Hey all, I’m trying out a new format for our weekly division post. Having a measly few sentences at times does not look too great, so we’ll be trying out this new style to make the information a lot more concise and readable, especially when it’s been a particularly slow week for a team.
Since Last Week: The Sharks have played three games in the last week, going 2-1 over that span, but earning points in all three. The shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the first game of a home-and-home series, was a tough loss, with the Sharks allowing two third period goals, but they exacted revenge two nights later at home, with a huge three goal third period, giving them a 5-4 win. Last night, the Sharks picked up another win against the Edmonton Oilers. Martin Havlat scored just his second goal of the year during the game, but also suffered a freak injury that is among one of the most unfortunate things I’ve seen. Havlat was brought to the team in exchange for Dany Heatley, and he was brought in to score, he’s failed to do that so far, and an injury isn’t going to help.
Trending: Upwards. They’ve squeaked out two one-goal wins, but the team is still sitting on top of the Pacific Division. They’re in the midst of a six-game home stand, giving themselves an opportunity to put some space between themselves and the Stars with some help.
Looking Ahead: The Sharks have four more home games left on the home stand, and their next match up is Wednesday night against the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning.
Since Last Week: The Stars have also gone 2-1 over the last week, and have the same point total as the division-leading Sharks, but thanks to the virtue of having played one less game, the Sharks get that first place spot, and not the Stars. After three straight near-flawless victories, the Stars and Richard Bachman finally lost one against the New Jersey Devils, and it was ugly. Hopefully the team puts the loss behind them. They’re two points ahead of the Coyotes and tied for first, and with Adam Burish ready to return, the Stars are almost at full strength, the only notable exception being Kari Lehtonen.
Trending: Upwards. Lehtonen is a couple weeks away, Burish’s return is imminent, and with Bachman holding down the goaltending duties, the team is setting itself up for another solid run, akin to how they started the season. At least, that’s the hope.
Looking Ahead: The Stars begin a small three-game home stand tomorrow night against the Anaheim Ducks. This game is will be nationally televised on Versus, in fact, three of the next four will be televised on Versus. The Ducks aren’t looking great, the Stars need to pick up a win.
Since Last Week: The ‘Yotes are 1-2 over the last week, including an absolute heart breaker last night against the New York Rangers. Brad Richards scored with just one-tenth of a second left in the game, giving the Rangers the win. Their one win came against the Oilers, and the other loss was against the hapless Ducks.
Trending: Downwards. Mike Smith is not looking great lately, giving up four or more goals in three of the last five games. Smith is not used to being a starter, and the fact that back up Jason Labarbera has only been given just five starts might be indicative of Smith not being able to handle the load, and hitting an inevitable slump. In the month of October, the Coyotes played three games where they scored more than five goals. Since then, they don’t have a single game with more than four goals, the offense will need to make up for Smith’s performance, and it’s not doing the job.
Since Last Week: The Kings are 1-2 since last week, scoring just four goals in those three games. They were shutout by the Boston Bruins, and embarrassed by the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, losing 8-2. But that’s just statistics, the big news is that the Kings fired their head coach Terry Murray and are about to hire former Calgary Flames coach and general manager Darryl Sutter to take his place. That makes two coaching changes in the Pacific Division this year already, and the we all saw this coming. The Kings are 3-7-0 in the last ten, and they only seemed to be getting worse. The stars aren’t stars, the scorers aren’t scoring, and the team is not playing like a team.
Trending: Neutral. This is a tough decision. The team is performing like they’re the worst team in the NHL, but a new coach is on the horizon. It seems like the Kings are on the precipice. If Sutter cannot turn the team around, then the multimillion dollar contracts, and the Stanley Cup aspirations will all be thrown away, and the team will turn into one of the laughing stocks of the NHL, and will have among one of the most disappointing seasons in sports.
Looking Ahead: The Kings will next play the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow night.
Since Last Week: The Ducks are also 1-2, winning their one game against the Coyotes, but following it up with two unimpressive losses at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Winnipeg Jets. The Ducks are still struggling, and they’re still losing. Things aren’t looking too great in Anaheim.
Trending: Downwards. Bruce Boudreau has his work cut out for him. The Ducks look more energetic, but they can’t put together wins, going 3-6-1 in their last ten and winning just one of their last five. Bobby Ryan seems to have gotten his stick back, but it’s not enough. It’s a tough, long road, but the Ducks might just have to survive what is turning into a lost season.
Looking Ahead: Anaheim embarks on a three game road trip, all against Pacific Division opponents, and first up is the Dallas Stars tomorrow night. The Ducks can lose all three of these games easily. To win one would be a successful road trip.