The Pacific Division Is Really Good

Photo credit:Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Yaremchuk
8 months ago
Every team wants to be playing their best hockey when the playoffs roll around and right now, three teams in the Pacific Division alone can confidently say they’re playing at a very high level.
In fact, since the NHL trade deadline, the top four teams in the league reside in the Pacific Division.
Since March 3RecordPoints Percentage
Los Angeles Kings6-0-2.875
Vegas Golden Knights9-2-0.818
Edmonton Oilers8-2-0.800
Vancouver Canucks8-2-0.800
Minnesota Wild6-1-3.750
New York Islanders6-2-0.750
New York Rangers7-2-1.750
As an aside, how hilarious is it that the Canucks can’t even tank properly? That team should not have hired Rick Tocchet for the sake of trying to turn around their season. They had to do the mercy firing for Bruce, although they butchered that, but they should have just brought up Jeremy Colliton from Abbotsford and fully embraced the tank. Oh well, hope they enjoy the 10th overall pick.
Back to the main point, the Oilers have done their job over the last three weeks and started playing some really good hockey against good teams and finding ways to win even when they don’t have their best stuff. It’s been a solid run, it’s just a shame that the two teams they’re directly competing against for the top spot in the division have also gone on a great run.
This run has shown me that the Los Angeles Kings are a legitimate threat. Joonas Korpisalo has a sub 2.00 GAA since joining them, Vladislav Gavrikov has given them another good layer of depth on the blue line, and their forward group is full of players who love playing hard-nosed, shutdown hockey. We saw it last year in the playoffs.
I think the Oilers are better than they were a year ago when they beat the Kings, but there’s no denying that the Kings are also much better, and healthier than they were a year ago.
The Vegas Golden Knights are clearly the third-best team in the division for me. I think they’re scoring depth is clearly worse than both the Oilers and Kings. Their blueline is better than the Oilers, although it’s also not that deep and it’s not better than the Kings. Their goaltending situation is definitely the worst of the three right now with Logan Thompson’s status unknown.
Health will be a big thing for them down the stretch. All three of Thompson, Reilly Smith, and Alec Martinez flew back to Vegas after the game against Calgary. Those are three very important players.
They’ve also been without Mark Stone for a while and there’s no word on his status ahead of the playoffs. Without him, I don’t give that group much of a chance to outscore a team like the Oilers during a seven-game series.
I’d love to see the Oilers go nuclear over the next seven days and beat Vegas twice. Not only would it improve their chances of winning the division, but it would help the Kings potentially catch the Golden Knights as well. As long as Vegas falls hard down the stretch, the Oilers are in a spot where they could avoid the Kings in round one, which would be ideal.

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