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facts & figures

Facts and Figures: October has been good month for offense

Malkin, Kane, Marner among players off to fast starts this season

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

Many of the top scorers in the NHL will be sorry to see October come to an end.

Sixty-six players entered Sunday averaging at least a point a game. The NHL record for most point-a-game players at the end of October (minimum five games played) is 89, set in 1988-89. The last time the total at the end of October exceeded 66 was 1993-94, when there were 77.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin is tied for second in the scoring race with 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in nine games, but he leads the NHL with an average of 2.00 points per game. That includes a three-point night (two goals, one assist) in Pittsburgh's 5-0 win at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. The victory completed a 4-0-0 trip through Canada for the Penguins. Malkin's nine points (four goals, five assists) in the four games was a big reason for their success. He's the first Penguins player to have at least 18 points in his team's first nine games since Mario Lemieux had 20 (five goals, 15 assists) in 2002-03.

Video: PIT@VAN: Malkin goes top shelf for second goal

Malkin's teammate, Sidney Crosby, has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in nine games. But all five goals have come in the past three games. Crosby scored his first two goals of the season in a 6-5 overtime win at the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, had one in a 9-1 victory against the Calgary Flames on Thursday, then scored two more against Vancouver on Saturday. Crosby could help himself in the Penguins' last game of the month against the New York Islanders at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday. His 108 points (34 goals, 74 assists) in 62 games are the most he's had against any team.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane took over the NHL's goal-scoring lead when he scored his 11th of the season in a 7-3 loss at the St. louis Blues on Saturday. Kane is the fourth different player in Blackhawks history to score at least 11 goals in Chicago's first 11 games and the first since Bobby Hull had 11 in 11 games to start the 1967-68 season. Chicago hosts Edmonton on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSCH, SN360, NHL.TV), and Kane can tie or pass the team record for goals in October held by Al Secord (12 in 12 games in 1982-83).

Video: CHI@STL: Kane nets long wrister from the high slot

Mitchell Marner (15 points; four goals, 11 assists) is one of four Toronto Maple Leafs forwards in the point-a-game club. Marner had two assists when the Maple Leafs scored three goals in the third period to defeat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday. His second assist was the 100th of his NHL career and came in his 170th game. He reached 100 assists faster than all but three players in Maple Leafs history: Gus Bodnar (148 games played), Joe Primeau (163) and Syl Apps (166).

 

Avalanche of offense

The NHL's best line during the first month of the season has been Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon between forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, who have combined for 55 points (24 goals, 31 assists) in 12 games. Entering Sunday, Rantanen led the NHL with 21 points (five goals, 16 assists), MacKinnon was tied with Malkin for second with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) and Landeskog was in a four-way tie for fifth with 16 points (10 goals, six assists). Landeskog also leads the NHL with four game-winning goals.

Video: OTT@COL: MacKinnon buries one-timer to extend lead

Perhaps even more impressive is that they're 1-2-3 in plus-minus (Rantanen and Landeskog are plus-14, MacKinnon is plus-12).

 

Nelson loves October

Islanders center Brock Nelson isn't part of the point-a-game society this month, but he'll probably be sorry to see October end. Nelson scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season in New York's 6-1 victory at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, giving him 22 goals in 58 games during October (including four in his past three games). He has 82 in 350 games during the other months of the season.

Video: NYI@PHI: Nelson bides time, buries second of game

Nelson helped the Islanders score at least six goals in Philadelphia for the first time since Dec. 10, 1995, when they won 6-2. The five-goal margin of victory was their second-largest ever in Philadelphia, exceeded only by a 6-0 win on Oct. 15, 1987.

 

Welcome back, Mikko

Mikko Koskinen's second and third NHL victories were nearly eight years apart. Koskinen earned his first NHL win since Feb. 11, 2011, when the Oilers defeated the Nashville Predators 5-3 at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. Koskinen was 2-1-0 with the Islanders in 2010-11 before spending the next seven seasons in the American Hockey League, Liiga (Finland's top pro league) and the Kontinental Hockey League. The Oilers signed him May 1, but the game against the Predators was his first regular-season appearance.

Video: EDM@NSH: Koskinen lays out to deny Arvidsson in front

The gap of seven years, 258 days between wins for Koskinen is the third-longest in NHL history and the longest since 1943. Benny Grant holds the record with nine years, 322 days between victories (Dec. 12, 1933 to Oct. 30, 1943); Hap Holmes is second at eight years, 267 days (March 2, 1918 to Nov. 24, 1926).

Koskinen also helped the Oilers end a 13-game losing streak (0-11-2) against the Predators since 5-1 win on March 18, 2014.

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