My apologies for these being a day late as I was dealing with some real life stuff this week and didn’t get a chance to post yesterday. The rankings are done up to the end of play on Tuesday and won’t include any results from games yesterday. There was a lot of movement this week as teams swapped positions and now as we head to December, the tiers of teams are really starting to shake out.
1. Edmonton Oilers (15-5-0, 2-0-0, Last Week: #2)
Results: EDM 5 at ARI 3, EDM 3 at VGK 2
Schedule: 12/01 vs PIT, 12/03 at SEA, 12/05 vs LA, 12/07 vs MIN
It was a quiet week but the Oilers took care of their business, despite their game against the Coyotes ending up a little closer than it need to be. 40 points in 20 games is just bonkers once again for Leon Draisaitl who sometimes gets overshadowed by Connor McDavid. The Oilers will need to see a bit more from Jesse Puljujarvi this month after he had just one goal in the last nine games of November, finally breaking the slump in Vegas.
2. Calgary Flames (13-4-5, 1-1-0, Last Week: #1)
Results: WPG 4 at CGY 2, PIT 1 at CGY 2 (SO)
Schedule: 12/02 at LAK, 12/03 at ANA, 12/05 at VGK, 12/07 at SJ
The Flames continue to play good hockey and probably deserved better this week after getting goalie’d pretty good by Connor Hellebuyck on Saturday and nearly having the same thing happen against Tristan Jarry on Monday. All things considered, the Flames are looking like a team that will stay near the top of the West all season long thanks to strong play from their top players along with their reliable system set up by head coach Darryl Sutter.
3. Vegas Golden Knights (12-9-0, 1-1-0, Last Week: #4)
Results: VGK 5 at NSH 2, EDM 3 at VGK 2
Schedule: 12/01 at ANA, 12/03 at ARI, 12/05 vs CGY
Although it was just a 1-1 week, it’s feeling like the Knights are starting to round into their regular form as the team gets healthier. They are steadily working back towards the playoff hunt and should be able to comfortably outplay the California teams for one of the top three divisional spots the rest of the way.
4. Anaheim Ducks (12-8-3, 2-2-0, Last Week: #3)
Results: ANA 2 at COL 5, OTT 0 at ANA 4, TOR 5 at ANA 1, ANA 5 at LAK 4 (SO)
Schedule: 12/01 vs VGK, 12/03 vs CGY, 12/06 at WSH, 12/07 at BUF
While the Ducks won two out of their four contests this week, they did lose two games pretty convincingly to opponents who would have been measuring-stick teams in terms of judging the legitimacy of the Ducks. They were comfortably outmatched by the Avs and Leafs, but took a bad Sens team and beat LA in the shootout. I’m still hesitant on buying in on the Ducks even being a playoff team as they flirt with falling back to the mediocre pack with teams like Dallas, Nashville, and San Jose.
5. San Jose Sharks (12-9-1, 3-1-0, Last Week: #6)
Results: OTT 3 at SJ 6, TOR 4 at SJ 1, SJ 2 at CHI 0, SJ 5 at NJ 2
Schedule: 12/02 at NYI, 12/03 at NYR, 12/05 at CBJ, 12/07 vs CGY
The Sharks had the most wins of any Pacific Division team this past week by picking up six of eight possible points, however they more or less took care of business against lesser opponents in their win. They look outmatched against Toronto, but again pretty much every NHL team has looked outmatched against Toronto lately. It was a good week for San Jose to put some distance back between themselves and the .500 mark they had fallen towards the last few weeks.
6. Los Angeles Kings (9-8-4, 1-1-1, Last Week: #5)
Results: TOR 6 at LAK 2, OTT 2 at LAK 4, ANA 5 at LAK 4 (SO)
Schedule: 12/02 vs CGY, 12/05 at EDM, 12/06 at VAN
It was another meh week from a meh Kings team as they added one of each result to their record. The Kings currently sit at 1-3-2 on this seven game homestand, with their final contest coming on Thursday against Calgary. Prior to the homestand LA had an eight game point streak and was right in the mix for the playoffs, now, not so much. They have a tough schedule this month with only 4/14 games against teams not in a playoff spot.
7. Seattle Kraken (8-13-1, 3-1-0, Last Week: #7)
Results: CAR 1 at SEA 2, SEA 0 at TB 3, SEA 4 at FLA 1, SEA 7 at BUF 4
Schedule: 12/01 at DET, 12/03 vs EDM, 12/06 vs PIT
I really wanted to move Seattle up after they had impressive victories over the top Eastern teams in the last eight days or so, beating Washington, Carolina, and Florida. However they just dug too deep of a hole early on to get them higher than #7 in the division rankings for now. With these wins, they are comfortable ahead of Vancouver, and another good week could put them into the top six.
8. Vancouver Canucks (7-14-2, 1-3-0, Last Week: #8)
Results: VAN 1 at PIT 4, VAN 2 at CBJ 4, VAN 2 at BOS 3, VAN 2 at MTL 1
Schedule: 12/01 at OTT, 12/04 vs PIT, 12/06 vs LAK
This team is still a mess. Prior to last night’s game in Ottawa, Vancouver hadn’t scored more than two goals in a game in their last six games. They managed to end their long road trip on a good note, but will need a huge win streak in the next little bit to really have any hope of contending for playoffs the rest of the year. My guess is that they’ll need to find a way to have 20 wins before they have 20 regulation losses to have any sort of crack in the final 40 games, but even then they’d need to win probably 25 of their final 40, or at least 38 of their final 59 games.