The Vancouver Canucks lost nine straight games from Oct. 22 to Nov. 7, including eight straight losses in regulation.
Yet the Canucks — who haven’t exactly caught fire since that losing streak, going a respectable 6-3-1 in 10 games — woke up this morning just five points out of first place in the Pacific Division.
In any other division, they’d be at least 11 points back of first.
Here’s how things look after last night’s action, which included victories for the Canucks, Ducks, and Sharks:
The Edmonton Oilers were the division leaders 24 hours ago, but their 4-2 loss to Toronto cost them two spots in the standings.
Based on goal-differential, it would appear to be a four-team race for the three automatic playoff spots. And that may, indeed, be how it goes. The Sharks are the defending conference champs; the Kings are getting healthier and starting to roll; the Ducks have no shortage of talent; and the Oilers, well, the Oilers have Connor McDavid.
But as long as the Canucks and Flames — and okay fine, the Coyotes too — can stay within striking distance of third place, there remains the possibility that one of them goes on a run and makes things interesting down the stretch.
We saw in 2014-15 what happened when the Kings let the Flames stick around. Most believed the Kings would find a way in the end, but they didn’t, becoming the first defending Stanley Cup champion to miss the playoffs since the 2006-07 Carolina Hurricanes.