- Scott Burnside, NHL
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Matt Cullen, Minnesota Wild: One of the reasons the Wild signed the free-agent center in the offseason was to help with the power play. So far so good, as Cullen has three power-play markers, tied for the league lead. Cullen has two goals (both on the PP) and seven points in his past four games, and the Wild have won three of four to erase a disappointing start to the season.
John-Michael Liles, Colorado Avalanche: Liles leads all defensemen with nine points and has registered at least a point in every Avs game this season. Not bad for a guy at the center of trade rumors for the past two years.
Simon Gagne, Tampa Bay Lightning: Expectations were high for the longtime Philadelphia Flyer when he was traded to Tampa Bay in the offseason, but it’s been a downer so far for Gagne, who has failed to record a point in six games for the 4-1-1 Lightning. Gagne is minus-7 and saw his ice time dwindle to a season-low 14:30 in Thursday’s overtime loss to the Islanders.
Jeff Carter, Philadelphia Flyers: Speaking of the Flyers, the talented squad has managed to score just 13 goals in their first six games and they need sniper Carter to get going. There’s not much going on for Carter, who has managed to score in just one of the team’s first six games (he had two goals against Colorado) and he’s gone without a goal in the team’s past three games, all losses. Carter is also minus-5 in those three games.
9dScott Burnside and Craig Custance