LA Kings: West Division power rankings after Week Nine

LA Kings (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

The LA Kings have shown promise at times this season, but this weekend’s games in Colorado were a reminder of the current team’s limitations.

If you’ve been waiting for the Minnesota Wild to start fading, you’re going to have to keep waiting.

Whenever it looks like it may be starting to happen, Minnesota has responded. After coming down from a six-game winning streak to lose three of four, the Wild bounced back this past week by going 4-0, including back-to-back wins over the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights.

Meanwhile, the past week wasn’t so kind to the LA Kings, whose up-and-down season continues.

Here’s how the Kings, Wild, and everyone else in the West Division stacks up through nine weeks.

1. Vegas Golden Knights (16-6-1)

Last week: 1

A tough pair of losses in Minnesota snapped the Vegas Golden Knights’ winning streak at six games, but they bounced back with a pair of wins against the St. Louis Blues to wrap up their trip. 32-year-old Max Pacioretty is on pace for a career year, while Mark Stone seems to keep getting better every year.

Next four games: Sharks (2), @ Kings (2)

2. Colorado Avalanche (16-8-2)

Last week: 2

Despite starting the week with a home loss to the Arizona Coyotes and needing overtime to win the rematch, this was an impressive week for the Colorado Avalanche. Here were the shot totals in the last four games they played: 35-14, 46-15, 48-16, 41-28, all in favor of the Avalanche. They had a somewhat tough time actually scoring goals, but that shouldn’t be a problem for much longer if they keep playing like this.

Next four games: Ducks, Wild (2), @ Coyotes

3. Minnesota Wild (17-8-1)

Last week (4)

A big week for the Wild, whose rookie sensation Kirill Kaprizov continues to turn heads.

Kaprizov is a human highlight reel who’s quickly becoming a Twitter darling and maybe even the face of the franchise in Minnesota. Still, the unheralded goaltending tandem of Kappo Kahkonen and Cam Talbot has also been doing great work this season.

Next four games: Coyotes, @ Avalanche (2), Ducks

4. St. Louis Blues (14-9-5)

Last week: 3

The big news for the St. Louis Blues this past week was their decision to hitch their wagon to Jordan Binnington for the foreseeable future, signing the man who backstopped the franchise to its first Stanley in 2019 to a six-year, $36-million contract extension.

The contract seemed to draw mixed reaction, but there’ll be unanimous agreement that it wasn’t a great week on the ice for the Blues, who dropped all three games they played, most recently a 5-1 decision to the Golden Knights on Saturday. They’ve lost four in a row overall now, but at least they managed to pick up three points worth of overtime losses.

Next four games: @ Kings (2), @ Sharks (2)

5. LA Kings (11-10-6)

Last week: 5

The Kings started the week with two games against the Ducks and finished it with two against the Avalanche. And as the Kings found out, there’s a big difference between playing those teams.

After scoring 10 goals in two games against the Ducks, the Kings scored just once in Colorado while getting outshot 89-44. LA’s effort in the latter game was respectable, but the Kings just don’t have the talent right now to play with a team like the Avs when they’re on top of their game.

But, hey, watching Adrian Kempe score five goals in two games against the Ducks was fun.

Next four games: Blues (2), Golden Knights (2)

6. Arizona Coyotes (12-12-4)

Last week: 6

The Coyotes were the other team on the end of the Avalanche’s buzz saw last week, yet they did somehow manage to get three out of four points in those two games. That was followed by a pair of rough losses in Minnesota, though, and Arizona finished the week by scoring just two goals in three games.

Next four games: @ Wild, @ Ducks (2), Avalanche

7. Sharks (11-11-3)

Last week: 7

It took two months, but the Sharks finally managed to string together consecutive wins this season. They won not twice, but three times in a row last week! Even the Sabres, who I wasn’t completely sure had won two games all season, managed to win two in a row back in January, something it took the Sharks until mid-March to accomplish. Still, they beat up on the Ducks twice over the weekend, and thanks to those same Ducks will again avoid the basement of our rankings.

Next four games: @ Golden Knights (2), Blues (2)

8. Anaheim Ducks (8-15-6)

Last week: 8

After a wild 6-5 overtime win over the Kings to begin the week, the Ducks were back to their regularly scheduled losing. They got outscored 14-2 in dropping three in a row to LA, and not only can the Ducks not score, but now John Gibson is struggling too. After a great start to the season, he’s allowed at least three goals in each of his last 11 games, including five in each of his last three.

Next four games: @ Avalanche, Coyotes (2), @ Wild