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Playoff Picture: The Oilers continue to push the Canucks for the Pacific Division

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Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
10 days ago
The playoff race in the Pacific Division has changed drastically over the last week. Over the weekend, the Vancouver Canucks became the first team in the Western Conference to hit the 100-point mark and still sit in first in the division with eight games left. However, the race for the top of the division is still ongoing.
The Edmonton Oilers handled the Anaheim Ducks comfortably on Saturday, beating them 6-1, to narrow the gap on Vancouver to six. The Oilers have ten games left, with two games in hand over the Canucks plus a game against the two Western Canadian rivals still on the calendar. However, Connor McDavid and the rest of his teammates have business to take care of before facing the Canucks. Coming up this week, the Oilers start a four-game road trip with the first three games against Central Division opponents: the St Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche. It’s a tough week for the Oilers before heading into the Saddledome Arena to play the Calgary Flames.
That Oilers-Blues matchup is tonight, and it’s a massive game for St Louis as they track down the Los Angeles Kings. The gap between the Blues and Kings has narrowed to five, but LA has a game in hand. Unfortunately, those two teams won’t play against each other before the end of the regular season. Additionally, LA has the 32nd most difficult strength of schedule, according to Tankathon.com, with the San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, Seattle Kraken, Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks twice left on the schedule.
Staying in the Pacific Division, the Vegas Golden Knights have forced their way into third. Things could have been looking better for the Golden Knights, who were clinging onto the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference last week. Now, with wins over St Louis, the Columbus Blue Jackets, Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, and an overtime point versus the Nashville Predators, Vegas has won seven of its last ten and has a three-point cushion over the Los Angeles Kings.
It’s a quiet week ahead for the current Stanley Cup Champions, but one game has enormous implications for the Oilers. Tomorrow night, Vegas host the Vancouver Canucks at T-Mobile Arena. Tuesday is the third meeting between the two teams with each having a victory under their belt. Vancouver won their last matchup 4-1, and Vegas won the first matchup 3-1. If Vegas wins, they get close to Edmonton in second; however, that also means the gap between Edmonton and Vancouver is close to four.
Even with ten or few games to play, the Pacific Division playoff race still needs to be clarified. Vancouver has held on to first for most of the way, but the playoff-experienced Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights are red hot on their tails, with games still to play against one another. Hold on to your hats people because things are going to get crazy this April.

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