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NHL.com looks at the Pacific's second half

How will the Pacific Division shape up by season's end?

by Brian Hunter @BrianHunterNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com looks at how each team shapes up entering the stretch run in the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The NHL All-Star break has come and gone, and the 10-week sprint to the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins Tuesday.

Few teams have pulled far enough away from the pack to be looking ahead to the postseason or dropped far enough below it that they're out of contention. Eighteen of the 30 teams are within 10 points of one another; only 10 of those teams will make the playoffs.

Here's a look at how the seven teams in the Pacific Division shape up entering the race for the postseason:

LOS ANGELES KINGS (30-16-3, 63 points, 1st in division, 4th in Western Conference)

Remaining games: 33 (16 home, 17 away)

Special teams: Power play 20.4 percent (T-7th); penalty kill 82.3 percent (11th)

What's gone right: Unlike recent seasons when the Kings had to fight to make the playoffs (2012, 2013) or missed them entirely (2015), they have spent most of this season leading the Pacific. Offseason acquisition left wing Milan Lucic has fit right in at power forward, currently alongside center Anze Kopitar and right wing Tyler Toffoli on the top line, and veteran forward Vincent Lecavalier has been revitalized as the third-line center since arriving in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 6. Defenseman Drew Doughty could challenge his NHL-high in goals and is third in the League in average ice time per game at 28:01.

What's gone wrong: Forwards Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown haven't produced much on the wings, and Los Angeles sits right in the middle of the pack averaging 2.59 goals per game. That hasn't mattered much with Jonathan Quick in net most nights, but secondary scoring could be a factor come April and beyond.

Needs: Getting Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Flyers helped address forward depth and defensive experience after Matt Greene sustained a long-term shoulder injury. But the Kings could look for more in those areas. Christian Ehrhoff and Jamie McBain have struggled to hold down a steady role as the sixth defenseman.

Trophy hopefuls: Quick (Vezina), Doughty (Hart, Norris), Kopitar (Selke), Darryl Sutter (Adams)

Schedule: Eight of the Kings' next nine games are on the road, including a seven-game trip featuring four games against Metropolitan Division teams, the Presidents' Trophy-leading Washington Capitals among them. Then they come home to play eight of nine at Staples Center.

Outlook: Los Angeles has been equally good at home and on the road; assuming the Kings don't go into a complete tailspin coming out of the break they should be in prime position to take control of the Pacific when their lengthy stretch at home begins and start building toward another run at the Stanley Cup.

SAN JOSE SHARKS (26-18-4, 56 points, 2nd in division, 6th in Western Conference)

Remaining games: 34 (17 home, 17 away)

Special teams: Power play 22.5 percent (3rd); penalty kill 79.3 percent (24th)

What's gone right: New coach Peter DeBoer has the Sharks poised to return to the playoffs after their first miss in 11 seasons. Joel Ward has been an excellent addition up front, Joe Pavelski is having another first-rate season and returning Brent Burns to defense has bolstered the Sharks' production from the back end, with Burns on pace for his best offensive NHL season. Trading for goalie Martin Jones has given them a reliable No. 1 on a nightly basis.

Video: Joe Pavelski's falling-down spin-o-rama

What's gone wrong: San Jose has had to play a significant amount of the season without one of its top forwards in Logan Couture, who missed time early because of a fractured right fibula at the ankle, and after returning for two games needed to have a procedure to repair a small arterial bleed in his thigh. San Jose was bad at home in the first half but seems to have remedied that with a 5-0-2 stretch at SAP Center heading into the break.

Needs: A veteran defenseman to take some of the pressure off young players like Dylan DeMelo. Depending on whether forward Raffi Torres is able to make a successful return to the NHL, the Sharks also could seek depth up front. Torres, who has played five NHL games since the start of the 2013-14 season, is on a conditioning assignment with San Jose of the American Hockey League.

Trophy hopefuls: Pavelski (Hart, Selke)

Schedule: Nine of their first 11 games out of the break are on the road, which bodes well if the Sharks can maintain a pace that has seen them go 16-6-2 away from SAP Center; their 34 road points are second in the League behind the Washington Capitals. The month of March features a six-game homestand concluding with their only remaining regular-season game against the Kings.

Outlook: An overtime loss to the Kings on Jan. 24 in a game the Sharks led until the final seconds of regulation resulted in a three-point swing in the standings in the Kings' favor; however, the Sharks remain confident they still can challenge for the division title. Even if that doesn't happen a veteran group led by Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau should ensure they get back in the postseason.

ARIZONA COYOTES (24-20-5, 53 points, 3rd in division, 9th in Western Conference) 

Remaining games: 33 (16 home, 17 away) 

Special teams: Power play 17.8 percent (17th); penalty kill 76.6 percent (28th) 

What's gone right: Growing pains were expected and have come with so many young players, but forwards Max Domi and Anthony Duclair are two of six NHL rookies to have hat tricks this season and are tied for third on the Coyotes in goals. Domi also is third in points, Duclair sixth. Forward Shane Doan, the Coyotes' 39-year-old captain, leads them with 17 goals. Goalie Louis Domingue has been a revelation, keeping this surprise team afloat with No. 1 goalie Mike Smith out. 

What's gone wrong: Losing Smith to surgery to repair a core muscle injury could have been devastating had Domingue not stepped up. It still leaves Arizona thin at the position until he returns, with Anders Lindback having been underwhelming in a backup role. Arizona also has the third-worst penalty kill in the League, averages the second-fewest shots at 27.4 per game and has a minus-15 goal differential. 

Needs: A penalty-killing forward couldn't hurt, nor could a veteran defenseman as Arizona is young and somewhat inexperienced at the position beyond Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Zbynek Michalek and Nicklas Grossmann.

Trophy hopefuls: Domi (Calder), Duclair (Calder), Ekman-Larsson (Norris), Dave Tippett (Adams) 

Schedule: Clinging to a two-point lead for third place in the division and an automatic playoff berth, the Coyotes will get tested immediately out of the break with home games against the Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, who have combined to win the Stanley Cup in five of the past six seasons. Seven of the Coyotes' next nine games are at Gila River Arena, but the payback for that is a five-game road trip to end February and a four-game trip in early March. The regular season concludes with another four-game trip. 

Outlook: Tippett has the Coyotes achieving more than was expected of them this season, but they're going to have to hold off some battle-tested teams to reach the playoffs for the first time since a run to the 2012 Western Conference Final. Whether they make it will depend heavily on Domingue continuing to hold the fort until Smith is healthy at some point in February and the veteran can take the reins from there. 

ANAHEIM DUCKS (22-18-7, 51 points, 4th in division, 10th in Western Conference)

Remaining games: 35 (15 home, 20 away)

Special teams: Power play 18.9 percent (12th); penalty kill 89.6 percent (1st)

What's gone right: John Gibson has emerged as the No. 1 goalie Anaheim anticipated he would be when he made his NHL debut during the 2013-14 season and won his first five starts, including two during the playoffs. Forward Corey Perry, who early on looked as if he would struggle to score 20 goals all season, had 10 in his final 15 games before the All-Star break to hit that mark and now is on pace for 35 goals. The penalty kill is the League's best and the power play has been decent considering Anaheim's scoring issues.

Video: ANA@DET: Perry dazzles on way to go-ahead goal

What's gone wrong: The Ducks' 99 non-shootout goals and 2.11 goals-per-game average rank 30th in the League despite the Ducks being ninth with an average of 30.6 shots per game. It suggests a number of players with abnormally low shooting percentages (Ryan Getzlaf, Jakob Silfverberg, etc.) could be in line for better fortunes down the stretch. But the bottom line is they need to find more offense somewhere.

Needs: There aren't a lot of impact scorers up for grabs but it would behoove Anaheim to try to make a trade for one. Gibson's emergence may have made goalie Frederik Andersen expendable; he has been limited to seven games during the past two months, and there is an NHL-caliber backup playing in the AHL in Anton Khudobin.

Trophy hopefuls: Gibson (Vezina)

Schedule: With a seven-game road trip from Feb. 8-18 awaiting them and a five-game trip in March, the Ducks will have to improve upon their 8-10-3 record away from Honda Center if they're going to challenge for the playoffs. They also have a game against the Capitals at Verizon Center that was postponed due to a snowstorm and has to be rescheduled.

Outlook: One win from making the Stanley Cup Final last spring, this season will go down as a disappointment if the Ducks fail to play beyond Game 82. Whether it's engineering a trade or getting some puck luck, the Ducks must find consistent offense to take the pressure off Gibson to make every save. Otherwise they're likely to remain on the outside looking in.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (20-19-11, 51 points, 5th in division, 11th in Western Conference)

Remaining games: 32 (19 home, 13 away)

Special teams: Power play 16.8 percent (24th); penalty kill 80.5 percent (18th)

What's gone right: Any concern the Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin might slow down appears to have been unfounded; Daniel Sedin already has his most goals in a season since 2011-12 and passed Markus Naslund for the all-time Canucks lead in the process. Henrik Sedin is right behind him for second on the Canucks in points despite missing six games because of injury. Forward Jannik Hansen is two goals from a new career-high, and young forwards Bo Horvat and Jared McCann are holding their own.

Video: VAN@PIT: Hansen earns hat trick to keep Canucks in it

What's gone wrong: The Canucks have struggled in games ending in overtime, losing nine of their 12 games decided in the new 3-on-3 format. Had they managed to secure that second point even half of the time, they'd be occupying a playoff spot. There also are some veterans who need to step up; forward Radim Vrbata, who had 63 points last season, is on pace for 37, and Alexandre Burrows is on pace for 23.

Needs: Defensive depth. Dan Hamhuis has been limited by injury to 27 games and the Canucks are thin beyond the top pairing of Alexander Edler and Christopher Tanev. An experienced goal-scoring forward also would help.

Trophy hopefuls: Daniel Sedin (Hart)

Schedule: Although they're tied in points with Anaheim and two behind Arizona, games in hand could be a factor Vancouver has played three games more than Anaheim and one more than Arizona. The remaining schedule is friendly with 14 of 19 at home coming out of the break, but Vancouver has to do better than its current 9-9-4 record at Rogers Arena for that to mean much.

Outlook: As coach Willie Desjardins attempts to steer the Canucks into the playoffs for a second straight season, he faces a big decision with his goaltending. Jacob Markstrom is putting together his best NHL season and has better numbers than veteran Ryan Miller. The quality of play the Canucks get from that position down the stretch, and whether they can improve on the League's 24th-best offense, will go a long way in determining their fate.

CALGARY FLAMES (21-24-3, 45 points, 6th in division, 13th in Western Conference)

Remaining games: 34 (17 home, 17 away)

Special teams: Power play 13.5 percent (30th); penalty kill 75.7 percent (29th)

What's gone right: There has been no sophomore slump for forward Johnny Gaudreau, who is a point-per-game player. Captain Mark Giordano has fully recovered from the torn biceps tendon that ended his 2014-15 season and is anchoring the Flames' defense. The Flames have been able to settle on a No. 1 goalie and Karri Ramo has been a workhorse, with his numbers gradually starting to resemble those of last season. A franchise-record 11-game home winning streak helped keep them close to a playoff spot. 

What's gone wrong: As evidenced by the numbers above, special teams have doused the Flames' hopes. With a handful of extra power-play goals or successful penalty kills, they could be in far better position to challenge for a playoff berth. A difficult opening month, in which they went 3-8-1 and didn't win their first game in regulation until Oct. 31, put them behind the eight-ball from the start. 

Needs: A top-line right wing to play alongside Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Calgary has cycled through at least half-dozen options trying to find someone who sticks. Micheal Ferland, more of an energy-type player, had the role recently; Mason Raymond, who has five points this season, was in that spot Wednesday against the Nashville Predators. 

Trophy hopefuls: Sam Bennett (Calder) 

Schedule: Calgary plays three of its first four games out of the break at home against Eastern Conference opponents, none of which currently hold a playoff spot. Calgary gets a six-game homestand in March but also has a couple of four-game road trips.

Outlook: A feel-good story in 2015 after making the playoffs for the first time in six years and advancing to the Western Conference Second Round, the Flames will have their work cut out to get back. The pieces are there, however, for an entertaining stretch drive.

EDMONTON OILERS (19-26-5, 43 points, 7th in division, 14th in Western Conference) 

Remaining games: 32 (17 home, 15 away) 

Special teams: Power play 16.6 percent (26th); penalty kill 80.8 percent (16th) 

What's gone right: The Oilers added experience and stability during the offseason by hiring general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Todd McLellan, and they're on pace to finish with 70 points, which would be their most since the 2011-12 season. Cam Talbot signed a three-year extension and could be the No. 1 goalie the Oilers have been seeking for years. Taylor Hall continues to produce at an elite level, Leon Draisaitl is developing well and top pick Connor McDavid looked as advertised in 13 games before sustained a broken left clavicle.

What's gone wrong: McDavid hasn't played a game since Nov. 3, when he was hurt during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Without their generational talent the Oilers have made some strides this season, but not to the degree many had hoped. They're once again last in the conference and would have to climb over four division rivals in order to secure their first playoff berth since going to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

Needs: Mostly patience as their young nucleus continues to develop. The Oilers have the fourth-worst team goals-against average in the League, something that figures to improve as defensemen like Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart gain experience and grow into their roles. Center depth should be explored, as injuries to McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins exposed them down the middle.

Trophy hopefuls: Hall (Hart)

Schedule: The Oilers have homestands of six and five games remaining and a couple of four-game road trips. They play their first six games out of the break against Eastern Conference opponents. The final seven games are all within the division, providing the Oilers an opportunity to have an impact on the playoff race, even if it's as a spoiler.

Outlook: The Oilers are focused on the future but that doesn't mean they can't drum up a lot of optimism from their fan base during the next two months. McDavid is poised to return after the break, and if he can help them at least remain on the fringe of the playoff picture it will build momentum for an exciting first season in 2016-17 in their new arena, Rogers Place.

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