by GARY YAMASAKI As we hit the four-week mark of this truncated NHL season, and look into who owns the longest point streak to this point, we find it is Eric Staal at 11 games (and counting). To find Staal at the top of the list is no big surprise. After all, he has had a streak as long as 15 games (in his 100-point season coming out of the last lockout), and he’s had a 12-gamer as recently as last season.
As for who’s in second spot, it’s not one of the troika of Sharks who were tearing up the league out of the gate; the point productions of all three of them have literally fallen off a cliff since the first six games. Patrick Kane is off to a great start–averaging a point-and-a-half per game–and would have a 14-game streak but for a Jan 27 encounter with the Wings. Thomas Vanek is the leading scorer in the league, but the 23 points in his first eleven games was interrupted by a single goose egg.
The second longest streak belongs to an Edmonton Oiler, and not one who has “first overall draft choice” on his resume. Rather, it is Sam Gagner of “Kid Line” fame back in his early days with the Oilers. The 49 points of his rookie season did suggest promise, but he has not been able to surpass, or even match, that total in the subsequent four seasons, resulting in his fading into relative obscurity. . .which makes his 10-game streak this season so surprising.
It may have been the least noticed double-digit point streak in NHL history, not only because he is not a big-name player, but also, because there have been no flashy hat tricks or 3-point games in the streak; in fact, during the streak, Gagner was able to accumulate more than 1 point only once. But the good news for the Oilers is that Gagner has found a home alongside Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov in what could be another “Kid Line” (though at 23, Gagner may be a bit long in the tooth to be considered a “kid” anymore).