Phoenix's playoff chances still alive 

February, 3, 2011

Did you know that since 1945 only two NHL players have scored six goals in a single game? And, believe it or not, their names weren't Wayne Gretzky and/or Mario Lemieux. No, the two players to net a half-dozen goals in one game were St. Louis' Red Berenson (1968) and Toronto's Darryl Sittler (1976).

Gretzky and Lemieux did have their share of five-goal games, though. They each scored the hat trick plus two on four different occasions.

As you probably figured, I bring this up because Detroit Red Wings F Johan Franzen potted five goals in a 7-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators last night. He was the first player to get five in a single game since then-Minnesota Wild winger Marian Gaborik did it against the New York Rangers on Dec. 20, 2007.

Prior to Gaborik's big night, the league had gone 11 years without seeing that kind of individual offensive explosion -- another Wings star, Sergei Fedorov, burned out the red light against the Washington Capitals on Dec. 26, 1996.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I can take my Thursday dip into the mailbag.

That's two bad losses in a row for the Phoenix Coyotes. Can they get things turned around? --R. Gibbs, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Yes, I do think they can get things turned back in the right direction. Their last 80-plus minutes, however, have been as bad as it gets. In that span, they've given up 11 straight goals. Obviously, that's not good.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.