By NHL Public Relations February 23, 2024
The Golden Knights (34-18-5, 73 points), Kings (32-19-7, 71 points), Kraken (32-19-6, 70 points) and Oilers (31-19-8, 70 points) all take to the ice Thursday as the race for top spot in the Pacific Division features four teams separated by three points. Top-seeded Vegas, which clashes with Calgary on ESPN, holds a game in hand on both Los Angeles and Edmonton.
* The Golden Knights, who have held top spot in the Pacific Division for 115 days this season and every day since Feb. 7, return to T-Mobile Arena with a seven-game point streak (5-0-2 since Jan. 28). Reilly Smith (19-19—38 in 57 GP) leads Vegas with 19 goals in 2022-23 and sits one shy of his third 20-goal campaign with the franchise – a feat only two others have accomplished.
* Anze Kopitar (19-32—51 in 58 GP) – within striking distance of a 12th 20-goal campaign – and the Kings have sat atop the division for one day in 2022-23 (Jan. 27). The longtime captain has found the back of the net in each of his past three games and can join a 37-year-old Luc Robitaille (4 GP in 2003-04) as just the second player in franchise history with a four-game goal streak at age 35 or older.
* The Kraken have held the second-most days atop the Pacific Division in 2022-23, doing so for 14 days and 10 consecutive from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6.Meanwhile, Matty Beniers (18-22—40 in 55 GP) leads all rookies in goals and can be the first to reach 20 in 2022-23 – a mark at least one rookie has reached in every campaign since 2013-14. A 10th consecutive season played with at least one rookie 20-goal scorer would be the third-longest stretch in NHL history behind 1967-68 to 1993-94 (27) and 1995-96 to 2011-12 (16).
* Connor McDavid (44-61—105 in 58 GP) leads the Oilers into action after reaching the 800-point milestone in his last contest and now sits one tally shy of establishing a single-season career high in goals (also 44 in 2021-22). Edmonton, which occupied top spot in the Pacific on Oct. 12, 2022, sits three points back of Vegas after trailing the top-seeded team by as many as 13 points this season and can become the first team to overcome a double-digit point deficit to finish atop a division since Florida (17 points, Atlantic) and Anaheim (16 points, Pacific) in 2015-16.
Source: NHL Morning Skate – Feb. 23, 2023