Crosby and Malkin Leading the NHL, Nicklas Lidstrom Hits a Dry Spell

R LSenior Analyst INovember 30, 2008

The Los Angeles Kings above .500 at the quarter-point of the season? Say it ain't so. Things seem to be finally looking up in La La Land.

Kyle Quincey. Living proof that if you give a guy a shot, he can surprise the heck out of you. Although he deserved a spot on the Red Wings roster ahead of a few regulars in the lineup, Detroit didn't see it in him.

Now in Los Angeles, the 23-year-old has 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 19 games with the Kings. Memo to the Red Wings staff: what were you thinking?


Say hello to numbers one and two in the NHL Art Ross Trophy race. You may as well, they're on the same team. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin just gave the opposition plenty of problems this week. Crosby struck for six goals to go along with three helpers. His Russian teammate, meanwhile, lit the lamp three times, and added five assists. Now you know why fantasy owners pick up any player who gets to play with these two on their line.

The numbers tell the tale. Simon Gagne isn't ceasing his great year. Philadelphia boasts a strong squad, but it's the Quebec native who is firing on all cylinders. Two goals and four assists in six games this week. Only on three occasions has he not produced a point this year.

Enigma? No. Bright star? Yes. You're looking at the new and improved Nikolai Zherdev. Broadway doesn't seem to be bringing a sense of nervousness to the Ukrainian's game. He leads the Rangers with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 27 games. A goal and five helpers led New York to three victories in four matches this week.

The first goal of the season can be the toughest to achieve for some. Now that it's out of the way, Jay Bouwmeester can get that offensive side of his started. His five points (two goals, three assists) this week were nearly more than half of his total coming into action Monday.

Remember Alexander Ovechkin's goal against the Phoenix Coyotes? Who doesn't? Mikko Koivu treated the NHL world to his own version. The Wild were hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Finn was coming towards goal from the left side. He cut around a sliding defenseman to get to the front of the net, fanned on his first shot, got knocked down, but had the presence of mind to backhand the loose puck past Mike Smith while falling. I'm glad Koivu totalled six points this week because I was just dying to write about that goal.

Speaking of Alexander Ovechkin, doesn't that early slump of his seem like ancient history? The Great Eight added five more tallies to his goal total this week. It's worth mentioning that three goals came against the Atlanta Thrashers. Those of you who are unaware, No.8 loves playing them more than any other team and always seems to pile up stats in the process.

Switzerland is beginning to produce some great talents in the hockey world. Jonas Hiller could be the next contribution. The 26-year-old has won his last five starts with two shutouts to boot. J.S Giguere may want to practice a little harder to ensure his job as No.1 goalie is secure.

Fourth-line players don't get much recognition in the NHL. Curtis Glencross is proving to be extremely dependable on both ends of the ice for Calgary. Three goals and four assists in his last four games. More ice time? I think it's only right for a hardworking player like Glencross.

Ryan Clowe lent a helping hand to his San Jose Sharks teammates in the past few games. By that, I'm referring to his six assists in three contests. With 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 24 games, is this the 26-year-old's big year?

Well, look who decided to join the party. Shawn Horcoff has begun to perform to the best of his abilities. The Oilers lost two of three this week, but the blame can't be put on the native of British Columbia who racked up five points (one goal, four assists). With eight points in the last five matches, Horcoff looks like himself.

If these performances continue, Manny Fernandez may be packing his bags to a starting goalie position in another city. His 7-1-1 record is dazzling, and the 34-year-old has won his last six starts. The latest win came against Detroit yesterday with only one goal against, and a .967 save percentage.


Ovechkin's goal-scoring slump a few weeks ago is an indication that cold streaks happen to the best of them. Ray Whitney has gone pointless in Carolina's last five games. The wizard has been playing well this year. Problem is, the Hurricanes have seen defeat in four of five games.

The other night in Long Island, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson produced two points apiece for the Ottawa Senators. Jason Spezza had a single point. That seems to be a summary of the former Windsor Spitfire's season thus far. His 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 22 games are relatively good, but nowhere near the norm. With five points in the last 13 games, the native of Toronto hasn't had a multi-point game since October 27th in Buffalo.

When opportunity strikes, do your best to take full advantage. Cristobal Huet received back-to-back starts in goal for the Chicago Blackhawks on the weekend. The first was a 1-0 loss in Anaheim, followed by a 5-2 thrashing in Los Angeles. Just out of curiosity, who's the third-string goalie in the Windy City?

Sophomore slump is putting it freely when discussing Sam Gagner's second year in the NHL. A few players have scored as many points in one game as his season total (five points). Alexander Semin is one of them if you don't have faith in my information.

Rich Tocchet is in the unfortunate position as Tampa Bay Lightning head coach. If he wasn't, you can bet your money he'd be talking to a bookie about the odds on his team's opponents. With four straight losses, don't gamble on these fellas anytime soon.

Boston's great record hasn't resembled Patrice Bergeron's performances. That could be frightening. The season still has plenty of games remaining, and the 15 points in 24 games should see rising. It's unknown if the 23-year-old is 100 percent after the Randy Jones hit from last season, but he's hit five points in the last six games.

Like a quarterback, Tomas Kaberle's contributions are tremendously valuable to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Czech has one assist in the last five games after a four-game point streak which resulted in seven points (one goal, six assists). I'm surprised Don Cherry hasn't ran his mouth about this topic.

Milan Hejduk would like to forget the last four games. The only numbers on the stat sheets are a combined minus -2 rating. Those who are aware of his value should know the sniper that he's gotten a reputation of being. Don't lose hope.

Be aware, the Norris Trophy could be up for grabs. Nicklas Lidstrom may not have it in him to win the award yet again. The Swede has gone pointless in seven of the last eights games. It may be time to pass the torch to the next great defenseman in hockey.

Not again. I've lost count of how many times Marty Turco has appeared in the not section. Dallas won two of four this week, which is...well, respectable. However, the All-Star allowed a total of 15 goals and didn't have a save percentage above .900 in any of the contests. If these numbers don't change, he may not see action against the Red Wings this season.

It was a good start to the season for Wade Redden. It's too bad the season isn't three games long because the defender would have finished with a point per game average. On a serious note, with 10 points in 27 games, things aren't looking good for Redden. Even worse is the extended ice time going to the likes of Daniel Girardi and Michal Rozsival.