Suddenly, the Ducks are winning, and winning big. They’re just 10 points behind the Phoenix Coyotes and look very, very dangerous. Are they on their way to a historic turn around? Keep reading for updates on the Ducks and the rest of the division.
Since Last Week: The Sharks finished up their four-game road swing over the last week, and went 2-1-1, losing in a shootout to Minnesota, and losing a close one to Chicago. They have 55 points, but have played four less games than the second place Kings. That’s up to eight points they can make up on LA if they hit a bad stretch. They’ve put themselves in a spectacular position to hold the Pacific Division lead, and it’s going to take head to head wins to gain ground on them.
Trending: Up. They return home for the next two games, where they’ve been 14-7-2 this season.
Looking Ahead: The Sharks play the Calgary Flames tomorrow night.
Since Last Week: The Kings went 2-0-2. Notice how they picked up points in every game. This is how the Kings have slowly climbed their way up the standing. They have more OT/SO losses than any other Pacific Division team, and the most in the entire NHL. Anze Kopitar, who was leveled by Brenden Morrow, is apparently doing fine after the scary hit. Good news for Kings fans, as Kopitar is beginning to look like his old self.
Trending: Neutral. You have to wonder if all these OT/SO losses are just the Kings getting lucky, just barely scraping by and picking up points. They’re a generally low scoring team, and they’re playing with fire. All it takes is a couple shots and the Kings are not grabbing points day in and day out.
Looking Ahead: The Kings play the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow night.
Since Last Week: The Stars went 1-2 over the week, and the two losses were crushing disappointments. They were pounded by the Ducks, and then lost the game for themselves against the Avalanche, and things are only about to get tougher for the Stars.
Trending: Down. The Stars had already lost Mike Ribeiro, and now it was revealed that Jamie Benn will be out until after the All-Star break as well with an appendectomy. That’s five games until the break that will see the Stars without their top two centers. That five game stretch also includes two back-to-backs. The Stars will have to fight through the adversity to hopefully get a couple wins.
Looking Ahead: The Stars play TONIGHT against the St. Louis Blues, televised nationally on NBCSN.
Since Last Week: The only positive about an 0-1-2 record is that they picked up a couple points. The Coyotes are in a full-fledged slump, still. Could it have something to do with the team’s impending doom? It looks less and less likely with each passing day that the Coyotes will remain in Phoenix after this season. The biggest ray of light in Phoenix is Radim Vrbata’s quiet 22-goal (so far) campaign. He’s not an All-Star, and like everyone in Phoenix, flies under the radar, but the veteran winger has found a scoring touch.
Trending: Neutral. The only reason I don’t say down is because it seems like the ‘Yotes are on the verge of breaking the slump. At least, that’s the hope.
Looking Ahead: The Coyotes are in action right now against the Colorado Avalanche in an early afternoon bout.
Since Last Week: The biggest story this week is the Ducks, 3-0-1 over the last week, and 6-3-1 over the last 10 games. All the trade talk has quieted down after the Ducks explosive recent stretch of game. They’re coming off a convincing win against the Vancouver Canucks, and have stormed out of the cellar of the NHL, pulling themselves within 10 points of the Coyotes.
Trending: Up. This team looks unstoppable, playing with a new sense of purpose. Can they somehow turn it around? Akin to the New Jersey Devils of last year, who almost made the playoffs? It doesn’t seem impossible.
Looking Ahead: The Ducks begin a three game road trip against the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night.
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