A look at the players trending up and down across the NHL over the past week.
A Step Up
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: A motivated Alex Ovechkin is fun to watch. On Sunday, he scored career goals Nos. 500 and 501 to help the Capitals to a 7-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. He’s the first Russian-born NHL player to reach the 500-goal plateau, with his 500th coming, of course, on the power play when his snap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle beat Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond. After the goal, the entire Capitals team mobbed its captain on the ice to celebrate the milestone. It was Washington’s fourth straight victory, and Ovechkin has five goals in the last three games.
Sam Reinhart, Buffalo Sabres: Reinhart scored his first career hat trick during Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, helping the Sabres snap their season-high six-game losing skid. Reinhart, the second-overall pick in 2014, scored twice in the first period before adding an empty-net goal to complete the hat trick. He has 12 goals this season, which ties him with the Coyotes’ Anthony Duclair for fourth among rookies.
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals: When you’re a member of the best team in the league, it’s a safe bet you’ll be make a repeat appearance in this category. That’s the case for Holtby, who has earned at least one point in 21 consecutive games after a 4-3 overtime win over the New York Rangers on Saturday. Holtby is 19-0-2 during that stretch. Saturday’s win was also his 128th of his career, tying Don Beaupre for second on the Capitals' all-time list, behind leader Olaf Kolzig (301).
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins: I have to give this guy his due, too. He made 33 saves to help the Penguins to a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Pittsburgh is 5-2-2 in its last nine games. Fleury is 2-1-1 in his last four starts.
A Step Back
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning: What a mess Drouin's situation has become. The 20-year-old forward, who was the third-overall pick in 2013, was assigned to the AHL last week. That prompted Drouin's agent to make his client’s November trade request public. Playing for Syracuse over the weekend, Drouin scored two goals during Friday’s 6-4 loss to Albany. Tampa GM Steve Yzerman said he’s not against trading Drouin, but the organization wants something in return. This could get ugly.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ottawa Senators: The second-year forward has gone nine games without a point as the Senators continue to struggle with consistency.
A Step Up
Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks: The rookie has five points in his last four games, including a pair of two-goal games. The 24-year-old forward has eight goals and eight assists in his past 22 games. His play has helped Chicago to a seven-game winning streak.
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks: Kane has spent the majority of the season in this category and returns again with another strong performance last week, recording six points in the past five games. He had two goals in Sunday’s 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche, and leads the league with 62 points while ranking second in goals with 25.
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks: The defenseman had a goal and an assist to help the Sharks to a 7-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Burns is riding a six-game point streak, with five goals and four assists. He has 17 goals and 20 assists in 39 games this season.
Patrick Sharp, Dallas Stars: The veteran forward is on a career-high 12-game point streak, during which he has six goals and nine assists. It’s the longest point streak for a Stars player since Dave Gagner's 13-game run during the 1993-94 season.
A Step Back
Mike Fisher, Nashville Predators: After missing 11 games with injury, the forward has one assist in seven games since returning to the lineup. Overall, he has five goals and three assists in 31 games, and is a minus-10.