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Gains by Capitals, Sharks, Penguins highlight season's first quarter

Wednesday, 11.26.2008 / 3:32 PM / News

NHL.com

NEW YORK/TORONTO – With Fabian Brunnstrom and Mark Parrish scoring hat tricks in their Dallas debuts, Vancouver's Roberto Luongo posting a shutout streak of 242:36 and youngsters such as Kris Versteeg of Chicago, Drew Doughty of Los Angeles and Derick Brassard of Columbus among the many rookies playing like seasoned veterans, there were numerous noteworthy moments for all 30 National Hockey League teams as the 2008-09 season reached the quarter-mark.

Through the first 308 games of the 1,230-game campaign, the Washington Capitals showed the largest gain in points compared to the first quarter of 2007-08. The Capitals mounted an 11-6-3 record for 25 points through the opening 20 games of their first full season under Coach Bruce Boudreau; they were 6-13-1 for 13 points through the first 20 games last season. The San Jose Sharks (up nine points) and Penguins (up nine points to 27) showed the next-best gains, quarter over quarter.

The club-by-club rundown of highlights through the season's first quarter:

Anaheim Ducks

Following the return of center Ryan Getzlaf from a gum infection Oct. 24 at Ottawa, the line of Chris Kunitz-Getzlaf-Corey Perry combined for 14-33--57 and a +20 rating in 11 games. RW Bobby Ryan has joined Getzlaf and Perry on the top line for the past five games, combining for 5-11--16 with a +6 rating ... Getzlaf assisted on all five Anaheim goals in its 5-4 overtime win over Detroit on Oct. 29 ... After starting the season 1-5-0, the Ducks earned points in nine consecutive games (8-0-1) ... RW Teemu Selanne became the club's all-time leader in assists with his 370th on Nov. 7 against Dallas and tallied his 21st career hat trick – the most among active NHL players – in the victory over Detroit. Selanne tallied his League-leading 11th power-play goal in the win over Colorado Nov. 24 ... Bob Murray was named the sixth general manager in franchise history Nov. 12.

Atlanta Thrashers

Second-year C Bryan Little is second in team scoring with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 20 games. The Thrashers' first pick (12th overall) in the 2006 Entry Draft already has surpassed the point total of his rookie season (6-10--16 in 48 games) ... D Ron Hainsey, a free-agent acquisition over the summer, leads all Thrashers defensemen in scoring with 3-9--12 in 20 games and leads the team in average ice time per game (23:44) ... After starting the season 2-7-2, first-year head coach John Anderson guided the Thrashers to a franchise record-tying five-game win streak Nov. 2-14 ... D Mathieu Schneider played in his 1,200th NHL game Oct. 14 vs. Minnesota. Schneider ranks fourth among active defensemen in games played (1,211), trailing Ottawa's Luke Richardson (1,417), Buffalo's Teppo Numminen (1,335) and Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom (1,272).

Boston Bruins

C Marc Savard, tied for second in the NHL in assists (19), has recorded 225 assists since the start of the 2005-06 season; the only NHL player with more is San Jose's Joe Thornton (272) ... G Tim Thomas became the second goaltender in NHL history to record consecutive 1-0 road victories, blanking Edmonton Oct. 27 and Vancouver Oct. 28. Thomas matched Florida's Craig Anderson, who shut out the New York Islanders and Bruins on Mar. 2 and 4, 2008. He leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.80) and save percentage (.944), stopping 437 of 463 shots ... The Bruins have earned points in 13 of their past 14 games (12-1-1) since Oct. 25, outscoring their opponents 49-26 in that span ... 20-year-old LW Milan Lucic has evoked memories of Bruins legend Cam Neely among the Boston faithful with a thundering hit on Toronto's Mike Van Ryn and hat trick against Atlanta in consecutive games in late October.

Buffalo Sabres

LW Thomas Vanek shares the NHL goal-scoring lead with Philadelphia's Jeff Carter, tallying 15 in 20 games. Vanek notched 11 goals in his first 11 contests; he and Sabres Hall of Famer Rick Martin are the only players in franchise history to accomplish the feat. Vanek, who tallied 43 in 2006-07 and 36 in 2007-08, could lead the Sabres in goals for a third consecutive season ... D Teppo Numminen has made an inspirational return to the NHL after missing the majority of 2007-08 recovering from open heart surgery in September, 2007. Numminen has played in all 20 games and averaged 19:28 in ice time ... Oct. 15 against the Rangers, Lindy Ruff became the fourth head coach in NHL history to win his first 400 NHL games with one team, joining Toe Blake (Montreal), Glen Sather (Edmonton) and Jack Adams (Detroit). Ruff is three wins from tying Jacques Demers and Darryl Sutter for 20th place (409) on the all-time coaching victories list. In his 11th season behind the Buffalo bench, Ruff holds the longest current tenure among NHL head coaches.

Calgary Flames

Among the NHL leaders in ice time in each of the past two seasons, D Dion Phaneuf is playing even more in 2008-09, leading the League with a career-high 28:16 per-game average – five seconds more than second-place Jay Bouwmeester of Florida ... C Mike Cammalleri, acquired from Los Angeles during the off-season, ranks second on the Flames in scoring with 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 21 games. Cammalleri is on pace to challenge his career-high point total of 80, set with the Kings in 2006-07 ... Head coach Mike Keenan, fifth on the all-time coaching victories list with 638, is closing in on fourth-place Pat Quinn (657). Keenan recently moved past Quinn into fourth place on the all-time games-coached list with his 1,319th contest Nov. 8 at Columbus ... G Miikka Kiprusoff has appeared in 21 of Calgary's 22 games and ranks first among NHL goaltenders in shots faced (599).

Carolina Hurricanes

C Eric Staal has played in each of Carolina's 22 games, extending his games-played streak to 276, the longest since the team's relocation to North Carolina in 1997 and the second-longest in franchise history. Staal has missed just one game in four NHL seasons, appearing in 349 of 350 contests ... 36-year-old LW Ray Whitney has continued his prolific offensive production in his 17th NHL season, leading the Hurricanes in scoring with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 22 games ... Peter Laviolette moved past former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach John Tortorella (239) into first place on the NHL's all-time wins list for U.S.-born coaches in a 2-1 win against Ottawa Nov. 7. Laviolette, a native of Norwood, Mass., had passed the legendary "Badger" Bob Johnson (234) following a 3-1 win at Anaheim Oct. 19.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have another Calder Trophy candidate in RW Kris Versteeg, who leads NHL rookies in assists (13), points (20) and plus-minus (+11), and ranks third in goals (seven) ... Nikolai Khabibulin has enjoyed a bounce-back season, posting just one regulation loss in his first 12 decisions (7-1-4) with a 2.51 goals-against average and .920 save percentage ... The Blackhawks, second in the Central Division with 25 points (10-4-5), are on a pace for their best season in points since the 106-point campaign of 1992-93 ... The Blackhawks lead the NHL in attendance, attracting an average of 21,486 fans to their 11 dates at United Center. It marks a 60% increase over last year's average through the corresponding number of games ... 2007-08 Calder Trophy winner Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks and ranks seventh in the NHL in points with 11-14--25 in 19 games.

Colorado Avalanche

C Joe Sakic got his 20th season with the Avalanche off to a fast start by recording points in his first five games. Major League Baseball pitcher John Smoltz, who has been with the Atlanta Braves since 1988, is the only active NHL, MLB, NBA or NFL player to have played all 20 or more career seasons with his original team ... On Nov. 17, 22-year-old C Paul Stastny signed a five-year contract extension beginning with the 2009-10 season. Stastny leads the Avalanche in scoring with 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 20 games ... The Avalanche are 4-0 in shootouts this season and have won eight consecutive shootouts dating back to last year, the longest active streak in the NHL. LW Wojtek Wolski has converted on all three attempts this season and on 10 of 17 (58%) in his career – the second-highest percentage all-time among those with 15 attempts or more (San Jose's Joe Pavelski, 11 for 16, 68.8%) ... D Adam Foote played his 1,000th game Oct. 12 at Edmonton and tied Sandis Ozolinsh for most assists by a defenseman in franchise history with his 181st on Nov. 3 in Chicago.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets boast three of the top NHL rookies in 2008-09. C Derick Brassard, Columbus top pick (sixth overall) in 2006, is second among rookies in scoring with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 19 games and second in plus-minus (+9). RW Jakub Voracek (seventh overall in 2007) ranks third among NHL rookies in assists and fourth in points with 3-8--11 in 20 games. G Steve Mason (69th overall in 2006) was recalled from AHL Syracuse Nov. 4 and made his NHL debut the following night in a 5-4 comeback victory over Edmonton. He went on to record victories in each of his first three starts and is 4-1-1 with a 2.28 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in six appearances ... Captain Rick Nash leads the Blue Jackets in scoring with 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 20 games, including three game-winning tallies  ... LW Jason Chimera, who ranks fourth on the Blue Jackets in scoring with 5-9--14 in 20 games, is well on his way to surpassing his career high of 36 points in 2006-07.

Dallas Stars

In an NHL first for one club, two Stars tallied hat tricks in their club debut. Fabian Brunnstrom became the third rookie in NHL history to tally a hat trick in his first NHL game Oct. 15 against Nashville, joining Montreal's Alex Smart (1943-44) and Real Cloutier (1979-80), while RW Mark Parrish, signed by Dallas as a free agent Nov. 5, notched three goals against Anaheim Nov. 7 ... C Brad Richards, the 2004 Lady Byng Trophy winner as the League's most gentlemanly player, has not taken a penalty in regular-season play since being acquired by Dallas on Feb. 26, 2008. His last minor came with Tampa Bay on Feb. 16, 2008 at Washington -- a span of 34 games ... C Mike Ribeiro has tallied 16 assists in his first 20 games and leads the Stars in scoring (2-16--18) ... LW Loui Eriksson has scored a team-leading nine goals; his previous season high was 14 in 2007-08 ... C Mike Modano has recorded 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 20 games, moving within two of becoming the 31st player in NHL history to reach the 1,300-point plateau (536-762--1,298).

Detroit Red Wings

RW Johan Franzen has continued his remarkable clutch goal-scoring run that began late last season, leading the Red Wings with four game-winning goals. Franzen has scored 14 game-winners in his past 47 games (including playoffs) ... RW Marian Hossa has been a great fit on his new club; he leads the Red Wings in scoring with 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 20 games ... Nicklas Lidstrom became the leader among active NHL defensemen in scoring with his 949th point Nov. 11 against Pittsburgh, passing teammate Chris Chelios. Lidstrom (214-738---952) needs six points to tie Larry Robinson for eighth place all-time among defensemen ... The Red Wings posted a 14-2-4 record in their first 20 games; they went 14-5-1 in 2007-08 en route to the Stanley Cup ... The Red Wings have scored 28 power-play goals in 85 chances for a League-best 32.9% success rate. The last club to finish a season at 25% or better was the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins (26.0%).

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers played 12 of their first 15 games on the road, including a season-high seven-game trip from Oct. 30 to Nov. 10, and posted an 8-6-1 record ... D Sheldon Souray has enjoyed a successful return to action after missing the majority of 2007-08 recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in October, 2007. Souray leads the Oilers in average ice time per game (24:54) and ranks second on the club in scoring with 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 19 games ... Rookie G Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers won each of his first three NHL decisions, capped by 3-2 victory at New York's Madison Square Garden Nov. 10 in which he stopped 40 of 42 shots plus all three shootout attempts ... RW Ales Hemsky again is pacing the Oilers in scoring with 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 20 games. He is set to challenge his single-season high of 77 points in 2005-06 ... D Lubomir Visnovsky, who led Los Angeles defensemen in scoring for each of the past three seasons, is contributing offensively for the Oilers as well; he has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 20 games.

Florida Panthers

D Jay Bouwmeester ranks second in the NHL in ice time, playing an average of 28:11 per game -- 19:44 at even strength, 4:35 on the power play and 3:52 shorthanded. His previous career high was 27:28 last season ... The Panthers' top two scoring defensemen this season were acquired in the off-season: Keith Ballard, obtained from Phoenix on draft day in June, has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 20 games and has logged 24:18 in ice time per game. Bryan McCabe, acquired from Toronto Sept. 2, has nine points (three goals, six assists) in 10 games ... Detroit native LW David Booth tallied his first career hat trick Nov. 9 at Anaheim and leads the club in goals with 10. Booth tallied 22 goals last season, his sophomore NHL campaign ... G Craig Anderson stopped 41 of 42 shots in a 3-1 victory at Ottawa Oct. 22 and turned aside 44 of 45 in a 3-1 win at Anaheim Nov. 9. Anderson has won all six games in which he faced 40 or more shots on goal in calendar year 2008 – all on the road – allowing only six goals on 261 shots.

Los Angeles Kings

D Drew Doughty, picked second overall in 2008, has played in all 20 Kings games and averaged a team-high 23:18 in ice time, including eight games with more than 25 minutes and a season-high 29:04 Nov. 22 against Colorado. Since 1979-80, only two rookie defensemen have played 80 or more games as an 18-year-old: Hartford's Chris Pronger in 1993-94 and Boston's Ray Bourque in 1979-80 ... 23-year-old RW Dustin Brown, named team captain Oct. 8, is tied for third in the NHL in hits with 71. Brown recorded a League-leading 311 hits in 2007-08 and has dished out more than any NHL player since 2005-06 ... D Kyle Quincey, claimed on waivers from Detroit on Oct. 13, leads Kings defensemen in scoring with 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 17 games. The 23-year-old had spent the past three seasons with Detroit's AHL team in Grand Rapids ... G Erik Ersberg, platooning with Jason LaBarbera, has posted a 5-4-2 record with a 2.32 GAA and .898 save percentage in 12 games.

Minnesota Wild

C Mikko Koivu posted 12 assists in his first seven games, the most since Wayne Gretzky had 13 for the Los Angeles Kings in 1993-94; Koivu leads the Wild in scoring with 5-14--19 in 19 games ... The Wild's penalty-killing is the best in the NHL, allowing seven power-play goals in 73 times shorthanded for a 90.4% success rate. No club in the expansion era has finished a season at 90% or better - the 1999-00 Dallas Stars came closest at 89.3% ... G Niklas Backstrom ranks among NHL goaltending leaders in all major categories, including wins (tied for second, 12), save percentage (third, .930), shutouts (T-second, two) and goals-against average (fourth, 2.05). Backstrom has played in 18 of Minnesota's 19 games ... Returning to Minnesota after playing three seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, LW Andrew Brunette has a share of the team goal-scoring lead (six) and ranks third in points (6-5--11 in 19 games). Brunette is the NHL's active leader in consecutive games played (472).

Montreal Canadiens

C Saku Koivu is in his ninth season as Canadiens captain, surpassing the eight-year tenures of franchise greats Toe Blake (1940-41 to 1947-48), Butch Bouchard (1948-49 to 1955-56) and Bob Gainey (1981-82 to 1988-89). Only Jean Beliveau (10 seasons, 1961-62 to 1970-71) has served for a longer duration ... When Koivu faced younger brother Mikko and the Minnesota Wild Oct. 30, it marked the first time brothers serving as team captains have met since Feb. 23, 1991, when the Flyers' Ron Sutter played against the Islanders' Brent Sutter ... Koivu tallied his 600th career point with the Canadiens Oct. 20 against Florida, becoming the 12th player in franchise history to reach the milestone and the second European player to do so, joining Sweden's Mats Naslund (612) ... LW Alex Tanguay, acquired from Calgary in an off-season trade, leads his new team in scoring with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 20 games.

Nashville Predators

Fourth-year D Shea Weber has emerged as an offensive star on the Nashville blueline, leading NHL defensemen in scoring with 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 21 games. Weber is the first NHL defenseman to reach double-figures in goals in a season so quickly since 1987-88, when Buffalo's Phil Housley scored his 10th goal in the Sabres' 15th game and Toronto's Al Iafrate did it in the Maple Leafs' 19th game ... C Jason Arnott is closing in on the 1,000-game milestone. The Predators captain has appeared in 989 games over 15 seasons with Edmonton, New Jersey, Dallas and Nashville ... Predators head coach Barry Trotz coached his 750th career game Nov. 4 at Vancouver, making him the 31st coach in NHL history to attain the mark and only the 10th bench boss to coach 750 games with a single team ... G Dan Ellis set a franchise record with 54 saves in a 4-3 overtime victory at San Jose Nov. 11 -- the only victory recorded by a road club at the Shark Tank this season.

New Jersey Devils

G Martin Brodeur made his 14th consecutive opening-night start with the Devils Oct. 10 against the Islanders – the longest streak with the same club in NHL history – and went on to post a 6-2-2 record, 2.16 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 10 games before being sidelined with an elbow injury. Brodeur needs seven wins to tie Patrick Roy's NHL record of 551 career victories ... Gs Kevin Weekes and Scott Clemmensen have split time in Brodeur's absence, each making five starts in games since Nov. 3. Clemmensen is 3-2-0 with a 2.60 GAA and .909 save %, Weekes is 2-3-0 with a 2.99 GAA and .900 save % ... LW Zach Parise recorded a six-game goal streak (Oct. 18 to Nov. 1), tied with St. Louis' Keith Tkachuk for the longest in the NHL this season and matching the franchise's longest since it moved from Colorado in 1982-83. Parise leads the Devils in goals (13), points (24) and plus-minus (+12) in 20 games ... LW Patrik Elias moved into first place on the team's all-time assist list Oct. 18 at Washington, surpassing Scott Niedermayer (364).

New York Islanders

G Joey MacDonald has excelled in relief of Rick DiPietro, who has been sidelined with a knee injury. MacDonald's seven wins in November are the most by any NHL goaltender. The 28-year-old MacDonald, who entered the season with 17 career NHL appearances with Detroit, Boston and the Islanders over a seven-year pro career, has posted a 9-7-2 record with a 2.78 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.. . . The Islanders' off-season free agent signings have been productive: C Doug Weight leads the team in scoring with 21 points (four goals, 17 assists) in 21 games, while D Mark Streit has logged a team-leading 25:33 in ice time per game and notched 14 points (five goals, nine assists) ... RW Trent Hunter shares the club lead in goals with eight in 21 games, on pace to surpass his career high of 25 set in his rookie season of 2003-04 ... The club's other co-leading goal scorer, captain Bill Guerin, is five goals shy of the NHL Milestone of 400.

New York Rangers

G Henrik Lundqvist has played in 20 of the Rangers' 24 games, posting a 13-5-2 record, 2.09 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. Lundqvist has held opponents to two goal or fewer in 17 of 20 contests and leads all NHL netminders in victories ... RW Nikolai Zherdev, acquired in a July 2 trade with Columbus, and LW Markus Naslund, signed as a free agent the following day, rank 1-2 in team scoring. Zherdev leads the Rangers with 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 24 games, on pace to surpass the career-high 61 points he recorded with Columbus in 2007-08. He also has the team's top plus-minus ranking (+9). Naslund has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists), on track to eclipse the 50-point mark for the 10th consecutive season ... LW Aaron Voros has been difficult for opposing goaltenders and defensemen to handle in front of their net and has contributed offensively, tying for second on the team in goals with seven.

Ottawa Senators

D Filip Kuba recorded at least one assist in each of the Senators' first eight games this season, setting the NHL record for consecutive team games with assists from the start of a season by a defenseman. The previous mark of seven was set by Brad Park with the Bruins in 1981-82 ... Kuba leads Senators defensemen in scoring with 15 points (one goal, 14 assists) in 20 games and leads the club in average ice time per game (24:16) ... Playing for his fifth NHL club in the past four seasons, free agent G Alex Auld has received the bulk of the workload in the Senators' goal, posting a 6-5-3 record, 2.04 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 14 games ... Forwards Dany Heatley (11-9--20), Daniel Alfredsson (5-14--19) and Jason Spezza (7-9--16) are poised to rank 1-2-3 on the Senators' scoring list for the fourth consecutive season ... D Chris Phillips played in his 700th regular-season game with the Senators Oct. 4, joining Alfredsson and Wade Redden as the only players with 700 or more appearances in an Ottawa uniform.

Philadelphia Flyers

18-year-old D Luca Sbisa has earned a regular shift on the Flyers' blueline, playing in all 20 games and averaging 18:38 in ice time. Philadelphia's first pick, 19th overall, in the 2008 Entry Draft, the Ozieri, Italy native took an unconventional path to the NHL, playing minor hockey in Switzerland and one season of Canadian major junior with WHL Lethbridge ... LW Simon Gagne has fashioned one of the top comebacks in the NHL this season, leading the Flyers in scoring and tied for second in the NHL with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 19 games. Gagne, who missed most of the 2007-08 season with a concussion, has recorded four of Philadelphia's League-leading eight shorthanded goals ... C Mike Richards was named Flyers captain during training camp and is off to a career-best start, ranking second on the Flyers with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 20 games ... C Jeff Carter has 15 goals in his first 20 games, sharing the League lead with Buffalo's Thomas Vanek. Carter is on pace to eclipse his career high of 29 set last season.

Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes have four rookies making significant contributions this season: RW Mikkel Boedker (5-5--10, 17:51 in ice time), C Kevin Porter (4-4--8, 13:53), C Kyle Turris (1-4--5, 12:21) and RW Viktor Tikhonov (1-2--3, 11:12) – this after rookie RW Peter Mueller, C Martin Hanzal, LW Daniel Winnik, LW Dan Carcillo and D Keith Yandle played key roles for last year's squad,  ... Playing his first year in Phoenix after seven seasons with the Florida Panthers, C Olli Jokinen has continued to generate offense in his new locale. Jokinen has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 20 games ... LW Shane Doan is well on his way to reaching the 20-goal mark for the ninth consecutive season, leading the Coyotes in scoring with 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in 20 games. The Coyotes' captain has led the club in scoring in each of the past four campaigns ... G Ilya Bryzgalov has started 17 of 20 games, posting a 7-9-1 record, 2.65 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

Pittsburgh Penguins

With the long-term injuries to Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar on the blueline, rookie D Alex Goligoski has stepped up admirably, recording 10 points (four goals, six assists) and logging an average of 19:26 per game ... The Penguins played overtime nine times (winning six of them) in their first 18 games. . . There was plenty of drama in regulation time, too: they rallied from a three-goal deficit to win 7-6 at Detroit Nov. 11, won two games in which they allowed four consecutive goals (vs. Edmonton Nov. 6 and Philadelphia Nov. 13) and gave up a three-goal lead in a loss to Washington Oct. 16 ... Pittsburgh went 5-4-2 in October and is 7-1-1 in November ... C Evgeni Malkin posted the NHL's longest point streak with 27 points in a 13-game stretch from Oct. 16 to Nov. 15. Malkin, who finished second in the NHL's scoring race last season, has opened a four-point gap atop the leader board this year 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 20 games.

St. Louis Blues

LW Keith Tkachuk (509-488--997 in 1,074 games) is three points from 1,000. The native of Melrose, Mass. would be the seventh U.S.-born player to reach the milestone (Mike Modano, Livonia, Mich., 1,298; Phil Housley, St. Paul, Minn., 1,232; Jeremy Roenick, Boston, Mass., 1,208; Joe Mullen, New York, NY, 1,063; Brian Leetch, Corpus Christi, Tex., 1,028; Pat LaFontaine, St. Louis, Mo., 1,013). Tkachuk, who scored in each of his first six games this season, ranks second among St. Louis goal-scorers with nine and is tied for second in the NHL in power-play goals (seven) ... LW Patrik Berglund is tied for fifth among rookie scorers with 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 15 games and is third in plus-minus (+8) ... RW Brad Boyes has continued the momentum from his 42-goal season in 2007-08, posting a team-leading 10 goals in 19 games ... The Blues have excelled on special teams, ranking second on the power play (21 for 86, 24.4%) and third in penalty killing (80 for 92, 87.0%).

San Jose Sharks

Under new head coach Todd McLellan, the Sharks' opening 20-game record of 16-3-1 was among the NHL's best in the past 25 years. Only the 2005-06 Ottawa Senators, who started 17-3-0, were better. The best 20-game start in League history was set by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins (18-2-0) ... Since Feb. 21, 2008, the Sharks have a regular season record of 35-5-3 (17-3-1 this season, 18-2-2 in their last 22 games of 2007-08) ... RW Devin Setoguchi is tied for fifth in the League in goals (12) and tied for 11th in points (24) ... Captain Patrick Marleau shared the team scoring lead after 20 games with 22 points (9-13--22) -- double his total after 20 games in 2007-08 (4-7--11) ... C Joe Pavelski, who has scored on one of two shootout attempts this season, ranks first all-time in shootout percentage (11 for 16, 68.8%) ... Veterans Dan Boyle and Rob Blake rank second and third among NHL defensemen in scoring with 6-12--18 and 2-15--17, respectively.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Captain Vincent Lecavalier tallied his club-leading third game-winning goal in a 4-1 victory over Nashville Nov. 21. Lecavalier has tallied at least six game-winners in each season since 2003-04 and has earned at least a share of the club lead every year since 2005-06 ... RW Mark Recchi ranks third in scoring on the Lightning with 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 20 games. Recchi has recorded 1,394 career points (526 goals, 868 assists) in 1,430 games, tied for 19th place on the all-time games list with Luc Robitaille. He needs four points to tie 18th-place Jari Kurri ... C Steven Stamkos posted season highs of nine shots on goal and 17:55 in ice time against Florida Nov. 18 and recorded his first career multi-assist game with a pair against Nashville Nov. 21. Stamkos has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 20 games and leads all rookies in shots (46) ... G Mike Smith has posted a 1-0-2 record with 1.89 GAA in his past three starts and has posted a 5-4-5 mark in 14 games this season. He ranks second among NHL goaltenders in save percentage (.932).

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs moved up from the seventh overall Entry Draft selection to grab D Luke Schenn at #5 last June. The 19-year-old has played in all 21 games for Toronto and ranks second among rookies in average ice time per game (20:53) ... C Mikhail Grabovski leads all NHL rookies with nine goals and ranks third in points (9-5--14 in 21 games) ...
C Matt Stajan is enjoying a career year, leading the Maple Leafs in assists (14), points (20) and power-play goals (four). He already has set a career high in power-play goals and is on pace to eclipse single-season marks for goals (16), assists (29) and points (39) ... D Tomas Kaberle ranks 11th among NHL defensemen in scoring with 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in 21 games. Playing in his 10th NHL season, all with Toronto, Kaberle ranks third on the Maple Leafs' all-time scoring list among defensemen with 417 points (71 goals, 346 assists), trailing only Borje Salming (768) and Tim Horton (458).
 
Vancouver Canucks

G Roberto Luongo went a franchise-record 242:36 without allowing a goal in a five-game stretch from Nov. 2-12, a streak that included consecutive shutouts against Nashville, Phoenix and Minnesota. The Canucks captain appeared in 19 of the Canucks' first 21 games, posting an 11-5-2 record, 2.17 goals-against average and .928 save percentage, prior to suffering a groin injury ... C Kyle Wellwood, who had been placed on waivers Oct. 17, available for claim by the other League clubs, has scored eight goals in 16 games since being recalled from the Canucks' AHL affiliate in Manitoba in mid-October ... D Mattias Ohlund is 13 points shy of becoming the Canucks' all-time scoring leader among defensemen. With 309 points (89 goals, 220 assists), he trails co-leaders Dennis Kearns and Jyrki Lumme (321) ... Daniel and Henrik Sedin lead the Canucks in scoring with 10-11--21 and 3-18--21, respectively. The Sedins have finished 1-2 in team scoring for each of the past two seasons ... D Willie Mitchell leads the Canucks and ranks second in the NHL in plus-minus with a +16 rating.

Washington Capitals

The Capitals' top four scorers all are under the age of 25: LW Alexander Semin (13-14--27) is 24, LW Alex Ovechkin (9-16--25) is 23, C Nicklas Backstrom (9-16--25) turned 21 on Sunday and D Mike Green (7-9--16) is 23 ... Despite missing Washington's past five games due to injury, Semin is tied for second in NHL scoring and leads all players in plus-minus (+17) ... Ovechkin and Backstrom rank 1-2 in League scoring in November with 7-13--20 and 5-11--16, respectively. Backstrom has the NHL's longest active point streak (nine games), followed by Ovechkin (eight) ... Head coach Bruce Boudreau celebrated his first anniversary behind the Capitals' bench Nov. 22. In 82 games at the helm, Boudreau has posted a 48-24-10 record for 106 points; for perspective, Washington's franchise record for points in a season is 107, set by the 1985-86 team ... The Capitals (7-0-1) and San Jose Sharks (11-0-1) are the only two teams in the NHL without a regulation loss at home. Washington is unbeaten in regulation in its past 14 regular-season home games (13-0-1).

Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com