Hot Starts in the NHL
Paced by Chris Drury's 10 goals and goaltender Ryan Miller's eight wins (both league bests), the explosive, undefeated Sabres cut through their first 10 opponents, extending their franchise-record regular-season win streak to 14 and topping their hottest start, set in 1975. Their 3-0 shutout of the Islanders on Oct. 26 tied the NHL mark for season-opening victories, set by the 1993-94 Maple Leafs.
True to form, goaltender Marty Turco has returned from a playoff flop to his usual regular-season dominance (7-1, 1.86 GAA) as the 8-1-0 Stars bettered the franchise mark of 7-1-1 set in 1971 by the Minnesota North Stars.
With Marian Hossa (18) lighting the lamp a league-best 10 times and goaltender Kari Lehtonen (7-1, 1.96 GAA, two shutouts) showing signs of becoming the next elite goaltender, the Thrashers got off to the best start (7-1-0) in their seven-year history.
The Wild were expected to pack more punch with an improved offense, but stingy defense (second-best 1.75 goals-against per game), the acrobatics of goaltender Manny Fernandez (6-1, 1.60 GAA) and some home cooking (5-0) have been the foundation of the franchise-best 7-1-0 start.
The 2003 playoff hero J.S. Giguere has reclaimed his place as Anaheim's No. 1 netminder (5-0-2, 1.78 GAA) while the early Stanley Cup-favorite Ducks have justified the rosy forecast by getting off to a 6-0-2 start.
After opening the season with two goals, including the 600th of his career, the Rangers' new winger has continued to score, netting eight in his first eight games.
The 20-year-old Russian forward lived up to his hype by scoring four goals in his first four NHL games while giving the upstart, Atlantic Division-leading Penguins (5-3-0) yet another young gun to go with phenom Sidney Crosby. Malkin is the Calder Trophy favorite.
The 22-year-old Russian winger has taken much of the scoring burden off Alex Ovechkin, last season's Calder winner, by scoring eight goals and posting three assists in the Capitals' first seven games.
San Jose Sharks
Expected to be a force in the Pacific, the Sharks have stayed on the Ducks' tail with a franchise-best 7-2 start fashioned on the solid netminding of Vesa Toskala (5-0, 1.99 GAA, franchise-record 12 consecutive wins) and the league's best power play (25 percent).
In a rotation with Martin Gerber, second-year man Emery has emerged as a solid stopper (2-1, league-best 1.48 GAA and .952 save percentage) for a Senators squad that has been struggling to ignite its potent offense.
A surprise addition to the early Calder Trophy race, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Slovenian center took the rookie scoring lead with three goals and eight assists in his first 10 games.
The Sharks' 21-year-old rookie blueliner has offensive teeth. He netted the team's first goal of the season and went on to post nine points in his first nine games, ranking second in scoring among all defensemen.