LA Kings: West Division power rankings after Week Two

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports) /

We’re now two weeks into the 2021 season, and we haven’t seen much separation in the West Division.

All eight teams have played six games, no one’s gotten off to a disastrous start, and there are only three points between second place and last place.

With that in mind, we’re still going to sift through each team’s first half dozen games to figure out where the LA Kings and everyone else stands so far in our latest edition of the West Division power rankings.

1. Vegas Golden Knights (5-1-0)

The Golden Knights are no longer undefeated, but they are still leading the West Division and will hold on to the top spot in our power rankings as well. Vegas also has the best goal differential in the division at plus-7. The goaltending tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner has been strong, as Vegas is allowing only two goals per game on average.

Mark Stone has responded to being named captain by putting up eight points in his first six games, and Alex Pietrangelo is fitting in well. The Golden Knights have only had to play the Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes so far but will have some tougher competition coming up this week with a pair of games against the St. Louis Blues.

Next four games: St. Louis (2), @ San Jose (2)

2. Colorado Avalanche (3-3-0)

The Avalanche just split four games against teams they should be beating up on in the LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks. Both wins were just 3-2, one of which came in overtime. Aside from their 8-0 blowout of the Blues back in the opening week, the Avs have yet to look like the juggernaut they were expected to be.

Colorado needs to get some more secondary scoring beyond its big three of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen. Still, it’s very early, and there’s far too much talent here to be overly concerned yet. I’m tempted to knock them down a spot just for the blue pants, but we’ll leave them here for now.

Next four games: San Jose (2), @ Minnesota (2)

3. St. Louis Blues (3-2-1)

St. Louis actually has the worst goal differential in the division at minus-6, though that’s skewed by that blowout loss to Colorado. Other than that, it’s been a solid if unspectacular start for the Blues, who were handed their second regulation loss of the season by the Kings on Sunday night.

Jordan Kyrou looks like he may be in for a breakout year, and Jordan Binnington is off to a nice start in net, though their backup goalie may already be a concern. Ville Husso has struggled mightily in both of his appearances.

Next four games: @ Vegas (2), @ Anaheim (2)

4. Minnesota Wild (4-2-0)

After a couple of comeback overtime wins over the Kings to start the season, the Wild split pairs of games with the Ducks and Sharks. Minnesota has gotten good goaltending from both Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen, while Kirill Kaprizov is establishing himself as an early Calder Trophy favorite with six points in his first six NHL games.

Next four games: Los Angeles (2), Colorado (2)

5. LA Kings (2-2-2)

With six points and an even goal differential through six games, the Kings have held their own despite facing some of the West Division’s tougher competition so far. They’ve been in every game they’ve played, with two OT losses, a one-goal loss, and a loss that was only by two goals because of an empty netter.

Anze Kopitar’s 10 points are tied for most in the league, and LA’s 20 goals for are the most in the division as young players like Gabriel Vilardi, Lias Andersson, and Carl Grundstrom have had impressive moments too.

Next four games: @ Minnesota (2), Anaheim, @ Vegas

6. San Jose Sharks (3-3-0)

The Sharks have played six road games to begin the season, and due to strict COVID-19 restrictions in the Bay Area, it’s still going to be a while until they can return to the Shark Tank. San Jose has bigger concerns than having to set up a temporary home in Arizona, though. While they’ve managed to play .500 hockey so far, goaltending still looks like an issue, as Martin Jones and Devan Dubnyk both have save percentages under .900.

Meanwhile, Erik Karlsson, who’s signed through the 2026-27 season at an $11.5 million cap hit, has just three points and a minus-8 rating that is tied for the worst in the league.

Next four games: @ Colorado (2), Vegas (2)

7. Arizona Coyotes (2-3-1)

With five points in six games, the Coyotes are occupying the West Division’s basement. They did just have to play four straight games against the Golden Knights, though, so we’ll cut them a little bit of slack. Some good news for Arizona is that after a disappointing debut season in the desert, Phil Kessel has scored four goals through six games so far. The bad news is Oliver Ekman-Larsson has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury, and it’s still not clear when he’ll be able to return.

Next four games: Anaheim (2), @ St. Louis (2)

Next. Three unforgettable moments of Week Two. dark

8. Anaheim Ducks (2-2-2)

The Ducks managed to claim their second victory of the season with a 3-1 win over the Avalanche on Sunday, despite getting outshot 33-15. Hampus Lindholm’s empty netter allowed Anaheim to score more than twice in a game for the first time all season. Generating offense has been a serious struggle for the Ducks. Their average of 1.83 goals for per game ranks 30th in the league.