Welcome to week 4 of the Heatmap! At this point some players are really getting their games into gear, while some others have started to slip and fall behind. Let’s take a look at the latest streaks around the NHL.
Chris Stewart – In his second NHL season, Stewart broke out with 28 goals and 64 points over 77 games last year. Now in his 3rd season, he is well on his way to improving on his past totals. He is currently running an eight game point streak with 14 points, including a hat trick last week. Colorado managed to surprise with their performance last season, and they continue to do so with the help of Stewart and other young forwards such as Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene.
Joe Thornton – Last week Thornton had a five point night including a hat trick to give him 8 points in 2 games. He currently has five goals and 15 points in his first nine games and has been firing on all cylinders since the season started. Playing on what could be considered one of the best lines in the NHL with Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau, this trio has produced a combined total of 39 points in their first nine games.
Tim Thomas – Some fans believed the starting job in Boston would be stolen by Tuukka Rask this season, but Tim Thomas is proving that he is still an elite starting goalie. Off to a blazing 6-0-0 start with two straight shutouts last week, Thomas is the hottest goalie in the league. He holds 0.50 Goals against average, and a .984 save percentage over the full season.
Claude Giroux – The Flyers have won four straight, and Claude Giroux is currently leading the team with seven goals and 12 points in their first 12 games. Giroux has chipped in with seven points during the four game win streak, and has been playing very well to start the season. He is averaging over 19 minutes a game, and should continue to see plenty of ice time with Daniel Briere suspended for 3 games.
Sidney Crosby – Sidney Crosby is leading the way in Pittsburgh, with 14 points in his last nine games. The Penguins will need him to stay hot, as they have run into some injury problems with their other key players. Evgeni Malkin, Alex Goligoski, and Kris Letang are all suffering from minor injuries, although it is not clear if they will miss any games, it is sure to affect their performance. Meanwhile, Jordan Staal who was expected back soon, suffered a broken hand in practice, and is likely to miss another six weeks. The only good news for the Penguins is they can hope to have Zbynek Michalek back in the line-up this week, which should help them on their defensive line.
Blake Comeau – The Islanders have dropped four straight games and are slipping from their impressive start; Comeau has no points in 3 games and is -5 over that span. With winger Kyle Okposo out, the Islanders need Comeau to contribute on a more consistent basis.
Martin Havlat – In their last four games The Minnesota Wild have one win, with Havlat having no points. Worse still, Havlat is still searching for his first goal of the season. It seems he is having trouble settling in Minnesota, after signing as a free agent last year. In his first season he posted a dismal -19 ratting, and there is not much sign of improvement thus far.
Jussi Jokinen – Jussi Jokinen has no points in four games, and was -5 over that span. Carolina has dropped their last two games, as their top line continues to struggle. Playing with Eric Staal and Chad LaRose, the trio is a combined -16 in their first 11 games. Although they have managed to put up some points, they will need to find a better balance defensively in order to win more games.
Ilya Kovalchuk – The New Jersey Devils are off to one of their worst starts ever. After being shutout in Vancouver last night their record is 3-9-1, and they sit at the bottom of the NHL standings. Things are not getting better with the recent injury to Zach Parise. The 100 million dollar man will need to turn things around in a big way if the Devils hope to save their season. He currently has no points in his last four games and only one goal in his last seven games.
Kris Versteeg – After winning the cup with Chicago last season, Versteeg was traded to Toronto in a multiplayer deal. Currently he has no points in his last seven games, and his only two points came in his second game. After posting consecutive 20 goal seasons in Chicago, it has been a rough transition for Versteeg in Toronto.