NHL Teams Points Average: 46.7
NHL Teams at 50+ points: 9
NHL Teams at 42- points: 8
Pacific Division Strength: Improving but remains in the shadows of Metropolitan
Now competitive with the Atlantic, mostly due to the falling Central division. Metropolitan division has become titanic, with the Rangers holding a ridiculous wild card spot at 57 points. The Canucks are struggling to stay competitive while the Jets seem to be slipping away.
Cup Chances (Points)
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Saturday game the Sharks played against the Red Wings. San Jose honored 50 years of hockey in the bay area, with origins in the California Golden Seals. The free t-shirt is the featured image.
Unsurprisingly for an Original Six team, red jerseys were numerous throughout the arena. Detroit is a team I highly respect. Growing up with a struggling Sharks team, the Red Wings were a near automatic loss for multiple seasons each meeting. Henrik Zetterberg of Detroit has become a near equivalent to Patrick Marleau of the San Jose. He and other veteran players of a changing Detroit team remain relevant to the game.
The Red Wings are in the hunt for a Wild Card spot at this point in the season, in danger of ending a 25 year playoff run.
San Jose offense was huge this game. Although it has been said before, the Sharks took that opportunity to become the last team this season to hit the 5 goal mark, exceeding it in this game by 1. The Red Wings did remain threatening for the remainder of the game. You cannot count a team like Detroit out, even down by multiple goals. (Recent evidence: the Centennial Classic) Captain Joe Pavelski netted two goals in a solid finish.
1-10-17 Edmonton Oilers (Sharks 5, Oilers 3)
1-11-17 Calgary Flames
(1) San Jose – 50 points
(3) Edmonton – 49 points
(4) Calgary – 46 points
With Edmonton just 1 point behind San Jose and Calgary looking to show their potential as a playoff contender, San Jose’s trip to Alberta this week is critical in the Pacific, especially as the official halfway point of the season.
Mildly interesting: Calgary does not venture south of the Canadian border during the month of January.
Boedker scored a hat trick.
Senators (15-9-2, 2nd in Atlantic):
- 12-7 Sharks (Sens 4, Sharks 2)
- 12-10 Kings (Kings 4, Sens 1)
- 12-11 Ducks (Ducks 5, Sens 1)
Hurricanes (10-10-5, 7th in Metropolitan):
- 12-7 Ducks (Ducks 6, Canes 5 in SO)
- 12-8 Kings* (Canes 3, Kings 1)
- 12-10 Sharks (Sharks 4, Canes 3)
Both Ottawa and Carolina look to grab points out in California during the second half of this week starting Wednesday night in San Jose and Anaheim. The Senators are coming off a frustrating 8-5 loss against the Penguins this past Monday. However, except for one more overtime loss, they have a record identical to the Sharks going into trip. Craig Anderson, the Sens’ netminder, was named as the first star of the week last week. The Hurricanes had a rocky start to the season but are slowly working their way into becoming strong competitors this season.
*I will be attending the Kings-Canes game Thursday night in LA with a few buddies. The Kings will be looking to take advantage of a Carolina team in the 2nd of back-to-back games.
The Senators could come out with guns blazing against the Sharks, who have not played since their win against the Canadians 5 days ago. The Ducks are coming off of a hard loss against the Flames and should set the tone against the Hurricanes early tonight if they want a good chance of winning.
Ducks 3 – Sharks 2
After a 3 game losing streak, Anaheim needed to take advantage of a SJ team in the 2nd of back-to-back games, and that’s just what they did.
With the Ducks struggling in the last week and with the Kings victory over Chicago, all California teams are within 1 point of each other (SJ/LA at 25 and ANA at 24). This creates a small gap between the upper 4 teams in the Pacific and the bottom 3.
Sharks drew first blood with a shot from the top of the circle by Couture but the Ducks responded with a goal from a strong rushing break to the net by Garbutt. SJ challenged this goal unsuccessfully, costing the Sharks their timeout. Rakell would slice the puck out of the air and redirect it into the Sharks net for the first Ducks lead of the night. DeMelo answered with a slapshot in the second, but Getzlaf would pull the Ducks ahead again with a PPG from the slot. Despite brief end game surges from the Sharks, the Ducks would hang on to a well-deserved, much needed victory.