Everything is coming up Luke Philp right now.
The rookie forward kicked off his pro career without a point in his first 10 games as he adjusted to life in the AHL.
He shook the gorilla off his back in the Heat's 6-3 matinee win over San Diego on Nov. 11, and there's been no slowing him down since.
Ten games. Twelve points. Nine goals.
So what led to the breakout?
"I can't pinpoint anything in particular," said Philp. "Just shooting the puck as much as I can, driving to the net. A lot of my goals are around the paint, so I'll continue to do that."
Heat bench boss Cail MacLean was a tad more descriptive on the rookie's offensive upswing follow Philp's two-goal effort in Saturday's 7-3 win.
"He's a hard-working guy with good hockey sense," said MacLean. "He's very shifty in terms of his feet and his hands, being able to move quickly. It's sort of a graduation of him figuring the league out. Nine goals in 10 games is quite a pace, and no one is going to put pressure on him to keep that up, but if he can continue to score on a consistent basis that's really good. It's not by mistake, let's say that."
Philp paced the Heat with three goals on the week as Stockton split a pair of divisional games at home. It was a repeat of a familiar script, the Heat battling hard in a loss but quickly rebounding to add to the yearly point total in the next outing.
Matthew Phillips scored a goal in both of Stockton's games last week and has totaled nine points with four goals in Stockton's last five games. He's seventh in the league in scoring with 25 points in 22 games.
"The thing you like about Matthew is he's winning some battles against much bigger opponents, retaining pucks," said MacLean. "When he's able to do that he's going to have it more, and you just do the math from there. When he has (the puck) more, he's going to make more plays. The effort and the compete are really good, and that translates into some good numbers."
Three more divisional games await Stockton in this week's slate, a midweek tilt with Ontario and a twin bill against the San Jose Barracuda over the weekend.
- Stockton is one of just three AHL teams who have yet to lose consecutive games in regulation this season, joined by only Rochester and Milwaukee. Stockton is 5-0 in bounce-back games.
- Artyom Zagidulin made 64 saves in two appearances last week, including a 28-stop showing in relief on Wednesday and a 36-save effort in Saturday's win.
- Eetu Tuulola has registered a point in all five games since returning from injury (1g,4a).
- Austin Czarnik recorded a pair of assists on Saturday, his first points of his conditioning stint with the Heat.
- Seven Heat skaters registered a multi-point effort in Saturday's win.
- The Heat have yet to score fewer than two goals in any game this season.
- Glenn Gawdin converted on the Heat's first penalty shot of the season, good for the Heat's seventh goal on Saturday.
THEY SAID IT:
"(Zagidulin) finds a way to get it done, bottom line. He finds a way to get wins. We gave him way too many shots in the first period. I thought we were swimming a bit in the last 10 minutes of the first period. 'Zagi' was scored on, but he did a good job of keeping that game in hand and keeping it an even game coming out of (the first period). Credit to him. The big thing is he just finds a way to get it done." - MacLean on Zagidulin's play between the pipes Saturday
"We talk about it. There's good character in the room, from leaders all the way down through guys we have that are new to the team. They care about what goes on on that ice. They care about the group. We talk about making sure that if we lose a game we answer the bell right away. The guys did a good job of that." - MacLean on the Heat improving to 5-0 following regulation losses this season
"Obviously a lot of things are clicking. We've been playing really well lately and we've been creating a lot of offense, coming from a lot of different guys. That's really encouraging. I'm sure a lot of guys would say the same thing, they're feeling it right now." - Phillips on his offensive effort over his five-game point streak
"We just want to win games. We don't care about who gets credit, who scores goals. There's a lot of accountability in the room. When you get that, you get the consistency. You get guys who really care and are willing to correct the things that made you lose the game before. We've done a really good job of that." - Phillips on Stockton's resilience
"We've got a good rookie group, (Philp's linemates Eetu Tuulola and Adam Ruzicka) in particular. They're big bodies. They're heavy. They win lots of battles down low. They've done a good job with that to retain the puck in the (offensive) zone for us. For me, I'm just trying to find open space and they've done a good job clearing that for me." - Philp on playing alongside fellow rookies Tuulola and Ruzicka