Another week in the books, another new #1 as the Pacific Division continues to be very tight at the top. Things are very close right now so expect head-to-head games to start becomng extra valuable as we close in on American Thanksgiving, the unofficial evaluation mark of the season.
1. Arizona Coyotes (11-6-2, 2-2-0) Last Week: 2
Pts after 19 Games this year: 24, Pts after 19 Games last year: 19 (+5)
The Coyotes take over top spot in the rankings by bouncing back from a pair of home ice regulation losses against relatively weak opponents in Columbus and Minnesota. This bounceback came by defeating both of the last two Stanley Cup champions on the road on back-to-back nights. The Coyotes are playing good hockey right now and their young players are really starting to impact the game. Things are really coming together in Arizona.
2. Edmonton Oilers (12-6-2, 2-2-0) Last Week: 3
Pts after 20 Games this year: 26, Pts after 20 Games last year: 19 (+7)
Edmonton calmed some panic earlier this week with a pair of four goal victories during the week over New Jersey and Anaheim. However they got blown out on Tuesday night by the Sharks as the rest of the division is slowly starting to make up ground on them. Leon Draisaitl continues to be unbelievable, but the secondary scoring will make or break Edmonton’s chances.
3. Calgary Flames (10-7-3, 1-0-1) Last Week: 4
Pts after 20 Games this year: 23, Pts after 20 Games last year: 23 (+/-0)
If there’s been one thing consistent for the Flames in 2019-20, it’s that they’ve been inconsistent. Calgary has gotten great goaltending from David Rittich and managed to stay above water with some pretty mediocre hockey. They’re 4-1-1 in their past six, and are slowly starting to put things together this year.
4. Vancouver Canucks (10-6-3, 1-3-0) Last Week: 1
Pts after 19 Games this year: 23, Pts after 19 Games last year: 22 (+1)
The Canucks managed to stave off a winless week by pulling out a victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. Vancouver had entered the game on a four game losing streak during which they had only scored five goals. Having lost five of their last six, some signs were starting to pop up that the Canucks just had a hot start and were overachieving early this year. Those signs are still there, but the win should temporarily ease some concerns.
5. San Jose Sharks (8-10-1, 3-0-0) Last Week: 8
Pts after 19 Games this year: 17, Pts after 19 Games last year: 23 (-6)
Don’t look now but the San Jose Sharks might have woken up. After a dismal start to the season, the Sharks have rattled four straight wins, all coming in the friendly confines of the SAP Center. Most notably was a thrashing of the division leading Oilers last night, much to my personal enjoyment. Is San Jose just on a hot streak, or have they finally figured things out this season? Until we see a bit more, I’m hesitant to move them further up the rankings.
6. Anaheim Ducks (9-8-2, 0-1-1) Last Week: 6
Pts after 19 Games this year: 20, Pts after 19 Games last year: 19 (+1)
Anaheim is still a tough team to grasp, and that’s to be expected as they are going to be on the playoff bubble all year long. The Ducks are on a four game losing streak right and have given up at least three goals in six of their last seven games. Anaheim’s blue line which was once a strength a few years ago is starting to show some cracks this year, the question is how far the team may fall if it crumbles completely.
7. Vegas Golden Knights (9-7-3, 0-2-1) Last Week: 5
Pts after 19 Games this year: 21, Pts after 19 Games last year: 17 (+4)
If there’s one thing about Vegas the last couple years, it’s that they haven’t been world beaters out of the gate. The Knights have a respectable 21 points in 19 games, but it’s a bit below what people expected of them this year. I fully expect them to ramp it up as the season continues, They’ve lost five of six but will be on home ice for five of their next six tilts with a chance to make up some ground.
8. Los Angeles Kings (6-11-1, 1-1-1) Last Week: 7
Pts after 18 Games this year: 13, Pts after 18 Games last year: 13 (+/-0)
With the Sharks starting to pull things together, the Kings are finding themselves alone in the basement of the Pacific Division. They bounced back from a winless Eastern Canadian road trip with a win over Minnesota, but still have a ways to go to even get back into the playoff bubble conversation.