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Around The Pacific: San Jose rising

This is a weekly feature in which I’ll look at the performances and narratives of the teams in the Pacific Division. 

Things have stayed largely the same in the Pacific Division, with the Kings sitting comfortably at the top, the Coyotes buried deep in the basement, and a jumble in the middle featuring the underachieving Oilers and overachieving Golden Knights. But the team to watch has been the Sharks, who have been dominant at keeping the puck out of the net this season.

1st: Los Angeles Kings

11-4-2 (24 points) / +14 goal differential / 50.1 CF% (14th) / 101.7 PDO (9th) 

For the first time all season, the Los Angeles Kings have dropped back-to-back games. They went 1-2-0 last week, earning an overtime win over the Ducks, but then got drilled by the Lightning and edged out by the Sharks. They still have a healthy lead at the top of the Pacific Division and are playing well, but San Jose is catching up quickly.

The worrying thing for the Kings has been their goal numbers not reflecting their shot numbers. In the past, they’ve massively underperformed their shot totals, but so far this season, it’s been reversed.

2nd: Vegas Golden Knights

10-5-1 (21 points) / +11 goal differential / 48.1 CF% (24th) / 101.8 PDO (6th)

I don’t really know how it’s happening, but the Vegas Golden Knights are still hanging around. I expected them to implode after their hot start, but they’re 10-5-1 a month-and-a-half into the season. They went 1-1-1 last week with losses to Montreal and Toronto at the end of a tough road trip and a commanding 5-2 win over the surging Jets.

It’s been a fun start for the new franchise in Vegas. Eventually, they’re going to crash. Right? Right?!??!

3rd: San Jose Sharks

 10-6-0 (20 points) / +8 goal differential / 52.5 CF% (6th) / 97.7 PDO (27th) 

The San Jose Sharks have quietly been one of the NHL’s best teams recently. Last week, they went 2-1-0 with wins over Vancouver and L.A. after getting beaten uncharacteristically badly by Tampa Bay.

They’ve been the league’s best team at keeping the puck out of the net, though it would be nice to see them score goals like they have in the past.

4th: Calgary Flames

9-7-0 (18 points) / -2 goal differential / 52.1 CF% (8th) / 100.6 PDO (15th) 

The Calgary Flames went 2-1-0 last week and enjoyed somewhat of an offensive outbreak from their mediocre start to the season. They beat New Jersey 5-4 in a shootout, lost a game to Vancouver they likely should have won, and downed Detroit 6-3.

The key for Calgary is getting some kind of depth scoring, as Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have driven virtually all of the team’s offence thus far. Old man Jaromir Jagr and young man Mark Jankowski each scored their first of the season against the Red Wings, so hopefully that can be a sign of things to come.

5th: Vancouver Canucks

8-7-2 (18 points) / -3 goal differential / 49.6 CF% (17th) / 102.3 PDO (4th) 

The Vancouver Canucks are still hanging around. Last week, they kicked off a road trip with a win in Calgary, but then proceeded to get hosed 4-1 and 5-0 in Anaheim and San Jose. The thing with the Canucks that suggests they’re going to cool is their inability to score. Derek Dorsett still leads the team in scoring with seven goals and a lot of the team’s success has been riding on strong goaltending.

6th: Anaheim Ducks

7-7-3 (17 points) / -2 goal differential / 48.7 CF% (21st) / 100.3 PDO (17th)

I feel like I say this every week, but it’s wild that the Anaheim Ducks are doing as well as they are. They’re 7-7-3 despite having a handful of key players, including Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf, on the injured reserve. Last week, they went 1-1-1 with a win over Vancouver, a loss to Tampa Bay, and an overtime loss to Los Angeles.

The key for the Ducks really is just staying within striking distance until they get healthy.

7th: Edmonton Oilers

6-9-2 (14 points) / -14 goal differential / 54.5 CF% (2nd) / 98.0 PDO (26th)

The struggling Oilers embarked on a four-game Eastern road trip last week that terrifyingly had the potential to completely sink their season. But the Oilers rolled into Brooklyn and Newark and picked up overtime wins over the Islanders and Devils before getting dropped by the Rangers and Capitals. They picked up five of a possible eight points, which isn’t terrible.

They’re still massively underachieving their peripherals and are better than their record suggests, but the Oilers badly need a hot streak to push them up the standings.

8th: Arizona Coyotes

2-14-3 (7 points) / -30 goal differential / 47.9 CF% (26th) / 97.6 PDO (28th) 

After a week in which they won two games, the Arizona Coyotes got back to doing their thing last week. The Coyotes lost all four games they played, but managed to pick up two points thanks to the loser point, bumping them up from five to seven.

At this pace, they’ll put up 30 points in 82 games.

  • HOCKEY83

    “They’re still massively underachieving their peripherals and are better than their record suggests”

    Hardly “massively underachieving” they may be down by about 3 wins but massively underachieving…quite the over statement. Just because they have McDavid doesn’t mean they should be way out performing the other 10 good teams fighting over 8 playoff spots. They should be in the mix and that’s it…and they will be in the mix.

    • Adamemnon

      You should probably look up the word “peripheral.” Just because you don’t understand the word, doesn’t mean it isn’t crucial to the meaning of the sentence… Here’s a hint: 54.5 CF% (2nd) / 98.0 PDO (26th)