Sidney Crosby has never had a start quite like this before.
The Penguins captain already has eight goals, the most he’s scored after six games in any of his 12 seasons.
In terms of point production, Crosby was at his very best at outset of 2013-14 when he rung up five goals and 12 points in the first six games, later winning both the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer as well as the Hart for most valuable player.
Crosby is currently tied for the NHL lead in goals (along with Patrik Laine and Artem Anisimov) despite starting the season almost two weeks late because of a concussion. The 29-year-old has at least a point in every game, giving him 10 in all, and the Penguins are undefeated in regulation since he returned (5-0-1).
Though he won’t score the 101 goals he’s currently on pace for, Crosby may just threaten his own personal career-best of 51 goals, which he scored in his fifth NHL season.
Two of the pricier free agents of the summer still have yet to score a goal with their new teams.
Loui Eriksson, who joined the Canucks for six years and US$36 million, has only four assists through 12 games and failed to even land a shot in Vancouver’s 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs over the weekend. He was recently bumped from a spot alongside the Sedin twins on Vancouer’s top line.
"I know it’s going to come," said Eriksson, who scored 31 goals for the Boston Bruins last season. "I’ve scored goals before so all you can do is work hard."
Meanwhile, former Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd also has yet to score for the New York Islanders. He has only one assist through 12 games and was recently dropped from John Tavares’ side on New York’s top line. Sixteen Islanders have mustered more points than the 30-year-old, who signed for seven years and $38.5 million on July 1.
How have some of the other costlier summer signings performed so far?
-Milan Lucic (seven years and $42 million with Edmonton): five goals, nine points in 13 games.
-Troy Brouwer (four years, $18 million with Calgary): four goals, seven points in 14 games.
-David Backes (five years and $30 million with Boston): two goals, four points in six games.
-Frans Nielsen (six years and $31.5 million with Detroit): two goal, seven points in 13 games.
-Kyle Okposo (seven years, $42 million with Buffalo): five goals, eight points in 10 games.
Adam Larsson, Edmonton’s return in the controversial Taylor Hall trade, has done just fine in his early days as an Oiler.
Playing alongside fellow Swede Oscar Klefbom on Edmonton’s top pair, Larsson is averaging almost 21 minutes per game, including a team-leading 18:43 at even-strength. He’s sitting at about 50 per cent puck possession, a respectable number given his nightly competition of top lines as well as a heavy dose of starts in the defensive zone.
"They didn’t trade me for scoring as many goals as Taylor did," Larsson said. "They traded me for what I was and who I am and that’s what I’m going to try and do here now in the start. I’m not going to change that."
Who’s currently leading the highest-powered offence in hockey? That would be Michael Grabner, who’s scored seven goals on just 24 shots for the New York Rangers, currently averaging more than four goals-per game. A one-time 34-goal-scorer (2010-11), Grabner had a mere nine goals in 80 games for Toronto last season.
BRUIN BOUNCES BACK
A Vezina Trophy winner in 2014, Tuukka Rask had his worst NHL season last year, posting a .915 save percentage in 64 games. But so far this season, the 29-year-old has been money for the Bruins: 6-1-0 with a .932 save percentage, including a hearty .956 mark at even-strength.
Rask was unbeaten in his first six starts before being peppered for five goals in a loss to the high-powered Rangers over the weekend.
MORE OF THE SAME
Fellow Finns Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen haven’t rebounded quite like Rask.
The Dallas Stars’ goalie tandem remains in the same anxious state as last season when neither Niemi nor Lehtonen could seize and stabilize the crease. Niemi has a .900 save percentage (.905 last season) through seven starts, Lehtonen a touch worse with an .895 mark (.906 last season) through six games.
Dallas, which owned the best record in the Western Conference last season, opted against upgrading their goaltending in the summer, a decision that may require some re-evaluation at some point this year.
30 MINUTES OR MORE
Erik Karlsson repeated a rare feat when he soaked up 31 minutes in a win over the Hurricanes last week.
Only 116 times in Senators history has any player played 30 minutes or more in the regular season, according to Hockey-Reference.com, with 68 of those efforts belonging to Karlsson. Ottawa’s captain doesn’t hold the franchise record with respect to ice-time in a single game though. That belongs to Andrej Meszaros, who played 37:47 in an April 2006 game against Buffalo.
All statistics entering play on Monday.