Every Wednesday I’ll be taking a look at the Pacific Division and doing a power rankings for the eight teams. As we’re still very early in the season, the rankings will bear a lot of similarity to the actual standings, but that should change over time. Here are my rankings for the opening week of the 2018-19 season.
1. Anaheim Ducks (3-0-0)
The Ducks got masterful performances from John Gibson in all three games as they jumped out to a 3-0-0 start to the year. Perhaps a start they may not have fully deserved but were bailed out by some clutch goaltending and timely scoring. Nevertheless you can’t overlook three victories in three games and they get the top spot early in our power rankings. Jakob Silfverberg led the way for the Ducks with five points in three games.
2. San Jose Sharks (2-2-0)
A 8-2 thrashing of the Philadelphia Flyers provided some relief to anyone who may have been worried about the Sharks early this season. While they didn’t perform well in a 4-0 loss to the Islanders the night before, they had a 3-2 win over LA in OT, and dominated the Ducks but couldn’t get the puck past John Gibson on opening night. San Jose will only get better as Erik Karlsson settles into his new team.
3. Calgary Flames (2-1-0)
After a pair of games against Vancouver that created some worries, the Flames came back with a resounding 3-0 win in Nashville. Mike Smith answered a lot of early season concerns with a 43 save shutout in the victory. The Flames have been pretty top heavy again this season, with the top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Elias Lindholm providing most of the offense. They’ll need more depth scoring to take the next step this year.
4. Los Angeles Kings (1-1-1)
There are some concerns after Jonathan Quick went down with an injury during practice a few days ago. With Dustin Brown already on the shelf, the Kings depth is being tested early in 2018-19. The Kings got a 37 save performance from Jack Campbell in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Jets, but will that be sustainable if Quick is out for an extended period of time?
5. Vancouver Canucks (1-2-0)
The Canucks biggest question coming into the 2018-19 season was their scoring, and after three games they already have 12 goals. Rookie Elias Pettersson looks like the real deal with six points in his first three games. The Canucks are obviously expected to fall down the standings as the season progresses, but fans should be encouraged by their start.
6. Edmonton Oilers (0-1-0)
There isn’t a lot to judge the Oilers on with only one game played on the season thus far. It wasn’t a pretty performance against New Jersey while in Europe, but the Oilers could make a jump up the power rankings in the coming week now that they’re back in North America.
7. Vegas Golden Knights (1-2-0)
Last year’s Stanley Cup finalists have struggled out of the gate in 2018-19, scoring only five goals and managing to get their only victory in a shootout. The Knights suffered an ugly 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in their home opener last Thursday, and didn’t look good in a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. With Paul Statsny missing at least the next three games, Vegas is being tested with adversity early. The key to Vegas’ turnaround could start tonight with a Stanley Cup rematch with the Capitals in Washington.
8. Arizona Coyotes (0-2-0)
New year, same Coyotes. The Coyotes have been shut out in both of their first two games of 2018-19. The Coyotes have gotten decent goaltending from Antti Raanta this year, but the key for them is to avoid a horrendous start like they had last season. It’ll be important for them to get a couple of wins here soon, because otherwise things could quickly snowball in a culture defined by losing for the last five years.