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From The Point: Carolina, Crosby crank it up

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After a "slow" start, Sidney Crosby has four goals and nine points in four games.

Quick! Can you name the highest-scoring team in the NHL?

Hint: They didn’t make the playoffs last year, but they won the Stanley Cup the year before that.

That’s right, the good-then-bad-then-good-then-bad Carolina Hurricanes are good again, and have fired home 49 goals in 13 games. That’s 3.77 goals per game, just ahead of Toronto (3.62).

Seven Canes players – all forwards – are averaging at least a point per game, and eight have hit double-digits in points.

Sid turns it on
Sidney Crosby began the 2007-08 season being held pointless by Carolina, and managed a “mere” 10 points in his first eight games. And he only scored in one of those games; granted, it was a two-goal game.

But ‘The Kid’ has started to pick it up – Crosby has goals in four consecutive games and has nine points in that span, too. And, oh yeah, he has at least a point in every game since the season opener.

Thunder and Lightning
Phoenix agitator Daniel Carcillo, tied for 190th in league scoring with five points in 12 games, is the only player among the NHL’s top 350 scorers who has more penalty minutes than…noted Tampa Bay brawler Vincent Lecavalier.

Lecavalier, tied for 25th in league scoring with 13 points in 12 games, has 30 minutes to Carcillo’s 39. And Lecavalier, whom you may remember from his bout with Calgary’s Jarome Iginla in the 2004 Stanley Cup final, has had two fights this season, against Washington defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and Philadelphia winger Scott Hartnell.

According to hockeyfights.com, Lecavalier surprisingly has had at least one fight in each of his 10 NHL campaigns, including a season-high four bouts in 2005-06, and has fought 16 times in 642 NHL games.

Henrik for Hart

Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg leads the NHL in goals (12), points (24) and shots (76), while his plus-9 rating, 22:24 in average ice time and 57.7 winning percentage on faceoffs also rank high, too.

Phillips positive
It helps when your team starts the season 10-1-0, but Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips is opening up some breathing room in the race for the league’s best plus-minus.

The Sens blueline stud is plus-14; Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, Calgary’s Jarome Iginla and Toronto’s Nikolai Antropov are tied for second at plus-11.

Atlanta defenseman Steve McCarthy is at the other end of the spectrum at minus-12. McCarthy’s teammate on the Thrashers, veteran Alexei Zhitnik, is minus-9, including a league-worst minus-11 in nine road games.

The biggest surprise at the bottom, though, is seeing Tampa Bay’s Brad Richards in second-last place at minus-10; yet, the Lightning pivot has 13 points in 12 games.

Numbers, numbers, numbers
The Rangers are scoring a league-low 1.75 goals per game, while their goals-against average is tied with Columbus for the league’s stingiest – at 1.75…

Three of Edmonton’s five victories this season have come via the shootout…

Nashville is 4-6 in games decided by three or more goals this season. The Preds are 4-7-0 overall…

Columbus, meanwhile, off to a franchise best 7-3-2 start, is 6-2 in games decided by three or more goals. Then there’s Atlanta and Edmonton: the Thrashers are 0-5 and the Oilers 0-4 in games decided by three or more…

The Red Wings have outshot opponents 12 times in 14 games and are 10-2-0 in those contests…

The Boston Bruins are 6-0-0 when they’re outshot by their opponent – and 0-3-0 when they take more shots than the other team…

Atlanta has not outshot an opponent in any game this season…

If you’re wondering how Montreal is doing it – the Habs are 7-2-3 – it might have something to do with a power play that’s clicking at 30.9 percent (21-for-68). The Oilers are (way) at the other end, with three measly power play goals all season in 51 opportunities, for 5.9-percent efficiency…

As amazing as it is to see Columbus (93.56 percent) and St. Louis (90.2 percent) atop the penalty-killing rankings, how about the fact that ever-defensive New Jersey is dead-last at 68.9 percent?

Sam McCaig’s From The Point appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Have a point to make with Sam McCaig? You can reach him at smccaig@thehockeynews.com.

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