We’re two weeks into the 2019-20 regular season. How do the Anaheim Ducks stack up against the rest of their Pacific Division rivals?
The Anaheim Ducks are two weeks into the season and holding tightly to a 5-2-0 season record. They’re currently sitting in the second place Pacific Division spot, two points behind the Edmonton Oilers. Let’s check-in with the rest of the Pacific Division and see how they stack up against the Anaheim Ducks.
Edmonton Oilers (6-1)
The Oilers look dominant. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are playing an unstoppable game right now, and with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and James Neal outplaying expectations this team is getting a bevy of goals going their way.
I wouldn’t expect Neal’s 34% shooting percentage to hold up, last year it hovered around 5%, and his career numbers are closer to 12%, but the team is clicking currently. If they can remain dominant for the next few weeks they could certainly add some separation between them and the rest of the Pacific, as the other teams strive to find their rhythm.
Anaheim Ducks (5-2)
The second stingiest defense in the Pacific has protected the Ducks from being basement dwellers so far. Even after the most recent 5-2 fiasco over the Sabres, the Ducks have scored only 18 goals on the season – Arizona is the only team to score fewer.
It seems as though that may change, however, as the Power Play got its first goal in their most recent game, and the Jakob Silfverberg– Adam Henrique– Rickard Rakell line is beginning to look special, putting up 12 points in the last 3 games.
There are certainly signs for hope, but in the meantime, I recommend you pray and give thanks for our savior, John Gibson. He has posted a ridiculous .941% save percentage, which already includes a season’s worth of highlight-reel material, that has given our team the ability to overcome early deficits.
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Vegas Golden Knights (4-3)
They were supposed to be good this season, and they are good this season. Former Anaheim Ducks, William Karlson and Shea Theodore, are thriving, and I don’t particularly care to talk about it. Max Pacioretty is playing well, tallying 6 assists so far, and Mark Stone has put up 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) on his hot start to the season.
The Knights boast a top-six forward group as formidable as any in the league. They play fast, and assuming they can get the goaltending they need this season from Marc Andre Fleury, they’ll remain toward the top of the standings in the Pacific.
Vancouver Canucks (4-2)
Things seem to be turning on for The Canucks, who after dropping their first two games of the season have rolled through their next 4, including a win over the Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues.
They have a roster full of young talent but have thus far proven to be a middling team. Things could be turning around however, 15 of their next 22 games are on the road, which wouldn’t generally bode well for any team, but the teams they’re facing are generally favorable.
Calgary Flames (3-3-1)
The Flames are definitely prime candidates for regression this season, and their record is as expected. While they still have top-end talent in Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monohan, the team overall has been lacking a scoring punch. To add insult to injury, it probably doesn’t feel good watching James Neal destroy the scoresheets so far with their neighbors to the North.
San Jose Sharks (3-4)
Patrick Marleau hadn’t played NHL Hockey since April and wasn’t signed to a team for training camp, but since signing his 1-year deal to rejoin the sharks he has 3 points in 3 games. The start of the season has been a rough one for the Sharks, who’ve dealt with an Evander Kane suspension, defensive injuries, and poor play from both goalies, but with as much talent as this team has, I’d look for them to start turning things around sooner or later (hopefully later. . . or never?)
Arizona Coyotes (2-2-1)
As mentioned earlier, the Coyotes are at the bottom of the Pacific in terms of goals scored, but they also boast the only defense better than the Ducks, which is worth pointing out because unlike the Anaheim Ducks, the Coyotes don’t have one of the best goaltenders in the league.
The Coyotes have struggled to start the season, but are worth keeping an eye on as things progress. In the offseason, they brought in a respected coach and added Phil Kessel to their group of young talent on the roster. If they can start getting pucks into the back of the net, and continue playing stingy defense, this could be a formidable opponent – as evidenced by their most recent game, forcing Colorado into an overtime period.
Los Angeles Kings (2-4)
The Kings have given up 28 goals in 6 games— that’s a recipe for disaster. Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli are all still producing points in the offensive zone, but Jonathan Quick has allowed 19 goals on 92 shots faced, for an abominable 6.44 goals allowed average, and .793 save percentage.
That combined with the under-producing Jeff Carter, and lack of talent on the defensive side of things is making for a difficult season. The Kings have talented young players, so look for them to continue developing as the season continues, but the Kings seem pretty stuck to the bottom of the Pacific this season.
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What’s your take? Are the Oilers going to remain at the top? Will the Coyotes or Canucks push Anaheim to the Playoff bubble?