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At the Rink blog

Gagner brings hot stick home to face Leafs

Monday, 02.06.2012 / 4:03 PM

By Neil Acharya - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Gagner brings hot stick home to face Leafs
TORONTO -- Call him Sam the Record Man.

On Thursday, Edmonton center Sam Gagner tied a club record with eight points in an 8-4 win against the Chicago Blackhawks, and he followed that by factoring in on his team's first three goals Saturday's 5-4 shootout win against the Red Wings. Gagner's outburst set a new club record with points on 11 straight Oilers goals.

On Monday, he was named the NHL's First Star of the Week as he prepared to play against his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night

Gagner said he's hungry to continue to make a large-scale impact.

"When you get an opportunity, you want to be the guy that steps up and takes it," said Gagner. "Over the last few games, I have gotten the opportunity to play with Taylor (Hall) and Jordan (Eberle), both great players. I enjoy playing with skilled players, especially of their caliber. I think it brings out the best in me. When you play with guys that skilled, you kind of have to have the mindset that you want to be the guy."

Tonight, Gagner will be playing in front of friends and his family who reside in nearby Oakville, Ont., and include his father, former NHL player Dave Gagner. The senior Gagner was an assistant coach under Dale Hunter with the OHL's London Knights, and has had a massive impact on his son's career.

"He's a guy I owe everything too," said Sam. "We talk so much about the game, and the ups and downs of what it brings. Obviously it took him a few years to become a regular NHLer that put up really good numbers. I try to listen to him as much as I can about what it takes to get through those slumps."

Gagner was in his own slump prior to his record-setting scoring outburst, with no goals and four assists in the 11 prior games.

"I think the advice he has given me, if I didn't have it, I don't know where it would be," said Gagner.

Talk of his scoring has at least changed the discussion from the trade rumors that had surrounded the 22-year-old, now in his fifth NHL season.

"It's tough to deal with that, I've never really dealt with it before," he said. "I think as long as I can continue ... where I am not worrying about the outside factors I can't really control and just worrying about my game and relishing the opportunity that I get every night, than hopefully things can continue to work out and I can continue to grow as a player."
Quote of the Day

I don't think it's really truly going to sink in until we drop the puck, to be honest. I know there's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the media attention and all that. We came [Monday] and it was sort of a light day to get things organized. We just want to focus in on the business aspect, the game itself. That's what we're preparing to do. Get these next couple of days out of the way and it's game on.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on playing in his first Stanley Cup Final