Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses in the NHL from the past week:
+ By scoring three times against the Philadelphia Flyers last Saturday, New Jersey forward Jaromir Jagr became the oldest NHL player to record a hat trick, at 42 years, 322 days. And he did it wearing new skates right out of the box, without a breaking-in period. With 714 career goals, Jagr is three behind Phil Esposito, who is fifth on the career goals list.
+ Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators and Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames are competing in a two-man race for rookie of the year. The well-rounded Forsberg on Sunday tied the franchise record for a rookie with his 37th point in 38 games, with 14 goals and 23 assists; the dynamic Gaudreau has 13 goals and 31 points in 39 games.
+ Montreal's Carey Price became the fifth goalie in Montreal Canadiens history to record 200 or more wins for the team last week, joining a spectacular list led by Jacques Plante (314), Patrick Roy (289), Ken Dryden (258) and Bill Durnan (208). Montreal has a six-game winning streak and has won nine of its last 10.
- Injuries recently ended two iron man streaks. San Jose's Joe Thornton played 319 straight games before injuring his shoulder on a clean hit by Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner on New Year's Eve, and Philadelphia forward Claude Giroux's streak ended at 168 games because of an injury caused when a skate blade cut his leg. Kevlar socks saved Giroux from a devastating injury. The longest active streak belongs to Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano, at 581.
- The Sabres are in a 1-7-1 slump and have been outscored, 41-15, in that span. Their penalty killing was especially bad in a 6-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, failing three times in the first 11:18. "Babies wielding pacifiers are more lethal than Buffalo's short-handed squad," wrote John Vogl of the Buffalo News. Ouch.
- Minnesota Wild players said they hit rock bottom in a 7-1 loss Saturday at Dallas — their largest margin of defeat this season — but what if they haven't? The Wild has lost seven of its last nine games to fall to 11th in the West. Worse, it has lost its identity as a hard-working, competitive team.