Even though I consider myself a hockey stats geek, there are only two categories I check EVERY day without fail 1) The standings 2) The scoring race.

Aside from a few surprise teams at the top and bottom of the standings, nothing too out of the ordinary this year; tight races in both conferences because the NHL still insists upon giving away a charity point.

However, the scoring race has been interesting. Throughout the year I have heard the following sentences from people when discussing the scoring race…

“I can’t believe that HE is still up there”

“He can’t keep up this pace forever”

“Alright, everything looks to be right in the world again”

“I spoke too soon”

Let’s take a look at the top 10 scorers as they stand right now and compare their numbers to where they were last year at this point

1)      Evgeni Malkin after 43 games LAST YEAR: 37 points THIS YEAR: 59 points Difference: +22

This one may be a bit misleading because Malkin only played 43 games in total in 2010-11. Regardless, he is having a great season and could win the scoring race despite already missing 7 games.

2)      Claude Giroux after 45 games LAST YEAR: 39 points THIS YEAR: 55 points Difference: +16

Here we have another player who missed some time this year, but is still in battle for the scoring lead. Giroux has been fantastic and Scotty Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr have been reaping the benefits as well

3)      Steven Stamkos after 49 games LAST YEAR: 64 points THIS YEAR: 54 points Difference: -10

Stamkos is 10 points behind last year’s pace and still sits 3rd in league scoring. His goal total has also dropped from 37 to 33, yet he still leads the league in that category

4)      John Tavares after 49 games LAST YEAR: 39 points THIS YEAR: 53 points Difference: +14

Just fixed an error I had here earlier (thanks to IslesWin86) . Tavares had a 4 point night last night to boost himself into the top 5 and is having a sick season. 

5)      Marian Hossa after 50 games LAST YEAR: 44 points THIS YEAR: 53 points Difference: +9

In my humble opinion, Hossa is one of the most underrated players in the NHL and he is showing it this year. The last time he finished top 5 in scoring was 2003-04

6)      Pavel Datsyuk after 50 games LAST YEAR: 56 points THIS YEAR: 53 points Difference: -3

Datsyuk started off the season very slowly (Only 10 points in the first 16 games), but has since turned this into another ho-hum great season. The highest he has finished in scoring is 4th and he has done that twice.

7)      Henrik Sedin after 50 games LAST YEAR: 61 points THIS YEAR: 53 points Difference:  -8

The fact that Henrik is top 7 in the league in scoring should not be a surprise, the fact that he is 8 points behind last year’s pace should be.

8)      Daniel Sedin after 49 games LAST YEAR: 63 points THIS YEAR: 52 points Difference: -11

Daniel won the Art Ross last year with 104 points so I guess a bit of a drop off is expected. However, not the largest drop off among the top 10 scorers.

9)      Joffrey Lupul after 50 games LAST YEAR: 28 points THIS YEAR: 52 points Difference: +24

Much like Malkin, this number is a little tainted because Lupul played a grand total of 54 games last season. However, you have to give him credit for a great season. Put it this way, he is already 2 points ahead of his career high.

10)   Jonathan Toews after 50 games LAST YEAR: 45 points THIS YEAR: 51 points Difference +6

Toews is looked upon as one of the elite players in the NHL, but it may surprise you that he has never finished in the top 10 in scoring

11)   Phil Kessel after 50 games LAST YEAR: 34 points THIS YEAR: 51 points Difference +17

I know I said I was only going to look at the top 10, and Kessel is technically 11th, but I had to put him on this list. Aside from the guys who had injuries this year, Kessel’s +17 is the biggest jump on this list.

*******

Lets head to the links

In case you missed it yesterday, Sid now says he has soft tissue damage in his neck (NHL)

Paul Gaustad had a …well…lets call it interesting chirp last night for a member of the Habs (Pro Hockey Talk)

Plenty to laugh about when talking about the Habs, but Dirty Dangle did find one bright spot

This kid loves to steal the show during Bruins’ intermissions (Puck Daddy)

Hey Ray Ferraro, the most important rule of broadcasting: If there is a mic in front of you , be careful what you say! (The Province)

The Rat Trick looks back and wonders: What If Alexander Ovechkin Was A Florida Panther?

Sad news from the hockey world as Phil Esposito’s daughter passed away. (Lightning)

Sabres win, but Thomas Vanek is out with an upper body injury (Buffalo News)

And finally, the rivalry continued last night (with one of the sickest saves of the year)