The Ducks, Kings and Sharks have garnered points in 59 of 67 home games and collectively have won 51 of those games out-right in their own rinks, for a home domination that can’t be matched in any other division in the NHL. Although the Central division also has three teams (Chicago, St. Louis & Colorado) in the top six in overall NHL standings as of Tuesday, January 14th, the Pacific Division’s “Big Three” have only allowed 128 goals against in 67 total home games, which makes visiting California a loser’s journey.
How does this affect the Vancouver Canucks going forward?
Well, the Canucks, after their game Wednesday against the Ducks, are finished visiting the Golden State for the rest of the regular season. In fact, with the season series already finished with the San Jose Sharks, and with Los Angeles due to come to Vancouver on April 5th, only the Anaheim Ducks frequent Rogers Arena more than once between now and the end of the regular season. Considering the trouble the Canucks have had in games versus the “Big Three”, with Vancouver having a 1-6-3 record to date (before their Jan.15th game in Anaheim)…the collective thought is that the toughest part of the schedule is almost behind them in relation to their own division.
Vancouver still has eleven games remaining against teams from within their division that are below them in the standings, and have had measurable success against old Northwest division members such as Edmonton, Calgary and Minnesota.
The real step in the right direction though is that the Canucks, in battling against the toughest teams in the newly formed Pacific Division, have shown they can alter their style of play in regards to the opponent faced, as that was purely on display versus the Kings in Los Angeles. The “in-your-face” mentality the Canucks showed against L.A. is the type of hockey they will need to continue playing when facing the more physical teams in the league, and it is certainly a prelude to the style of hockey seen in the playoffs which are a few short months away.
With that said, the characteristics the Canucks showed in their game January 13th against the Kings can be summed up in this Donald Trump quote: ”Sometimes by losing the battle, you find a new way to win the war”.