When an NHL player endures a six- or seven-game goal-scoring drought in the middle of the season, it doesn't get too much notice, sometimes not even in that team's city.
But late January isn't the middle of the season this time around. With the shortened campaign, the pressure to produce is heightened.
Here's a look at some reliable forwards looking to hit the back of the twine for the first time. It's not necessarily an indictiment of play in all cases; we haven't seen all the games. Let's call them noticeable goose eggs.
All stats are through games played Jan. 29
- David Backes, St. Louis: All's well with the Blues winning consistently, but Backes scored 55 over last two seasons.
- Nicklas Backstrom, Washington: Always more of a playmaker, but rarely goes six games without a goal.
- Phil Kessel, Toronto: Averaged 34 goals the past four seasons, has fired 27 shots in six games.
- Mike Richards, Los Angeles: Surrounded by talent with Kings, doesn't look like he'll produce like he did with Flyers.
- Devin Setoguchi, Minnesota: Potted 31 as a rookie in 2008-09 but may never reach that pace again.
- Ryan Smyth, Edmonton: Sure, he's in his twilight and not one of the team's young guns, but still, zero in five games.
- Jordan Staal, Carolina: Has five helpers, undoubtedly anxious to get his first goal in a Carolina jersey.
- Paul Stastny, Colorado: Reliable 20-goal scorer has just one assist to show in five games.
- Drew Stafford, Buffalo: Scored 52 goals past two seasons for Buffalo.
- R.J. Umberger, Columbus: Over 20 goals past four seasons, has just one assist.
Captains Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver), and forwards Ryan Clowe (San Jose) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton) are also all without a goal, but each have contributed several assists for their team.
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla also hopes to get one of his plentiful streaks underway after going four games without a goal.
Trick question. Neither has managed a point so far this season. Obviously, Weber and Doughty both contribute in all facets of the game for Nashville and Los Angeles, respectively. With both signed through at least 2018-19 on monster contracts, they have plenty of time to produce.
Jason Garrison is a plus-2 through six games for Vancouver, but it's unlikely the Canucks spent nearly $28 million US over six years on a guy for his stalwart defensive play. It was in small part due to the cannon that helped him notch a career-high 16 goals last season.
According to a tweet from Capitals beat guy Ted Starkey on Tuesday night, John Carlson has been on the ice for 15 of Washington's 22 goals allowed.
Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf, based largely on two horrendous games against the New York teams, is a minus-7 on a team that's allowed just two more goals than it's scored.
Six games is too small a sample size for any player, really, but especially for goalies. As Jonas Hiller of Anaheim and Cam Ward of Carolina found out in recent days, one bad outing this early on can send the goals-against average shooting well over three per game.