(Want a look into the near-future of the Pacific Division? Stay tuned for this week’s Pacific Division Watch later tonight.)
At this point, it’s not even every other week that the Pacific’s hot teams shift anymore. The Anaheim Ducks sit squarely in the “currently red-freaking-hot” group with the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings at the moment, as they easily dispatched the Edmonton Oilers 4-0.
Teemu Selanne scored what ended up being the game-winning goal just 34 seconds into the game. With 17 goals this season, Selanne is proving that he still has plenty left, even at his advanced age.
Bobby Ryan scored twice while Brandon McMillian scored Anaheim’s other goal as the Ducks cruised to an easy win against the NHL’s lowest ranked teams. Jonas Hiller earned what must have been one of the easiest wins of his career, only needing to stop 12 shots to get his 26th victory of the season.
We’ll provide more analysis of the division later tonight, but the Ducks moved into a virtual tie with the Dallas Stars for first in the Pacific. Dallas is technically ahead of them since they arrived at 68 points in one less game, but the Ducks are extremely close behind with one more win. Meanwhile the San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings are right behind them, with no Pacific team more than three points behind.
It should be awfully interesting to see this one shakes out, as the Pacific is clearly the most competitive division in the league (and might be in the discussion across all sports, too).
Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone: