Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/02/13 at 12:37 PM ET
A LOOK BACK AT NOVEMBER
The second month of the 2013-14 season featured record-setting performances by teams and players, a thrilling race for the NHL goal-scoring lead, and many milestone moments.
HOT STARTS CONTINUE
Several clubs continued their hot starts to the season, setting franchise records and posting club firsts:
* The Blackhawks (20-4-4, 44 points), the defending Stanley Cup champions, have earned at least one point in 24 of their first 28 games to move to the top of the League standings. Their 20-4-4 record is the second-best start in franchise history; the club went 23-2-3 (49 points) through the first 28 games of 2012-13, including an NHL-record 24 consecutive contests with at least one point to begin the season (21-0-3).
* The Avalanche became the fifth team in NHL history to begin a season by winning 12 of their first 13 games (2007-08 Senators, 2005-06 Red Wings, 1994-95 Penguins, 1994-95 Nordiques). The club is 19-6-0 (38 points) through its opening 25 games, its second-best start in franchise history (2000-01: 18-4-3, 39 points). The Avalanche also are 9-2-0 on the road, the team’s best record through its opening 11 road contests, and won their first six games as visitors, tying a club record set in 2011-12.
* At 18-3-5 (41 points), the Sharks lead the Pacific Division and rank second in the League standings. The team finished November by completing a perfect 5-0-0 homestand, the first time in franchise history the Sharks have swept a homestand of five or more games.
* The Ducks improved to 10-0-1 at Honda Center and are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation at home this season. The club also set a franchise record with eight consecutive home victories to open 2013-14. The Ducks rank third overall in the League standings with an 18-7-4 record (40 points) through 29 games.
* The Blues have earned at least one point in 21 of their first 25 games (18-4-3, 39 points), ranking second in the Central Division and fourth in the NHL standings. They are 11-1-2 at Scottrade Center, their second-best home start in franchise history (2000-01: 12-1-1). The Blues also have earned at least one point in nine consecutive home games (7-0-2), their longest such stretch since a franchise-record, 21-game streak from Dec. 6, 2011-Feb. 18, 2012.
* The Kings are 16-7-4 (36 points), tied for the franchise’s fourth-best record through 27 games and its best mark since 1992-93, when the team went 18-7-2 (38 points). The Kings also earned at least one point in 11 of their 13 games in November (7-2-4, 18 points).
OVECHKIN, STEEN BATTLE FOR RICHARD TROPHY
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Blues forward Alexander Steen continue to wage a seesaw battle for the League lead in goals:
* Ovechkin, a three-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner, leads the NHL with 21 goals in 25 games, including a League-leading 11 in 13 November games. The 28-year-old Moscow native has scored 83 more goals than any other player in his nine NHL seasons (392 total), but 2013-14 marked the first time he became the first player to hit the 20-goal mark (Nov. 23). Ovechkin capped the month by scoring his 14th career regular-season overtime goal Nov. 30, the most by any player since he entered the NHL in 2005-06 and tied for fifth all-time.
* Steen ranks second in the NHL with 20 goals in 25 games, including nine in 15 November contests, and is tied for the League lead with five game-winners. He became the second-fastest player in Blues history to reach the 20-goal mark, doing so in his 24th game (Brett Hull: 20 goals in first 20 games of 1990-91). Steen also posted a career-long, 13-game point streak Oct. 17-Nov. 16 (13-5—18), the longest point streak in the NHL this season and the longest by a Blues player since 1999-2000, when Pierre Turgeon recorded at least one point in 15 consecutive contests.
Several players moved up the NHL record books while others joined exclusive lists:
* Devils forward Jaromir Jagr continued to build on his record-setting career, becoming the eighth player in League history and first European-born skater to reach 1,700 NHL points (Nov. 10). He scored his 18th regular-season overtime goal Nov. 21 (already an NHL record), tying Gordie Howe for the most game-winning goals in League history (121). The 41-year-old Kladno, Czech Republic, native capped the month by posting his 692nd career goal Nov. 29, tying Steve Yzerman for eighth in NHL history.
* Penguins captain Sidney Crosby collected three assists Nov. 29 to surpass 700 career points in his 497th NHL game, becoming the sixth player in League history to reach the 700-point milestone in 500 or fewer games (Wayne Gretzky: 317, Mario Lemieux: 363, Peter Stastny: 457, Mike Bossy: 469, Jari Kurri: 483). Only three active players besides Crosby have reached the 700-point plateau in fewer than 600 games: Teemu Selanne (541), Jaromir Jagr (557) and Alex Ovechkin (579).
* Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk scored twice while playing in his 800th regular-season game Nov. 16 (266-523—789 at that time). Only three other active players have recorded more points through the first 800 games of their NHL careers: Jaromir Jagr (1,064), Teemu Selanne (919) and Joe Thornton (812).
* Teammate Henrik Zetterberg recorded his 700th point in his 739th NHL game Nov. 24, becoming the fifth-fastest player in Red Wings history and eighth-fastest active NHLer to reach the 700-point milestone.
* Canucks forward Daniel Sedin scored his 300th NHL goal Nov. 28, becoming the third player in franchise history to reach the 300-goal plateau (Markus Naslund: 346, Trevor Linden: 318).
* Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur posted five victories, a 1.68 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and two shutouts in nine November appearances. He earned his 12th regular-season shutout versus the Flyers Nov. 7, the most against one team by any netminder in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68). The 41-year-old Brodeur then recorded his second consecutive shutout and the 123rd of his career (already an NHL record) Nov. 10, becoming the fourth goaltender in League history to post consecutive blank sheets at age 41 or older.
* Avalanche goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 27 saves Nov. 29, becoming the first goaltender in franchise history to start a season 6-0-0. Giguere also has a 1.62 goals-against average, .949 save percentage and two shutouts in seven appearances.
* Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin, the 10th overall selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, scored his first NHL goal Nov. 3. At 18 years, 244 days, Nichushkin became the seventh 18-year-old to score in an NHL game this season, joining Florida’s Aleksander Barkov, Calgary’s Sean Monahan, Carolina’s Elias Lindholm, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen and Buffalo’s Nikita Zadorov. The last time seven 18-year-olds scored in one NHL season was in 1993-94, when Jason Arnott, Alexandre Daigle, Pavol Demitra, Chris Gratton, Michal Grosek, Vlastimil Kroupa and Rob Niedermayer all did so.
* Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot led the NHL with a 1.15 goals-against average and .956 save percentage in five November appearances. He has won six consecutive decisions dating to Oct. 26, becoming the first netminder in Rangers history to do so in his first year since Jim Henry, who won seven in a row in 1941-42. Talbot also is the first goaltender to yield two or fewer goals in each of his first seven NHL starts since Boston’s Frank Brimsek did so in his first 12 starts of 1938-39.
* Flames goaltender Reto Berra became the sixth netminder in NHL history to defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion in his NHL debut when he made 42 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Blackhawks Nov. 3. The others: Hal Winkler (for the Rangers vs. Maroons in 1926-27), Gerry Cheevers (Maple Leafs vs. Blackhawks in 1961-62), Hardy Astrom (Rangers at Canadiens in 1978-79), Daren Puppa (Sabres at Oilers in 1985-86) and Jonathan Bernier (Kings vs. Ducks in 2007-08).
Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin led all players with 21 assists and 25 points in 15 November games. His 21 helpers were the most by an NHL player in one calendar month since January 1996, when Wayne Gretzky recorded 21 assists for the Kings . . . Stars captain Jamie Benn became the first NHL player to register six or more points in a game since Feb. 2, 2012, when he posted a career-high 1-5—6 Nov. 14 . . . Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane ranked second in November scoring with 9-10—19 in 15 games . . . Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (8-10—18 in 12 GP) and Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg (5-13—18 in 14 GP) tied for third . . . Blackhawks defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook led the NHL with +15 ratings in November . . . Oilers forward David Perron led the League with five power-play goals . . . Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (10-2-1) paced the NHL with 10 victories in 13 November appear
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