Mar 31, 2012, 12:41 AM EST
I’m a big fan of parity in the NHL, but for those who glorify the days of stability and a handful of teams running roughshod over competition, this has been a dark month or two. The Pacific Division might be the greatest enemy of consistency, as the top spot is being treated like a hot potato going from the San Jose Sharks to the Dallas Stars and finally to the Los Angeles Kings after tonight’s results.
To keep with the tradition of wide-ranging West impact updates, I’ll go ahead in order of where the teams rank as of this writing.
(3) Los Angeles 4, Edmonton 1
The Kings beat down a beaten down Edmonton Oilers team tonight to (more than a little bit ridiculously) take the division lead. Jonathan Quick needed a laughable 13-for-14 save night to beat the Oil while four different Kings found the net.
(4) Nashville hops over (5) Detroit (read here); (6) Chicago was idle
Vancouver Canucks kick around Stars down to seventh place
Hopefully the Dallas Stars didn’t get too comfy in third place because the second place Vancouver Canucks destroyed them 5-2. There really wasn’t much of a doubt about this one, as the Canucks just looked downright better than the Stars. (Probably because, at least at this moment, they very much are.)
(8) Phoenix was idle
(9) San Jose was idle, too, but …
The road to the playoffs looks like it will go through the Sharks – in one way or another. First, San Jose begins a home-and-home with the Stars on Saturday. There isn’t much of an excuse for them to be worn out against Dallas tomorrow considering the fact the Stars got kicked around tonight. (Oh, and Ray Ratto points out that the Stars are an ugly 1-10-2 on the tail end of back-to-backs this season.)
If that wasn’t big enough, the Sharks’ final two games of the season are a home-and-home set against the current Pacific leader Los Angeles. It’s anyone’s guess what exactly will be on the line then, but it’s hard to imagine those games being anything but huge.
Finally, moving on from the Pacific-specific teams but certainly a Pacific-relevant development:
(10) Colorado deals a big blow to (11) Calgary
The Avalanche face some tough odds to make the playoffs, as they’ll likely need to root for a lot of two-point games and extreme results (up-and-down won’t cut it). If nothing else, they probably won’t need to worry much about the Flames after handling them by a score of 4-1.
Colorado also has some positives to build on for next season, particularly with the stretch run work of Semyon Varlamov, who stopped 38 out of 31 shots to keep the Avs alive – for the moment.
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- Leafs’ Panik latest to be fined for diving 4
- Connor McDavid is just on fire right now 9
- Video: Zidlicky’s first goal with Detroit gives Red Wings OT win over Rangers 35
- Video: P.K. Subban illustrates hockey instincts through GoPro camera perspective 5
- Video: Lundqvist could be back in 10 to 14 days 7
- Isles’ Martin suspended one game for ‘reckless’ knee on Daley 14
- More bad luck for the B’s — Connolly out 6 weeks with fractured finger 23
- Fehr willing to give Panthers ‘a reasonable opportunity’ to redevelop market 52
- Video: Isles’ Martin to face hearing for ‘stupid’ knee-on-knee hit 39
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- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline (78)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils (74)