The teams that make up the Pacific Divison of the NHL have truly improved by leaps and bounds, which allowed three teams– the Las Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Here is why the Pacific Division is a force to be reckoned with.
The Golden Knights coming out at the top of the Pacific division, have more than proved themselves as an expansion team this season. The players themselves have trained their hardest to make it this far. The Knights are the first expansion team to be immediately successful from the start, kicking off their season winning 9 out of their first ten games.
The standout players on this team include their goalie Marc-Andre Fleury formally of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s had one of his best seasons yet with 45 goal saves and 29 wins with the Golden Knights during the regular season. William Karlsson whose been a standout player on the Golden Knights since the beginning of the season, just scored the goal of the year on Sunday. He was able to slide the puck right between Shark’s goaltender Mark Jones’ legs on a breakaway.
The San Jose Sharks suffered a rough start in October after their 2-1 loss to Boston. But they didn’t let them discourage them. Coach Peter DeBoer began juggling forward line combinations to see if a switch in player combinations would help the Sharks odds. Slowly but surely as March started so did the Shark’s eight-game winning streak. The Sharks spent this last month playing catch up but have now clinched their playoff spot.
The standout players that helped the Sharks achieve this goal are Logan Couture a centerman, whose had 33 goals this season, along with Brent Burns who had 65 assists.
The Los Angeles Kings still have a chance at the playoffs, and they have been playing better lately, currently third in their overall division. The 96 points in total they’ve scored this season just proves their capable of it. The Kings already have 48 wins under their belt. Anze Kopitar has also been a significant advantage to them as well. He’s made over 35 goals this season alone. Kopitar was the key to the Kings clinching their playoff spot.
The Teams Who Didn’t Make the Cut
The Anaheim Ducks definitely went through a rough time during this regular season, but have recently been fighting back. After the Ducks’ 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday and Ondrej Kase scoring 1:34 into overtime, I think they definitely upped their chances at the possibility of playoffs.
The Calgary Flames haven’t had the best season, so their chances are 50/50 at playoffs right now. There is definitely room for improvement with this team, with a total of 34 losses this regular season.
The Edmonton Oilers have nearly balanced out their wins and losses this season. With a totally of 34 wins and 40 losses. Conor McDavid through all of this has still managed to remain the team’s most reliable goal scorer with a total of 41 goals this season.
The Vancouver Canucks players suffered a lot of injuries this season which definitely affected their chances at playoffs. Brock Boeser holds the top goal percentage this season with 29 goals.
The Arizona Coyotes, place last in the Pacific Divison with only 29 wins under their belt and 40 losses. With a better defense, they can change their outcome for next season.