LA Kings: West Division power rankings after Week 10

LA Kings (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche are in a heavyweight tilt for the top spot while the LA Kings are still hanging around the playoff race.

Things are starting to heat up in the West Division.

The Colorado Avalanche have been trying to put pressure on the Vegas Golden Knights for the top spot by winning six games in a row, only for the Golden Knights to match the Avalanche win for win with a six-game winning streak of their own before it came to an end with a 3-1 loss to the LA Kings on Sunday.

The race for first place should be fun to watch. If you’re a Kings fan, though, you may be keeping a closer eye on the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild. Barring a shocking collapse from Vegas or Colorado, LA will have to beat out one of those teams to make the playoffs. With 26 games remaining, the Kings sit five points back of each of them, with a game in hand on the Blues and one more game played than the Wild.

Here’s how the Kings and the rest of the division stack up in the latest edition of our power rankings.

1. Vegas Golden Knights (21-7-1)

Last week: 1

The Golden Knights turned things up late in Sunday’s game at Staples Center but couldn’t complete the comeback. The loss itself shouldn’t be that concerning for them, though they should have their fingers crossed that Max Pacioretty, their leading goal scorer who sat out the game with a lower-body injury, doesn’t need to miss an extended period of time.

Next four games: Blues, @ Avalanche (2), Kings

2. Colorado Avalanche (19-8-2)

Last week: 2

The Avalanche are healthy now and starting to round into form. They have routinely outshot teams significantly over their six-game winning streak and just outscored the Wild 11-1 in taking back-to-back games from them. Their plus-32 goal differential is now the best in the division. A big pair of home games against Vegas loom later this week.

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

3. St. Louis Blues (16-10-5)

Last week: 4

The Blues snapped a five-game losing streak with a pair of much-needed wins over the Sharks. Going into Saturday’s contest, having scored just one regulation goal in each of their last three games, their offense exploded in a 5-2 win. David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly each had four points, while Jordan Kyrou chipped in three of his own.

Next four games: @ Golden Knights, @ Wild, Ducks (2)

4. Minnesota Wild (18-10-1)

Last week: 3

The Blues did less to move up a spot than the Wild did to move down one, getting blown out in back-to-back games in Colorado. The Avs are on another level right now, but those were still discouraging performances for a Minnesota team trying to prove it’s a legitimate contender.

Next four games: Ducks (2), Blues, @ Sharks

5. LA Kings (13-11-6)

Last week: 5

Not a bad little Sunday for your LA Kings. First, they got Matt Roy signed to a contract extension. Then they celebrated his new deal by snapping the Golden Knights’ winning streak at six games. Sunday’s 3-1 victory was the Kings’ first win in four games against the Knights this season, and they’ve now beaten every team in the West Division this year.

Cal Petersen made 41 saves against Vegas, including 23 in the third period. At this point, there really isn’t even a goaltending “controversy” in LA. Petersen clearly gives the Kings a better chance of winning at this point, and if they really want to make a run at a playoff spot, they should be leaning on him heavily the rest of the way.

Petersen got a little help from Drew Doughty yesterday too…

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

6. Arizona Coyotes (13-13-5)

Last week: 6

Derrick Brassard scored a hattrick to lead the Arizona Coyotes to a 5-1 win over the Ducks on Saturday, snapping a five-game losing streak in the process. Incredibly, the Coyotes aren’t completely out of the playoff race in the West — they’re six points back of the Blues for fourth place with 25 games to go — but there haven’t been a lot of encouraging signs lately.

7. Sharks (11-14-4)

Last week: 7

GM Doug Wilson has all but publicly thrown in the towel on this season.

Looking at the Sharks right now as they suffer through a second straight miserable season, it’s hard to share Wilson’s optimism that things will be much better next year. From scoring goals to goaltending to special teams, this team needs to improve in a lot of areas. Maybe Wilson has something big up his sleeve for the offseason. For now, they’re going to try to play spoiler to the Kings’ playoff hopes this week.

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

8. Ducks (9-17-6)

Last week: 8

It’s been an ugly season, but it had to be fun for Ducks fans to watch Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale each score their first career goal in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Coyotes last Thursday.

Next four games: @ Wild (2), @ Blues (2)