Clarke MacArthur as Rocket Richard? 

October, 18, 2010

While Election Day (here in the United States) remains a few weeks away (Nov. 2), the NHL is giving us some early returns to chew on. I don't imagine that there were too many of you that predicted the Dallas Stars (4-0) and Toronto Maple Leafs (4-0) would jump out to an early lead in their respective conferences. I certainly didn't see that in my polling.

Even fewer would have suggested that Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur would be tied for the lead in the race for the Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy with five goals in four games. Just a few months ago, MacArthur quietly became a free agent when the Atlanta Thrashers walked away from his arbitration award. So far, he's turned into a nice bargain for the Leafs.

I'll go through some of the other odd early numbers that I've uncovered in my Monday 10.

1. The Florida Panthers, who play in the ultimate "swing state," have been uncharacteristically stingy in their first four games. They're allowing an average of 26.1 shots against. That's big news in Sunrise, Fla. The small sample is well ahead of last year's pace, at which the club surrendered a league-worst 34.1 shots per game. High shot totals have been the norm in South Florida over the past several years. The commitment to defense is showing on the scoreboard. Florida has given up a league-low five goals. G Tomas Vokoun already has two shutouts. The Cats' D will be tested by the high-scoring Stars on Thursday at BankAtlantic Center.