Hottest 3 teams in the league.
The Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars, Atlanta Thrashers. 10 games ago who would have thought that these 3 teams would go a combined 21-5-4.
I guess this can be explained with three names; Markus Naslund, Ilya Kovalchuk and Brendan Morrow. These three players have absolutely been lighting it up over the last 3 weeks. Naslund-11 points. Kovalchuk-18 points. Morrow-11 points.
In Vancouver, people were once again starting to bash Naslund, calling him over the hill and a waist of money. Well … I believed he has silenced those critics, at least for a while. The Sedins and Naslund have formed one of the best lines in hockey, and are looking their best every night for the past month or so. Markus has finally started shooting the puck like he did when he had back to back to back 40 goal seasons from 2000/01 to 02/03. The twins along with Naslund are showing tremendous chemistry, and it is showing on the score sheet and in the standings.
In Atlanta the best possible situation that could have happened was the firing of Bob Hartley. Since then, the Thrashers have gone on a 11 and 6 run. Don Waddell has reunited Hossa and Kovalchuk, and they haven’t disappointed. The two superstars are playing their best hockey of the year, and the team is riding their coattails. Who knows, they may even make the playoffs after starting 0 and 6.
Dallas is one of the oldest teams in the league, but with age comes experience. Oh, and great goaltending doesn’t hurt either. Apart from a red hot Morrow, the stelar play of Mike Smith has lead Dallas to the top of the Pacific Division. The Stars may be old, but they are showing that they can still play. Lehtinen, Zubov, and Modano are all playing pretty good hockey and they are all over 34 years of age. Zubov is tied for 2nd in scoring for defensmen, only Gonchar is ahead of him and Lidstrom is tied with him for 20 points.
I guess all three of these teams all have one thing in common, unbelievably hot players. And with hot players comes hot teams.