The Pacific Division race is closer than ever before, with three teams separated by two points. Thats right, Anahymen is leading with 95 points, Edmonton and San Jose have 93, and the Oil and Sharks play tonight at Rogers Arena. Calgary Flames, despite losing to the LA Queens last night remain 3 points behind with 90 points.
Thats a pointy paragraph but a necessary one to illustrate the parity in talent and the monstrously large importance of the last six games. After 76 games, only two points separate three teams. Staggering. Allow me to distract.
Connor McDavid of the Oilers is the driving force of this dangerous Edmonton team but they aren’t a one trick pony by any means. Very good goaltending from Cam Talbot, an upgraded defense that has gained a nastiness with the addition of Darnell Nurse (yes that’s really his name) and Adam Larsen who was acquired in a trade for Taylor Hall. Three lines that can score, almost all # 1 draft choices, BTW.
I digress, the Ducks led by Randy Carlyle are leading the Pacific Division despite having 34 losses including 11 in OT. Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kessler and a very good young mobile defense are a big reason the Ducks have hung around in the standings. One must remember that Anahymen has lost four straight game sevens in the playoffs at HOME! Yes I take solace from that.
Calgary, a fast skilled team led by Johnny Hockey, Sean Monaghan, TJ Brodie and Dougie Hamilton. I think some of these guys don’t even shave yet, they’re so young. But led by veteran goalie Brian Elliot, they are dangerous and right behind the three leaders in the Pacific, trailing San Jose and Edmonton by only three points.
That brings me to the Kings who are 11 points behind with six games to play. No Jonathan Quick for 3/4 of the season probably doomed them to finish out of the playoff picture, but there are also other reasons they only have 79 points after 76. They can’t score and lose a lot of games 2-1. Their role players that carried them to 2 Cups are either retired, ineffective or were traded because they were making too much $.
San Jose? Will the real Sharks stand up and fight back? Yes I know they are good, but have sucked badly in the last 10 going 3-7 including a six game losing streak. While they weren’t getting blown out initially, losing 4 by one goal and scoring 2 or less in every loss, the roof fell in last weekend. Losing to the Dallas Stars 6-1 and Nashville 7-2 exposed their lack of grit IMHO and is a concern going forward. Coach DeBoer preaches discipline and they are one of the least penalized teams in the NHL.
Show some sack San Jose, Sharks still sublime yet running out of time.