Hot and Not: Eichel, Thornton looking good, suspensions hurting others

Jack Eichel is looking good as another rookie phenom prepares to return, and Joe Thornton has reached an impressive career milestone. Getty Images, AP Photo

The biggest name trending last week was Montreal Canadiens farmhand John Scott, who was voted into the All-Star Game by the fans and asked by the NHL to step aside. Scott finished the All-Star weekend in Nashville as the MVP, capping an emotional week before he unfortunately heads to St. John's of the AHL.

It was a short week due to the All-Star festivities, but here are the players trending up and down as the final weeks of the regular season get underway:


A step up

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres: As fellow rookie phenom Connor McDavid prepares to return from a broken clavicle suffered Nov. 3, Eichel has played well for the Sabres. Before the All-Star break, he scored the tying and winning goals to lead Buffalo to a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. It was Eichel’s third multigoal game of his rookie season. He also ranks second among rookies with 16 goals and 34 points.

Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers: Just before the All-Star break, the forward scored two goals, including the game winner, to help the Flyers to a 4-3 overtime win over the Washington Capitals. It was his sixth career overtime goal and second this season. It was also his 14th career multigoal game. Voracek ranks second on the Flyers with 36 points (8 G, 28 A) this season. In the seven games leading into the break, he had four goals and six assists.

Reilly Smith, Florida Panthers: The Panthers have been receiving contributions from everyone on the roster as they continue to lead the Atlantic Division. In the game before the break, Smith scored a goal and added an assist to help Florida to a 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Smith is on a four-game goal streak and has five points in that span.

Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets: The rookie netminder made 28 saves to help the Blue Jackets to a 5-2 win over the Canadiens last Tuesday. Korpisalo improved to 5-5-2 in his first 12 NHL games, and he’s 4-0-1 in his past five starts.

A step back

Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens entered the All-Star break with a 2-7-1 record in their past 10 games, and Plekanec has been held pointless in his past five games. He has nine goals and 25 assists in 50 games.

Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs return from the break with a 1-7-2 record in their last 10 games and the forward has gone four games without a point. He’s also minus-4 in that span.


A step up

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks: It seems like forever ago that Thornton notched his 1,300th career point, but it was actually only last Tuesday. His two assists in a 6-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche helped the Sharks extend their point streak to 10 games. Thornton became the 33rd player in to reach 1,300 points. He currently owns a 10-game point streak with three goals and 15 assists in that span.

James Neal, Nashville Predators: The forward scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks before the break. The Predators return to post-All-Star action in the midst of a four-game winning streak and Neal has three goals in the past seven games.

A step back

Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames: The veteran defenseman is suspended indefinitely, pending an in-person hearing with the NHL on Tuesday, for hitting linesman Don Henderson from behind during a game last week.

Shawn Horcoff, Anaheim Ducks: The 37-year-old forward was suspended 20 games for violating the terms of the league’s performance enhancing substances program.