Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses in the NHL from the previous week:
+ Riding a 17-1 surge, the Ducks are only the fifth team in NHL history to win 17 or more games in an 18-game span. A good omen? The first two, the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens and 1981-82 New York Islanders, went on to win the Stanley Cup. The 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins didn't. Nor did the 2009-10 Washington Capitals, coached by current Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau.
+ The New York Rangers have won three in a row and eight of their last 11, and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist seems to have worked through his early-season struggles. Left wing Rick Nash, a controversial pick for the Canadian Olympic team, has four goals in his last four games and 11 overall. That's below where he should be but he's showing signs of life.
+ Mike Yeo might have become the Minnesota Wild's former coach if his team hadn't perked up and won five of its last six games. The unlikely catalyst has been Dany Heatley. Recovered from off-season shoulder surgery, he has thrived on a line with youngsters Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker. Coyle, 21, told reporters he still has Heatley's hockey card at home.
- The Dallas Stars' woes continue. They gave up three goals to the New York Islanders in the final five minutes of their game Sunday and lost, 4-2, extending their losing streak to six. Tyler Seguin, hot earlier this season, has no points in his last five games.
- The Brian Burke era in Calgary isn't off to a great start. The Flames were 1-7 in their first eight games after Christmas, including five shutout losses. They went 196 minutes 59 seconds without a goal at home until Mikael Backlund scored at 11:29 of the third period of a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
- Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis, the NHL's scoring leader last season, deserved a spot on the Canadian Olympic team but was snubbed by a committee that included his own general manager, Steve Yzerman. Apparently determined to prove his value, St. Louis collected three goals and four points in his first three games after the snub.