Let’s ponder the battle for the Pacific Division crown

AP
6 Comments

As difficult as it is to believe that the Anaheim Ducks now sit atop the Pacific Division, it’s even tougher to predict who will finish in first place when the regular season ends.

It doesn’t hurt to try though, right?

More: Read about the Ducks – Kings line brawl and Anaheim’s win

This post takes a quick overview of the roads (sometimes literally) ahead for the Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. For the sake of simplicity, the San Jose Sharks won’t get an in-depth look, but they shouldn’t be totally disregarded; while they’re down four points, their remaining schedule is fairly heavy on home contests.

The incentive to avoid said Sharks in a likely first-round matchup probably trumps the bragging rights of a division title, so let’s take a quick look.

Ducks’ drive

It’s not a bold statement to say that the Ducks are likely to cool off at least a bit. After all, they’re breaking plenty of records lately.

While Monday’s game against the Washington Capitals looms as a fascinating barometer, Anaheim’s schedule becomes especially interesting beginning on March 20.

The bad news for Anaheim is that they end the month with five road games. All of those games are against non-playoff teams, however, so that would be all about maintaining focus and energy.

All things considered, the Ducks’ schedule indicates that an April 7 road game against the Kings could indeed be pivotal.

Kings’ considerations

This current stretch through the middle of March might be Los Angeles’ best opportunity to really stack up points.

The Kings have three games remaining on their five-game homestand. They’ll also play five of their next seven contests at the Staples Center.

Los Angeles faces quite a few challenges against the formidable Central Division, and after looking at the Kings’ schedule, that April 7 game against the Ducks also sticks out like a sore thumb.

***

Long story short, both teams faces some bumps along the way, with the Ducks’ road trip standing out (though only so much).

For all we know, Saturday’s win for Anaheim might just provide the cushion the Ducks need to take the Pacific. A lot can change in a month, however … and don’t be surprised if it all boils down to April 7.