Lessons we learned from the past week of play in the NHL:
Fired by the Panthers? You get your own cab
Gerard Gallant is now the former coach of the Florida Panthers, dismissed in the latest move by owners Vincent Viola and Doug Cifu to change things that didn't need to be changed.
Gallant, fired Sunday after a loss at Carolina, had to summon a taxi to transport himself and his belongings back to Florida because the team apparently lacked enough class to provide a car or some help with his gear. That loss dropped the Panthers' record to 11-10-1 and left them a few points out of a playoff spot.
The franchise-record 103 points and Atlantic Division title they claimed last season apparently meant nothing to his bosses, who last May fired an assistant coach and the director of hockey operations before "promoting" General Manager Dale Tallon to president of hockey operations and elevating Tom Rowe to general manager.
Rowe will be the team's interim coach the rest of this season. Gallant — whose assistant, Mike Kelly, also was dismissed — is widely respected and will find another NHL job soon. The Panthers might not find success again for a while.
Jeff Carter has a good sense of timing
The Kings center leads the NHL with six game-winning goals this season, including four in his last five games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first player in franchise history to record four game-winners in a five-game span. He leads the Kings in scoring with 10 goals and 19 points in 22 games. The Kings' five-game winning streak, incidentally, is the longest active winning streak in the league.
Goaltender Carey Price remains the backbone of the Montreal Canadiens' 16-4-2 start. He's 13-1-1 in his last 15 games with a 1.66 goals-against average, .946 save percentage, and two shutouts in that span. But don't overlook another outstanding performer: Center Alex Galchenyuk ranks among the league scoring leaders with nine goals and 22 points in 22 games, despite getting the least amount of ice time (an average of 15 minutes 58 seconds) of anyone in the top 10 through Sunday's games.
Rookie-of-the-year race has widened
Auston Matthews, drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in June, isn't the top-scoring rookie in the NHL this season. He's not even the top-scoring rookie on his team.
Center Mitch Marner, who is listed at 5 feet 11 but likely is shorter, is the surprise co-leading scorer among rookies with seven goals and 18 points. That includes 12 points in the 12 games he has played in November.
Marner, the No. 4 overall pick last year, shares the top spot with Patrik Laine of Winnipeg, whose early pace has slowed: Laine has no goals in his last six games and one in his last 10. Matthews is close behind them, with nine goals and 17 points. Also in the rookie mix: Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski, who has five goals and 16 points in 21 games.