Can Blackhawks' Panarin avoid hitting the rookie wall?
Artemi Panarin, the Chicago Blackhawks' boy wonder who has become fast friends with Patrick Kane while playing on one of the most lethal lines in the NHL, has never played more than 64 hockey games in a single season.
Naturally, the when-will-Panarin-hit-a-wall story line has been gaining momentum.
The Hawks just played their 48th game, so there still is more hockey to come before Panarin experiences the season stretching into April and most likely beyond.
Kane, though, doesn't believe his buddy -- or linemate and center Artem Anisimov -- will have fatigue issues. Not for an extended length of time, anyway.
"All three of us are on each other to try and either be better or as good as we can," Kane said after the Hawks' 5-2 win Sunday over Montreal. "He takes care of himself, too. I don't see any slowing down.
"There's going to be games throughout the season where you don't play as well or you might have little mini-slumps here or there, but we don't want those to happen. If they do, we want to get rid of them real quick."
Panarin's longest stretch without a point is three games, which has happened two times. He has 16 goals and 27 assists, a 73-point pace.
Patrick Kane was named Monday the NHL's First Star for last week. He had 4 goals (3 coming against Toronto on Friday) and 3 assists.
Calgary's Sam Bennett scored 6 goals in three games and was named the Second Star. Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar (2G, 5A) was the Third.
He said it:
"Last year, I play 82 games, never got a stick in my face. The last three games, I had to change two visors because there was so many sticks around."
-- Marian Hossa, who was high-sticked by Montreal's Tomas Plekanec on Sunday
Jonathan Toews, who had just 8 goals in the first 29 games, has 11 goals in the last 19 games. … Marian Hossa had 17 points in his first 38 games. He has 7 in the last five. … Andrew Shaw, who had just 2 goals and 3 assists after 21 games, is now on pace to tie his career high in points, which is 39.