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Around The Pacific: Los Angeles Kings On Top

Another week, another new division leader. Los Angeles is suddenly on top, but is it really going to last? Read on to find out and get updates from the rest of the division.

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1. Los Angeles Kings: (19-14-7, 45 points)

Since Last Week: The Kings are a cool 3-0-2 since last week, and new head coach Darryl Sutter has yet to lose in regulation. Obviously, this is why the Kings are suddenly on top of the division. Of course, the Kings also have the fortune of having played 40 games already. Meanwhile, the Sharks and Stars have only played 35 and 37 games, respectively, so they’re division lead is not as impressive as it seems, and might not hold up for long. The Kings will need to keep winning to stay on top of the division.

Trending: Upwards. Jonathan Quick is finally getting some goal support, and is playing better as a result, and Anze Kopitar finally scored a goal for the first time in weeks. Sutter has the team on the right track and the Kings are beginning to take shape as the threat they were supposed to be all season.

Looking Ahead: The Kings are in the midst of a six-game home stand and return to action against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday, January 5th.

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2. San Jose Sharks: (20-11-4, 44 points)

Since Last Week: The Sharks are a decidedly mediocre 1-1-1 since our last look, but two of those were games versus the Vancouver Canucks. Both went to extra time and the teams split the series. Anyone who watched the games could see that this is going to be an exciting rivalry in the future, especially with the two teams entering the same division next season.

Trending: Neutral. The Sharks are finally done with their six game home stand, and they stumbled at the end of it, losing to Anaheim and Vancouver back to back. It remains to be seen how the team will do heading back out on the road. They lost Martin Havlat to an injury a couple weeks ago and he’ll be out for well over a month, and while he has not been producing, he’s still the kind of player you want on the ice day in and day out.

Looking Ahead: The Sharks will also have a divisional match up when they face the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow night.

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3. Dallas Stars: (21-15-1, 43 points)

Since Last Week: The Stars may only be 1-2 since last week, but everyone is ready to put those two losses behind them after the thumping they gave the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on New Year’s Eve. It is a tad unsettling how this team can lose to the worst in the league (the Columbus Blue Jackets) only to turn around and defeat the best. It says a lot about the consistency of the Stars, and it’s something that has to be taken care of by the team itself each and every night they’re on the ice.

Trending: Neutral. Beating the best team is obviously a positive thing, but the loss to the Blue Jackets was still worrying, and now the Stars have to show up tonight and decide which team they’re going to be: the lifeless team that lost to the Jackets, or the inspired team that ruined the Bruins.

Looking Ahead: The Stars are in action TONIGHT against the Detroit Red Wings. Another huge game where the Stars need to show up, especially against a team that has struggled away from home.

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4. Phoenix Coyotes: (19-16-4, 42 points)

Since Last Week: The Coyotes are struggling, and the 1-2-1 record proves it. They’re coming off a win against the slumping Minnesota Wild, but the team is not putting together wins consistently. Why? The absence of Mike Smith has to be a major reason. He will be sorely missed, but the team has to figure out a way to win without him.

Trending: Downwards. Until Smith returns, the team is going to struggle, and unless they can put some faith into back up Jason Labarbera they will continue to trend downwards. The only bright spots are Radim Vrbata and Ray Whitney who continue to score goals, and continue to fly under the radar.

Looking Ahead: The Coyotes are in action TONIGHT against the St. Louis Blues.

5. Anaheim Ducks: (10-21-6, 26 points)

Since Last Week: The Ducks are 1-2, but hey, at least they got a win! Pushing their total to 10 wins on the year, managing to stay ahead of the Blue Jackets by one point as the worst team in the league. All sarcasm aside, the Ducks are still losing. How long until someone makes a move? They’re not going to win with this team. Expect some trades soon, it’s inevitable.

Trending: Downwards. Like I mentioned, until there is a shake up, this team is going nowhere. It’s as simple as that.

Looking Ahead: The Ducks will play the Sharks tomorrow night.


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Tags: Anze Kopitar Darryl Sutter Jonathan Quick Martin Havlat Mike Smith Radim Vrbata Ray Whitney

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