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Pacific Division Uprising

pacific division

The Pacific Division is not often compared to the likes of the Central. However, this week’s power rankings have some new members in the top 10 that has the division making some noise.

The Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames all find themselves climbing the ranks of the NHL.

This is the first time the Pacific has had at least three representatives in the top 10 since October 19th (post week two of the regular season).

The depth does not compete with the Central..but they do have the conference leader (Vegas) and the same number of teams in this week’s top 10.

What do this teams do well? What do they need to work on? Are either of these teams a true contender?

Let’s do it.

Viva Las Dangles

pacific division
Photo from NHL.com

There is no team discussed more recently than the Golden Knights… and they deserve it.

What they do well:

Kill penalties – (23-for-23 since December 19th)..

Win close games – (14-4-3 in one-goal games)..

Kick pucks out – (1.98 team goals against average and a .936 team save percentage).

What they need to work on:

The power play – (1 for their last 27 since December 19th, 17% overall/23rd in the league).

Are they a true contender? Yes.

The Knights have a number one goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury and are 15-6-1 against current playoff teams. Vegas has posted wins against Winnipeg, Tampa Bay and Washington (the three other first place teams in the NHL). They currently sit at number two in this week’s power rankings and atop the Pacific Division.

Newly shark invested waters

pacific division
Photo from NHL.com

The Sharks are one of the newest members of the top 10 from the Pacific Division.

What do they do well:

The power play – (scored one PPG in 14 of their last 17 games/20-for-64 since December 7th, 23% overall/5th in the NHL).

Winning at home and on the road – (13-6-2 on home ice/11-7-4 on the road)..

Work their goalie tandem – (Aaron Dell/backup/1A goalie is 10-3-0 w/a 2.26 GAA and a .925 save percentage).

What do they need to work on:

Plus/minus – (11 players are in the minus column and are only +9 as a team).

Are they a true contender? No.

San Jose comes in at nine in this week’s power rankings and currently sit in second place in the Pacific. They hold a modest 10-8-2 record against present playoff teams and will most likely be playoff bound. However, the Sharks have a 2-7-1 record against teams with a better record than them. The Sharks are hot, but don’t seem deep enough to compete with higher ranked teams in the postseason.

The flames are hot…naturally

pacific division
Photo from NHL.com

Tied for the Sharks in points and more new members from the Pacific in the top 10 are the Calgary Flames. Coming into Thursday, this club is on a seven-game win streak (longest active streak in NHL).

What do they do well:

Special Teams – (During this streak they are 22 for 24 on the PK and 5 for 20 on the PP).

Road Warriors – (They are a league-best 13-5-4 on the road)..

Johnny Gaudreau – (15 goals/39 assists/54 points in 45 games)..

Balanced goalie tandem – (Smith/Rittich have a combined 2.25 GAA and .928 save percentage).

What do they need to work on:

Play at home – (Flames are a modest 12-11-0 on home ice this year).

Goal Differential – (Calgary is just +6 as a team so far this year).

Are they a true contender? Possibly.

The Flames come in at number 10 in this week’s power rankings. They have a solid 11-7-2 record against current playoff teams. Three of those wins have come against first place Washington, Tampa and Winnipeg. Calgary is led by a ferocious young core that can skate with anyone and will be a tough out come playoff time.

Don’t sleep on this one either…

We did just talk about the Central Division being the most ultra competitive division.

Although this is true, the Pacific is right up there.

This is a division with the leader (Vegas) having a 7-point cushion…but there is a log jam right in the middle with only three points separating second to fifth place.

The contender portion of this article may be true, but San Jose, Calgary and Vegas for that matter haven’t proven anything yet..LA and Anaheim are very much motivated to wreak havoc on the division with a great deal of hockey left to be played.

These three teams are hot..but all must be focused on staying hot all the way to mid-April.

 

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