This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes a pair of veterans centers on fire, Ovi moving up career goals list, Theodore rising, a hot netminder in Buffalo, Carolina losing their best blueliner and the Buds' netminder scuffling.
First Liners (Risers)
Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT – Malkin stepped up his game when Sidney Crosby was sidelined and has shown no signs of slowing since Crosby has been back. He added two power-play assists Friday, giving Pittsburgh's "second line" center multi-point efforts in four of his last five games and seven goals and 22 points in the last 15 games. Overall, Malkin is up to 15 markers and 36 apples in just 36 games, as injuries have cost him nearly a quarter of the season to date.
Jonathan Toews, C, CHI – Toews' production has been on the rise, aided by skating on a line with Dominik Kubalik. One of the faces of the Chicago franchise, Toews posted a pair of goals and as many assists Saturday, giving the 2007 third overall pick four goals and eight assists his last five games. Overall Toews is up to 14 markers and 29 apples in 49 games after jumping from 52 points two years ago to 81 last season. Ride the hot hand in the Windy City.
Alex Ovechkin, LW, WAS – It's almost oxymoronic to write about Ovi as a Riser, based upon his pedigree and production. But it seems like every game he raises the bar even higher. Saturday, for