Hot and Not: Crosby finally rising, but things have gotten bumpy for Holtby

A look at the players trending up and down over the past week in the NHL.


A step up

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins: After producing a lowly 19 points in his first 30 games, Crosby has 17 points in his past 13 games and the Penguins enter Monday’s action against the St. Louis Blues one point back of a wild-card spot. Crosby had two goals (Nos. 13 and 14 on the season) to help Pittsburgh to a 5-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

Valtteri Filppula and Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning: The defending Eastern Conference champions are on a much-needed, five-game winning streak and have climbed back into the playoff picture. Kucherov has four goals and three assists in the past five games, while Filppula has two goals and three assists in the past four.

Brock Nelson, New York Islanders: He has registered four goals and one assist in the past three games. He scored his first career hat trick and had a career-high four-point game to help the Islanders to a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

A step back

Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs: The forward snapped a four-game pointless streak with an assist during Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins, but he has just nine goals and 19 assists in 39 games this season.

Eric Fehr, Pittsburgh Penguins: While the Penguins continue to climb the standings and are receiving contributions throughout the lineup, forward Fehr has only one assist in his past 10 games. He has five goals and two assists for seven points in 34 games this season, his first with the Penguins.

Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals: Yes, even the best goalie in the league can find himself in this category. Just hear me out: Holtby suffered his first regulation loss since Nov. 10 (a span of 23 decisions) against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, falling just one short of the franchise-record streak Jose Theodore (20-0-3) ripped off in 2009-10. Holtby was pulled after allowing three goals on 16 shots against the Sabres, and on Sunday against the New York Rangers was removed due to dehydration. He has played 37 of the team’s 45 games this season, and I’m not saying he is going to implode, only that he has faced a bit of adversity the past two games.


A step up

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings: Amazing what an eight-year, $80 million contract extension will do to your confidence. While finalizing the deal, the veteran forward had a goal and assist to help the Kings to a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. He has goals in three of his past four games, and 20 points in the past 15 games. He posted his second four-point game of the season in last Monday’s 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks: When he shoots, he scores. Kane has recorded 11 shots on net the past two games, and had four goals and two assists in that span as the Blackhawks extended their winning streak to 11 games. Kane scored a hat trick in Friday’s 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs. He added a goal and assist en route to a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. Kane leads the league with 29 goals and 69 points.

Sam Bennett, Calgary Flames: The forward scored his sixth goal in his past three games during Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Bennett’s goal was his 11th of the season. He had a four-goal game in a 6-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.

Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues: The goaltender made a career-high 46 saves to help the Blues to a 4-3 overtime win against the Canadiens on Saturday. Elliott improved to 3-1-0 in his past four games. He became the first Blues netminder to make at least 46 saves on home ice since Curtis Joseph did it in a 5-1 win over the Minnesota North Stars on April 11, 1993.

A step back

Boyd Gordon, Arizona Coyotes: The veteran is not a goal scorer, but he has gone 40 games without a goal this season and has only two assists. After missing four games due to injury, he returned to the lineup and hasn’t registered a point in the past six games.

Miikka Salomaki, Nashville Predators: The 22-year-old Finnish rookie hasn’t scored since Dec. 12, a span of 15 games, and has only two assists in that span. His ice time has been limited as well.

Jason Zucker, Minnesota Wild: Zucker has gone five games without a point as his team is on a four-game losing skid.