Photo Credit: Andy Devlin

Alberta continues to dominate the Pacific Division in the early part of the season.

8. Seattle Kraken (4-7-1)

Last week: 8

As far as expansion teams go, the Kraken may not be looking like the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights. But they also aren’t looking like the 1999-2000 Atlanta Thrashers. There may only be four wins to show for the franchise’s first 12 games, but Seattle has only been outscored by six goals so far.

Last week was a mixed bag. Thursday was fun with Jordan Eberle scoring the first hat trick in Kraken history in a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

However, Seattle lost its other two games last week, and on Saturday, became the first team to lose to the Arizona Coyotes this season.

This week: @ VGK, VS ANA, VS MIN

7. Vancouver Canucks (5-6-1)

Last week: 6

Despite moving down a spot, it wasn’t a bad week for the Canucks. It started with a comeback 3-2 overtime win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday, then finished with a 6-3 beatdown of the Dallas Stars on Sunday. In between was a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday.

Still, it hasn’t been a great opening homestand for the Canucks. They’re 2-4-0 on it, with the finale coming Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The good news is that J.T. Miller is heating up for Vancouver. He scored twice in each of those wins and now leads the team in scoring with 14 points (5-9-14) in 12 games.

This week: VS ANA, @ COL, @ VGK, @ ANA

6. Anaheim Ducks (6-4-3)

Last week: 7

It’s time to move the Ducks up a spot. If they keep this up, they could be even higher next week.

Anaheim has only lost four times in regulation through 13 games and is coming off a perfect 3-0-0 week. The Ducks outscored the New Jersey Devils, the Coyotes, and the St. Louis Blues by a combined total of 11-2.

With a shooting percentage of 32%, Troy Terry’s breakout season may start to slow down eventually. But, it’s not showing any signs of happening yet. Terry’s now up to 14 points (8-6-14) in 12 games. He’s currently riding an 11-game point streak, the longest in the NHL this season.

This week: @ VAN, @ SEA, VS VAN

5. LA Kings (5-5-1)

Last week: 5

The Kings stay put in the fifth spot despite wins over the Blues and Devils to cap off the homestand and extend their winning streak to four games.

Protecting leads in the third period has been an issue for LA so far this season, and that problem nearly cost them in both of those games against St. Louis and New Jersey. The Kings allowed Torey Krug to tie things up for the Blues with under 10 seconds to go, then allowed Pavel Zacha to do the same for the Devils with less than 30 seconds to go. They recovered to beat St. Louis in a shootout and New Jersey in overtime, but this is something that needs to be addressed.

One way to help protect third-period leads would be to build on them, and the Kings haven’t done a great job of that. But at least a couple of guys who aren’t named Anze Kopitar or Alex Iafallo look like they’re starting to heat up offensively. Adrian Kempe and Arthur Kaliyev each scored three goals over LA’s five-game homestand.

Could Kaliyev finally be in line for some more ice time? He’s averaging just 12:46 of TOI this season.

Up next for the Kings is their first trip to Canada since February 2020.

This week: @ TOR, @ MTL, @ OTT, @ WPG

4. San Jose Sharks (6-4-1)

Last week: 4

The COVID-stricken Sharks were able to tread water this week, going 1-1-1 against the Sabres, Blues, and Devils. Given the lineup they have to ice right now, it would be hard for San Jose fans to be too upset about that.

Fortunately for the Sharks, Tomáš Hertl is still playing. He scored two goals and an assist in last Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the Sabres, including this beauty to put the game away in the third.

This week: @ CGY, @ WPG, @ COL

3. Vegas Golden Knights (6-6-0)

Last week: 3

It’s official. Jack Eichel is still several months away from returning to the ice, but when he does, he’ll be doing so as a Golden Knight. Vegas sent also-injured forward Alex Tuch, 2019 first-rounder Peyton Krebs, and future first- and second-round draft picks to Buffalo to finally acquire a bonafide No. 1 center.

As for the current group, I’m not quite sure what to make of this injury-riddled iteration of the Knights at the moment. Some nights, they look like an AHL team (like last Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs), while others, they still look like the dynamic Vegas team we’ve gotten to know over the last few years (like last Thursday’s 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators).

Sometimes, they can look like those two different teams in one night. Take Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. They got absolutely caved in by the Habs in the first period, outshot 20-1, and outscored 2-0. But they led 3-2 by the end of the second period and ended up winning 5-2, though they were still outshot 38-18 on the night.

This week: VS SEA, VS MIN, VS VAN

2. Calgary Flames (7-1-3)

Last week: 1

Do you see that one regulation loss in the Flames’ record? That was their first game of the season. Calgary’s been on a 10-game point streak since then.

They did suffer a tough pair of overtime losses at home to the Predators and the Dallas Stars last week but bounced back to beat the tar out of the New York Rangers on Saturday. Calgary outshot New York 37-22 in a 6-0 win as Jacob Markstrom picked up his fourth shutout of the year already.

The Flames may have fallen short in the Eichel sweepstakes, but right now, they aren’t looking like a team that needs him anyway. Matthew Tkachuk decided to take the opportunity on Saturday to let the Flames know they’re better off with him.

This week: VS SJS, @ MTL, @ TOR, @ OTT

1. Edmonton Oilers (9-1-0)

Last week: 2

There probably haven’t been many times over the last 30 years where people have been jealous of Oilers fans. But how can you not be jealous of people who get to watch Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl play for their team every night right now?

That was McDavid dangling just about every Ranger on the ice with under three minutes to go in the third period to tie a game the Oilers once trailed 4-1 at 5-5. Then, Draisaitl finished things off in overtime. Draisaitl’s leading the league with 10 goals and 23 points in just 10 games so far this season. McDavid’s right on his heels with eight goals and 22 points.

Sure, Oilers fans have been getting to watch those two for years, but the difference this year is the team’s actually winning, too. The Oilers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the second-best record in the NHL. The vibes are incredible in Edmonton at the moment.

This week: @ DET, @ BOS, @ BUF, @ STL

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