against the Ottawa Senators, were embarrassed in a 5-2 loss to the Red Wings, before beating the Rangers 3-2 in overtime.
As it stands, the Flames are on the outside looking in. They have 63 points, but are trailing the Minnesota Wild, who have 65 points. Even with a win on Monday (they’re currently playing the Flyers as I write this), they’ll still be out of a playoff spot as they have played one more game than the Wild.
Along with the Philadelphia game, they’ll play the Coyotes on Wednesday, the Golden Knights on Thursday, and the Avalanche on Saturday.
The Vancouver Canucks’ week:
Another week, another disasterclass from the Canucks. The tank for their hometown boy, Connor Bedard, is well on. They lost to the Red Wings 6-1 on home ice, the 6-4 to the Rangers, before beating the Flyers 6-2.
They now sit in 28th position in the league, seven points out of last place. In fact, both the Sharks and Ducks are in the group of the bottom five, meaning there’s a good chance Bedard will head to a Pacific Division team come June.
The bad teams of the Pacific:
San Jose Sharks: Coming into this past week, the Sharks were 2-1 in their last three games. They finished the week 0-3, losing to the Penguins, Knights, and Buffalo Sabres. They still allowed fewer goals than the Oilers, though.
Anaheim Ducks: The Oilers allowing 20 goals in a four-game stretch is pretty bad, but the Ducks have one-upped them. In their last five games, the Ducks have allowed an INSANE 30 goals. That’s an average of six goals a game, yikes.
Let’s look at how the former Oilers (and one future Oiler) did this past week.
Ryan Strome: 2 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, 0
Dmitry Kulikov: 2 games played, 0 goals, 2 assists, 0
Matt Benning: 3 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists, -1
Erik Karlsson 3 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, -2
As it stands:
Here are the Pacific Division Standings as of Monday, February 20th…
The Oilers still have a chance to finish with home ice in round one, but they have to play better. The good news is that while they’re allowing a ton of goals (something that has to be remedied at the trade deadline), they’re scoring a bunch as well. They just need to stop blowing third-period leads, which has been a problem all season, as well as close out games in overtime.
Edmonton has a pretty easy upcoming week, playing two teams who are out of the playoff picture. However, their schedule will toughen up after that, playing six playoff teams in a span of seven games. Win.
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