Maple Leafs' head coach Randy Carlyle draws up a play in game against the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 7.
Close to one-fourth of the National Hockey League regular season is over. A number of teams have seen a bundle of early success, while others have lost their edge. Certain players have put up remarkable numbers, thus far, while others have had a difficult time adjusting to the condensed schedule.
Boston has won two straight and five of its last six, while Pittsburgh has won five in a row after losing to the New York Islanders, 4-1, on Jan. 29. Chicago, Anaheim and San Jose are off to tremendous starts as well. Still others like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Washington and Philadelphia are looking to get out of an early season funk.
Anaheim's Corey Perry fires a shot on goal against the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 29.
Since their 3-2 shootout loss to San Jose on Jan. 29, the Ducks have won four straight, scoring 15 goals while surrendering six in that span.
Right winger Corey Perry scored in Anaheim’s 7-3 rout over Vancouver to open the season, but has since been nearly invisible on the stat sheet. The 6'3", 210-pound forward has gone eight games without finding the back of the net with just one assist in his last five games.
Bruins' David Krejci celebrates a goal against Montreal on Feb. 6.
The Bruins are off to a tremendous start, as they’ve tallied 15 points in nine games. Boston’s penalty kill and goaltending are a pair of big reasons for its early success.
Boston's power play, though, has struggled drastically. The Bruins have converted three of 34 chances on the man advantage, worst in the entire league.
Buffalo's Ryan Miller allows a goal against Montreal on Feb. 7.
Despite defeating Montreal 5-4 in a shootout Thursday night, Buffalo has lost seven of its last nine. While averaging three goals per game, Buffalo is allowing nearly four goals per contest, dead last in the league.
The combination of Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth isn’t working in Buffalo. Miller is 4-4-1 with a 3.19 GAA while Enroth is 0-2-0 with a 4.73 GAA. The Sabres have allowed three or more goals in nine of their 11 games, thus far.
Flame's goalie Miika Kiprusoff allows a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 2.
The Flames are in the bottom tier of the Western Conference with eight points to show. Though they’ve won two straight, the Flames have struggled killing penalties and keeping the puck out of their own net.
Calgary's penalty kill is a mess. The Flames have been shorthanded 27 times this season and have allowed eight goals. Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is allowing 3.23 goals per game and boasts a save percentage of .870. Goaltending and penalty killing must improve, or the Flames aren’t going anywhere.
Alexander Semin celebrates with his teammates on the Carolina bench in a game against the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 7.
Alexander Semin signed a one-year, $7 million contract with Carolina last summer with hopes of starting fresh with a new team following a seven-year stint in Washington.
So far, Semin has two goals to show for. His first score came on a late third-period power play against Buffalo on Jan. 25. The former Capital notched his second goal of the season on another third-period power play against Ottawa Thursday to tie the game at 2-2. Semin snapped a four-game goal-less skid.
Chicago's Patrick Sharp skates over to celebrate with teammates after a goal against the Phoenix Coyotes on Feb.7.
It’s tough to pinpoint one area the Blackhawks are lacking in. They lead the NHL with 20 points and have yet to lose in regulation.
Chicago’s power play is probably the only minor concern, thus far. The Blackhawks have scored nine goals on 48 chances with the man advantage, 16th in the league.
Colorado's Milan Hejduk skates with the puck in a game against San Jose on Jan. 26.
It took Milan Hejduk nine games before scoring a goal. The 36-year-old Colorado winger has struggled offensively this season, tallying just one point in his last seven games for the Avalanche.
With four wins in 10 games, Colorado needs more productivity from the veteran forward the rest of the season.
Brandon Dubinsky celebrates with teammates after a goal against Minnesota on Jan. 29.
Scoring goals isn’t a strength for Columbus this season. Having only three players with three or more goals, Columbus is in dire need of offense. Center Brandon Dubinsky netted 54 goals from 2009-2011as a member of the New York Rangers. This season, Dubinsky has yet to light the lamp.
Columbus needs more offensive consistency from Dubinsky and veteran forward Vinny Prospal, who has just one goal in his last five games.
Dallas' Brendan Morrow handles the puck against the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 22.
Dallas is holding on for dear life.
A four-game winless streak in late January proved to be a major setback, though Dallas has won three of its last four.
Forward Brenden Morrow recorded 33 goals in 2010-2011, but has tallied just 12 over the past two seasons, including one goal in 11 games this season.
Detroit's Jimmy Howard scrambles for a rebound against the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 25.
The Red Wings got off to a slow start, showed signs of life, went back into a rut, and now, appear to be warming up. Back-to-back losses against teams in the bottom half of the league didn’t seem to phase Detroit, as they took care of St. Louis, 5-1, Thursday.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard is off to a sluggish start. The Red Wings netminder has allowed 11 goals in his last three starts. Howard has yet to record a shutout while allowing three or more goals six times, thus far, for the Red Wings.
Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk makes a save against Colorado on Feb. 2.
Edmonton has gone four straight games without posting a win. The Oilers’ frustrations can be blamed on their goaltending, which has been subpar over the last four games.
Devan Dubnyk has surrendered a combined 12 goals during Edmonton’s four-game winless streak. With a limited supply of offense, Dubnyk needs to elevate his game from here on out.
Florida's Jose Theodore attempts to make a save against Philadelphia on Feb. 7.
Florida has allowed 11 more goals than it’s scored. That combination leads to failure, no matter the team.
Goalie Jose Theodore has a 3.11 GAA combined with a .902 save percentage. Both rank in the bottom tier of the league. The Panthers need to get better at keeping the puck out of their own net while focusing on scoring goals.
Mike Richards scrambles for a rebound against Columbus on Feb. 5.
The Kings are still recovering from their Stanley Cup hangover. The reigning champs have yet to revert back to last season’s form and have struggled to maintain consistency early on this season.
Former two-time 30-goal scorer Mike Richards has just one goal this season, along with veteran forward Justin Williams, who netted 22 goals last season.
Minnesota's Dany Heatley celebrates with teammates after a goal against Nashville on Jan. 22.
With the additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter over the offseason, Minnesota should’ve jumped out of the gates, plowing their opponents.
That hasn’t been the case, as the Wild have dropped three straight. Minnesota hasn’t posted more than one goal in the last three games.
Parise has gotten off to good start, recording 10 points, including six goals in 10 games, thus far. But he can’t win every game by himself.
Forward Dany Heatley needs to pick up the slack for the Wild. The 10-year veteran has gone five games without recording a point, and the Wild could use his stick.
Montreal's Brian Gionta celebrates after a goal against Washington on Jan. 27.
Despite dropping three of its last five, Montreal is off to a good start.
However, the Canadiens need more offense and should turn to right-winger Brian Gionta, who scored 20 or more goals six consecutive seasons.
This season is different. After netting two goals in his first three games, Gionta has gone seven games without a goal. Furthermore, he’s tallied just two points in that span.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz screams at the officials during a game against Los Angeles on Feb. 7.
Nashville has 13 points, so far, and has gotten on the right track after starting 1-2-3 to begin the season.
The offense, however, has been far from adequate. Nashville has recorded 23 goals through 10 games.
With Patric Hornqvist out indefinitely with a leg injury, the likes of Martin Erat, Brandon Yip, Sergei Kostitsyn and David Legwand need to find the back of the net more often.
New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk fires a shot against the New York Islanders on Jan. 31.
New Jersey is off to good start, but forward Ilya Kovalchuk isn’t.
The 10-year veteran winger collected 68 combined goals the past two seasons, but he’s found the back of the net just three times this season.
Kovalchuk’s first four games were promising. He scored two goals and added three assists over that stretch. But since then, it’s been nearly lights out for Kovalchuk who has one goal in his last seven games.
Islander's goalie Evgeni Nabokov freezes the puck against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 31.
The Islanders boast an offense that averages over three goals per game. The problem is allowing too many goals which explains New York’s 4-5-1 record, so far.
New York has lost three of its last five. Over that span, the Islanders allowed 16 goals. Their defense and goaltending need to improve.
Evgeni Nabokov’s 3.00 GAA ranks 27th in the league.
Rangers' Rick Nash prepares for shot against Pittsburgh on Jan. 31.
The Rangers are struggling. There’s no other way to describe them, so far. Offensively, the Rangers are nearly invisible. The power play is near the bottom of the league.
Losing forward Ryan Callahan for an extended period of time because of injury won’t bode well for the Rangers, who need support offensively.
It was believed Rick Nash would boost New York’s offense, but so far, he’s had little impact, scoring just two goals, so far, this season. Prior to this season, Nash netted 30 or more goals in five straight seasons.
Ottawa's Milan Michalek celebrates with teammates after a goal against Carolina on Feb. 7.
Ottawa has allowed the second-fewest goals in the league, thus far. Craig Anderson is off to a brilliant start. Starting 10 of 11 games this season, Anderson boasts the NHL’s second-best GAA, 1.49 and save percentage, .950. The nine-year veteran goaltender is tied for the league lead in wins with a mark of 6-2-2.
At first glance, it appeared Daniel Alfredsson’s age was finally catching up to him. It took the 40-year-old right-winger five games to record his first goal. Since then, he’s added two more to his season total.
Forward Jason Spezza is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery, and Milan Michalek needs to pick up the slack for the Senators. Last season, Michalek netted 35 goals while tallying 60 points.
So far this season, the production hasn’t been up to par. Michalek has just two goals and seven points. The eight-year veteran has gone five games without a goal and has just one point in that span.
Philadelphia's Claude Giroux fires a shot on goal against Florida on Feb. 7.
Few expected Philadelphia to be 4-6-1 this early in the season. The Flyers have lost four of their last six games, including a tough 3-2 shootout loss against Florida on Thursday.
Philadelphia’s offense has gotten off to a sluggish start, as well as its power play and penalty kill. The Flyers are 18th in the league in power-play percentage at 18.4 percent and 22nd in penalty kill percentage at 76 percent.
Second-year center Sean Couturier is in a slump, having just two goals and five points, thus far. Claude Giroux is also off to a rather slow start with one goal and four points in his last nine games.
Pittsburgh's Tyler Kennedy fires a shot against the New York Islanders on Feb. 5.
Pittsburgh is among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Currently riding a five-game winning streak, the Penguins have netted three or more goals in that span.
Forward Tyler Kennedy is battling adversity early on this season. He scored his first goal of the season in the Penguins second game, a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers. Since then, Kennedy hasn’t recorded a point and is a minus-two on the season.
Phoenix's Mike Smith makes a save against Chicago on Feb. 7.
Phoenix was riding a ton of momentum heading into this season. Having reached the Western Conference finals last spring, the Coyotes looked to be a tough team to beat this year.
Though, Phoenix has stumbled early on, losing three of its last five games. With a mark of 4-5-2, the Coyotes are struggling to keep the puck out of their own net.
Mike Smith is 2-3-1 in seven starts this season. His 3.43 GAA ranks 38th in the league. Last postseason, Smith was among the league leaders with a 1.99 GAA in 16 games.
San Jose's Antti Niemi has the puck dribble of his pads against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 5.
San Jose won its first seven games to begin the season, however, the Sharks have since dropped three straight, including a 5-3 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday.
Antti Niemi and Thomas Greiss have allowed nine goals in the last three games. It's something that needs to be addressed for the Sharks.
Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak dives for the puck against the Dallas Stars on Jan. 26.
St. Louis looked to be the team to beat in the Western Conference in the early stages this season. St. Louis whopped Detroit, 6-0, in the opener, and followed up with a tough 4-3 shootout win against Nashville two days later. After falling 3-2 to Chicago on Jan. 23, St. Louis won four straight and looked unstoppable.
The Blues’ fortunes have changed, however. They’ve lost three straight, including a pair of blowouts against Nashville and Detroit this week.
Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott won the William M. Jennings Trophy last season after allowing the fewest combined goals in the league. This season, the duo has struggled. Halak allowed three goals in his last start before injuring his groin, while Elliott has yielded 16 goals in his last three games.
Tampa Bay's Teddy Purcell skates after the puck against the New York Islanders on Jan. 23.
After splitting their first two games, Tampa Bay won five straight, but has dropped its last three, including a 4-2 loss at New Jersey Thursday.
Teddy Purcell netted 24 goals last season, though he has just two goals in 10 games, so far, this season.
Toronto's Phil Kessel celebrates after scoring his first goal of the season against the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 7.
Toronto’s 6-5-0 mark could be better if its special teams could maintain any sort of consistency.
The Maple Leafs’ power play ranks 22nd in the league, and their penalty kill ranks 24th.
Phil Kessel netted his first goal of the season in Toronto’s 3-2 win at Winnipeg Thursday, snapping an 11-game scoreless streak. The next challenge for Kessel will be scoring on home ice—a feat he hasn’t done in 314 days.
Vancouver's Henrik Sedin prepares for a faceoff against the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 30.
Vancouver is off to a 6-2-2 start and is among the top teams in the Western Conference.
Though the Canucks could be better, especially offensively, as they rank 18th in goals per game at 2.6. Henrik Sedin has two points in his last two games, but has yet to record a goal this season for the Canucks. His twin brother, Daniel, snapped a five-game scoreless streak with a goal in the Canucks’ 4-1 win at Minnesota Thursday.
Washington's Alexander Ovechkin fires a shot against Pittsburgh on Feb. 7.
Washington is, perhaps, the biggest disappointment this season, having lost nine of its first 11, including three of its last four.
The offense, which averaged 2.66 goals per game last season, has been a non-factor for first-year head coach Adam Oates who played for seven teams throughout his lengthy NHL career.
Star forward Alex Ovechkin hasn’t been playing up his standards this season. The 27-year-old left-winger has just three goals and seven points and is a minus-five on the season.
Winnipeg's Evander Kane scores a goal and celebrates against the New York Islanders on Jan. 27.
Winnipeg has dropped four of its last five, including a 3-2 loss to Toronto on the heels of 3-2 overtime win against Florida.
Evander Kane was riding a three-game goal streak early in the season, but hasn’t recorded another in his last five games. Kane has eight points this season, including three goals and five assists and is a minus-five.