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Nugent-Hopkins repeats as Rookie of the Month

by Dave Lozo

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has only been in the NHL for two months, but he's already accomplished something that puts him on the same level as Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin.

The first-year phenomenon of the Edmonton Oilers won his second straight Rookie of the Month award to start his career Friday after posting six goals and 10 assists in 14 games during November. Nugent-Hopkins is the first player to take Rookie of the Month honors during his first two months in the League since Malkin did it in 2006.

Nugent-Hopkins had five goals and six assists in October and is on pace to finish with 89 points, which would be the most for a rookie since Washington's Alex Ovechkin had 106 points and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby had 102 points in 2005-06.

New Jersey's Adam Henrique (five goals, nine assists), Nashville's Craig Smith (three goals, eight assists) and Buffalo's Jhonas Enroth (6-4-1, 2.31 goals-against average, .922 save percentage) were three other rookies who also had terrific Novembers.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Center - EDM
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 16 | PTS: 27
SOG: 52 | +/-: 4
Nugent-Hopkins had just two goals and an assist in his first seven games of November, but he broke out in a big way on Nov. 19 against the Chicago Blackhawks. He had five assists in the Oilers' 9-2 victory to become the first 18-year-old in NHL history with five assists in a game and just the fourth ever to get five points in a single outing, joining Toronto's Jack Hamilton (Dec. 4, 1943), Winnipeg's Dale Hawerchuk (March 13, 1982) and Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk (Jan. 19, 2002).

"He makes it looks so easy, but it's hard," captain Shawn Horcoff said of Nugent-Hopkins' passing skills.

Six nights later, Nugent-Hopkins showed he can score, too. He had two goals in the Oilers' 5-2 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 25. It was the second multi-goal game of Nugent-Hopkins' career. He had a hat trick on Oct. 15 against the Vancouver Canucks.

Nugent-Hopkins capped November with his fourth multi-point game of the month with a goal and an assist in the Oilers' 3-2 shootout loss to the Wild on Nov. 30.

"Keep it going, kid. It's remarkable," coach Tom Renney said. "The beauty is that the Edmonton Oilers fans get to watch this."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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