Here’s an (updated) list of available NHL coaching candidates

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With the Canucks having severed ties with Alain Vigneault, there are now three NHL head-coaching opportunities available: Vancouver, Dallas and Colorado.

And there are about five times the number of potential applicants.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the coaching candidate landscape.

Lindy Ruff: Has been mentioned for pretty much every job that’s come available. The most experienced candidate in the field — at the time of his dismissal in Buffalo, he sat 12th on the all-time wins list (571). But for all that experience, no Stanley Cup.

Alain Vigneault: He and Ruff are the only two Jack Adams winners since 2004 that are currently unemployed. List of accolades for Vigneault is long, and he’s posted at least a .610 winning percentage in each of the last five years. But for all that winning, no Stanley Cup.

Willie Desjardins: The head coach of Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas, Desjardins is well-regarded and won the American League’s coach of the year award in 2013.

Mark Reeds: A bit of a darkhorse candidate (first mentioned as a possibility for the Vancouver job by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos), Reeds is currently serving as one of Paul MacLean’s assistants in Ottawa. A former NHLer, Reeds joined the Sens after a successful career coaching OHL Owen Sound.

Paul Maurice: The former Carolina and Toronto bench boss recently left his post with KHL Metallurg, and could be eying a return to the NHL.

Patrick Roy: As you may have read on this very site, Roy is reportedly close to signing on to coach his former club, the Colorado Avalanche. The knock against Roy is that he’s temperamental — but he has done a solid job coaching QMJHL Quebec, never finishing with less than a .564 winning percentage.

Dave Tippett: One of the most successful NHL coaches over the last 10 years, Tippett currently finds himself in limbo with the Coyotes. He’s reportedly in meetings with GM Don Maloney about his future with the club — his contract expires in June — and, earlier this week, told Fox Sports Arizona that the plan is to “just stay in a holding pattern until the end of June and see how things work out.”

Dallas Eakins: With his Toronto Marlies now eliminated from Calder Cup contention, Eakins — one of the American League’s best coaches over the last few years — looks like a guy ready to make the jump to the NHL. “I’m fully aware there’s been some coaching changes and there’s opportunities out there,” Eakins said, per the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle. “Will we look at them? Absolutely.”

Others: Scott Arniel (former Columbus coach, currently with AHL Chicago), John Hynes (head coach AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), Mark French (head coach AHL Hershey), Mike Kitchen (former St. Louis coach, currently a Blackhawks assistant), Guy Boucher (former Tampa Bay head coach).

The West’s next round is now set (and wide-open)

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Saturday was a great day for fans of brevity and revenge.

Three of a possible three series ended on this day, with the Rangers dispatching the Canadiens, the Blues eliminating the “better” Wild, and the Oilers knocking off the Sharks in six.

The Rangers await either the Bruins or Senators and the Penguins face the winner of the Leafs – Capitals series out East, but we now know how the West shakes out.

St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators

Both teams provided some of the upsets of this young postseason. Each features a red-hot goalie in Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne. Interesting.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers

There will be a lot of orange. We may also see a ton of goals with Ryan Getzlaf on fire, Oscar Klefbom headlining the list of unhealthy players and Connor McDavid possibly able to really take off against a Ducks defense that is beat up in its own right.

It’s already been a strange season out West, with the Kings missing the playoffs and first-round exits for the Sharks and Blackhawks. Get ready – and giddy – for things to get even weirder as the postseason goes along.

Oilers win first series since 2006 after Sharks fall crossbar short of overtime

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After making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Edmonton Oilers weren’t just “happy to be there.” They confirmed as much by eliminating the San Jose Sharks with a 3-1 victory in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

Yes, those young Oilers just eliminated the team that represented the West in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Wow.

Ultimately, winning the breakaway battle in the second period indeed made the difference. Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev scored on their chances in the middle frame while Patrick Marleau could not; Slepyshev’s 2-0 goal ultimately became the series-clincher.

Now, that’s not to say that Marleau was a drag on San Jose. If this is it for one of the faces of the franchise, he had a great 2016-17, including generating the Sharks’ final goal of the postseason.

The Shark Tank was alive after Marleau reduced the Oilers’ lead to 2-1, and more than a few blood pressures rose – both in Edmonton and San Jose – after the Sharks got this close to tying things up.

Wow.

With this result, the West is set. The St. Louis Blues will take on the Nashville Predators while the Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks.

As much as people try to put the training wheels on Connor McDavid & Co., the West is wide-open enough that it’s not so outrageous to imagine a big run for Edmonton.

Beating the Sharks is a pretty nice way of adding an exclamation point to that statement win. And hey … they beat the Sharks last time around, too.

Canadiens sound a lot like Wild after playoff exit (without ‘better team’ talk)

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Much like the Minnesota Wild earlier on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens are stunned to approach the golf courses so rapidly.

Many of the responses after the New York Rangers eliminated them in Game 6 sound a lot like what the Wild uttered, though there’s no potential bulletin board material like Bruce Boudreau’s line about the better team failing to win four games.

Max Pacioretty viewed this early exit as a “missed opportunity” and never really believed that an elimination was coming.

Claude Julien provided parallel comments to Bruce Boudreau, believing that Montreal generated chances but lacked “finish.”

Brendan Gallagher? He worries that this might have been the Canadiens’ best chance, something the Wild must also worry about with a difficult offseason ahead.

Now, it’s likely that most teams speak about being shocked and expecting better after being booted from the postseason.

Still, these reactions do shine a light on the staggering nature of some of these exits. Will the likes of the Blackhawks, Canadiens and Wild struggle to be in such prime positions in the future? With the Sharks needing a comeback against the Oilers, could the trend continue on Saturday?

The bottom line is that, instead of preparing for a Game 7 after winning the Atlantic Division, the Canadiens are packing up their stuff and worrying about re-signing Carey Price. That’s a pretty stunning turnaround, regardless of the soundbytes available.

Video: Draisaitl, Slepyshev score on breakaways, Talbot spurns Marleau

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Some playoff games or even series come down to something as stupidly simple as one team taking advantage of their opportunities while the other fails to capitalize on chances.

If Game 6 of the Oilers – Sharks series follows the story of the second period, then San Jose may join Saturday’s stream of eliminated teams.

It’s not fair to boil it down to three breakaways, but some might feel that way.

Leon Draisaitl looked like a gritty, strong veteran during his first career playoff goal, bulling his way to the net for 1-0 breakaway tally. About a minute later, Anton Slepyshev was even more alone against Martin Jones, and he scored his first postseason goal to make it 2-0.

That stings for the Sharks, and it doesn’t help that they had a similar chance not long after. This time around, Patrick Marleau couldn’t beat Cam Talbot, so it remained 2-0 for Edmonton.

That’s the same score as the game enters the third period, even with some dangerous late chances for the Sharks.

If the Sharks don’t score at least two goals in the third, their push to return to the Stanley Cup Final could end in the first round.