The Pacific Division has been the whipping boy of the league thus far in 2018-19, but has steadily improved over the past few weeks. At the start of play on Friday, five Pacific teams were sitting in a playoff spot. The average point total for a Pacific team was 34.25, while the vaunted Central was 32.85. Without further adieu, here are the rankings:
1. Calgary Flames (20-10-2, 2-1-0) Last Week: 1
The Flames were able to persevere without their captain Mark Giordano and split a weekend back-to-back with Nashville and Edmonton. Calgary also had to make do without one of their most important forwards in Mikael Backlund who is out with a concussion and no definite timetable. Highlight of the week was their 6-5 last minute comeback overtime victory over Philadelphia.
Last 10 Games: 7-2-1
2. Edmonton Oilers (17-12-3, 3-0-1) Last Week: 6
The Oilers make a big jump up the power rankings after yet another solid week for them under Ken Hitchcock. Edmonton knocked off the Flames, Avalanche, and fell in OT to the Winnipeg Jets, all top teams in the West. The Oilers will face a challenge in losing their top defenceman Oscar Klefbom (and now Kris Russell as well) to an injury that will keep him out for a while. Highlight of the week was their dominant victory over Colorado.
Last 10 Games: 7-2-1
3. Anaheim Ducks (17-11-5, 2-1-0) Last Week: 2
The Ducks fall one spot in the power rankings, really not due to any fault of their own. Anaheim’s only blemish this week was a 4-1 loss to Carolina at home. However they managed to right the ship with a shootout win over New Jersey and a win over Dallas. They now embark on a six game road trip that will take them through the Christmas break. Highlight of their week was a four goal third period in a comeback win over Dallas.
Last 10 Games: 8-2-0
4. Vegas Golden Knights (18-14-1, 2-1-0) Last Week: 3
Much like the Ducks, the Golden Knights probably don’t deserve to drop a spot in the rankings, however Edmonton’s hot run vaulted them above an almost as hot Vegas team. Vegas’ only loss was an ugly 5-1 setback against the Los Angeles Kings, in a game they should win. However they bounced back the next night with a win over Dallas and are now on a four game road trip out east before returning home after the Christmas break. Highlight of the week was winning in Brooklyn after the power went out earlier in the game.
Last 10 Games: 8-2-0
5. San Jose Sharks (17-11-5, 3-1-0) Last Week: 5
The Sharks are currently sitting second in the Pacific after a victory over Dallas on Thursday. San Jose has now won three straight games and five of their last six games overall. Are the Sharks finally beginning to swim after a so-so start to the season? Their highlight of the week was the continued great play of Timo Meier, who has four goals and two assists in the last three games.
Last 10 Games: 5-4-1
6. Vancouver Canucks (14-16-4, 2-0-1) Last Week: 7
The Canucks were the least bad of the bad teams in the division, actually going a very impressive 2-0-1 on the week. Vancouver picked up victories in St.Louis and Columbus, and lost in overtime in Nashville. Definitely encouraging performances there. Their highlight of the week was rookie phenom Elias Petterson’s five point outburst against the Blues in a game where Brock Boeser also got a hat trick.
Last 10 Games: 4-4-2
7. Arizona Coyotes (13-15-2, 0-3-0) Last Week: 4
Four straight regulation losses and the news that Antti Raanta may be out for the rest of the season has resulted in yet another Coyotes season circling the drain and looking likely to fall down it very soon. Highlight of the week is that it’s over.
Last 10 Games: 4-6-0
8. Los Angeles Kings (11-20-2, 1-2-1) Last Week: 8
For a day or two, the Kings moved out of last spot in the Western Conference after beating the equally hapless Chicago Blackhawks. Oh how the mighty have fallen. And I don’t feel one ounce of empathy for two of the West’s former superpowers and holders of five Stanley Cups in the last decade. You had your fun. Highlight of the week was not being last briefly.
Last 10 Games: 3-6-1