Anze Kopitar has taken over the NHL scoring race lead. (Getty Images)
The Hockey News player of the week for the period of Oct. 19-25 is Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar.
In four games played, Kopitar took over the scoring race in the NHL, notching six goals and nine points to help the Kings to a perfect 4-0 record.
In key games versus division opponents, Kopitar was key, posting a goal in the first matchup against Dallas and following that effort up with a hat trick against the Stars three nights later. Against Phoenix, Kopitar became the playmaker, posting three assists. To finish off the week, Kopitar potted two more goals against the Steve Mason-led Columbus Blue Jackets.
Averaging 20:38 of ice time, tied with linemate Ryan Smyth for third on the team, Kopitar now leads the NHL in points with 21 – four clear of second place Alex Ovechkin and Joe Thornton – and goals, with 10 in 12 games.
Los Angeles sits second in the Western Conference with an 8-4-0 record to sit two points behind the upstart Colorado Avalanche. They are currently on a four-game winning streak, the second four-game winning streak of their season, the last of which they followed up with a three-game losing streak.
The 11th overall pick in 2005, Kopitar, a native of Slovenia, is a plus-4 on the season, though he has never finished with a positive rating in a season.