The Vancouver Canucks had a decent week that was overshadowed by disappointment.
The fight for the Pacific Division playoff seeds will be a tough one. The Vancouver Canucks are tied with the Phoenix Coyotes, three points behind the San Jose Sharks and two points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks. They might have the best playoff chances of all Canadian teams, but that doesn’t automatically mean they will reach that goal.
Here are our Week 17 Pacific Division power rankings.
7. Edmonton Oilers (last week: 7)
Last Week’s Record: 1-3-0
Overall Record: 19-26-5
The Oilers are one of the first teams to reach the All-Star break, as they will not return to game action until February 2nd. They had probably hoped to be in a better position at this time. Edmonton beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 but went on to lose three straight games after that. Rookie Connor McDavid should return after the All-Star Game, but the Oilers also have to survive without defencemen Oscar Klefbom (hand), Andrew Ference (hip) and Brandon Davidson (undisclosed), as well as forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand). Perhaps they will come back stronger after their nine-day break.
6. Calgary Flames (last week: 6)
Last Week’s Record: 1-2-0
Overall Record: 21-22-3
A 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets was not enough to reach a playoff position in the Pacific Division. The Flames are now six points away from the Canucks and Coyotes, who are tied for third in the division, continuing their fight for that final divisional playoff berth. Unlike Edmonton, Calgary has two games left to play before the All-Star Game — against the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators, two strong teams from the NHL’s toughest division.
5. Vancouver Canucks (last week: 3)
Last Week’s Record: 1-1-1
Overall Record: 20-18-11
It was an okay week for the Canucks but it could have been a great one, as Vancouver wrapped up their Eastern Conference road trip against some of the East’s top teams. First, there was a tough overtime loss against the New York Rangers, then a great win in Boston, followed by a devastating loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where the Canucks gave up a 3-1 lead. A three-point week that could have brought six points to the Pacific coast. On the bright side, Bo Horvat is over his slump — he had a point in each game and now has seven goals and 12 points over his last 10 contests.
4. Arizona Coyotes (last week: 4)
Last Week’s Record: 1-2-0
Overall Record: 23-19-5
Speaking of slumps, Coyotes star forward Mikkel Boedker has now gone 12 games without a goal. Arizona lost an important game against the Sharks, but they were able to get a win against the Kings. Two points out of three games are not enough to secure a playoff birth, and the Yotes are now tied at 51 points with the Canucks. The following two games, vs. the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild, will be especially important if the Coyotes want to stay in the race for a wild card spot as well.
3. Anaheim Ducks (last week: 5)
Last Week’s Record: 2-0-0
Overall Record: 21-18-7
The Ducks refuse to stay at the bottom of the standings. Last week, they beat two tough teams, the Minnesota Wild and the Detroit Red Wings. The Carl Hagelin for David Perron trade is working out well for Anaheim, as Perron has three points in three games for the Ducks. Anaheim has one game in hand over the Coyotes and need exactly two points to tie both Vancouver and Arizona. The final weeks of the season will be exciting ones for those teams.
2. San Jose Sharks (last week: 2)
Last Week’s Record: 2-0-2
Overall Record: 25-18-4
It feels like the Sharks have their playoff berth secured already. However, they are only five points ahead of the Ducks. Still, the Sharks have gone nine games without a regulation loss and got six points out of their four contests last week. The upcoming weeks will be tough, but San Jose looks like a team that can reach the playoffs once again.
1. Los Angeles Kings (last week: 1)
Last Week’s Record: 2-2-0
Overall Record: 30-15-3
To be honest, the Kings will likely stay atop the Pacific Division power rankings for the rest of the season. They are a top-10 team in the NHL and the only team that can consistently compete against the very best. A nine-point lead over San Jose looks quite comfortable and there is no doubt that LA can hold on to it. And the best part: Anze Kopitar will definitely be a King for eight more years. A Stanley Cup win is possible — unless I just jinxed it…
What do you think about the Pacific Division? Can anyone kick the Kings off their throne? Let us know in the comment section and via Twitter @FSTheCanuckWay!