NOT STANDING PAT: It was fashionable last season to put down the Patrick Division. The Patrick had no team with more than 85 points and only two of its six teams finished above .500. But now it's a different story.
With the regular season nearing the one-quarter mark, five of the six Patrick teams were at or above .500 after Thursday night. Even the last-place Islanders have turned competitive, winning five of six games after getting their veteran goaltenders back.
In all, Patrick teams were 38-24-4 after Thursday, by far the best in the league. Entering the sixth weekend of the season, both the Adams (23-31-4) and Norris (25-31-5) were below the break-even mark. Smythe teams were at .500 (27-27-1).
THURSDAY BYE-BYE: Kings LW Luc Robitaille will begin his four-game suspension Thursday when the team departs for a five-game road trip. Robitaille was suspended after receiving a match penalty last Saturday. The NHL said he attempted to injure the Oilers' Craig Simpson. Robitaille will miss games against Calgary, Montreal, Quebec and Detroit.
OILERS DROUGHT: It is hard to picture Edmonton having trouble scoring goals, but a lack of offense was the primary cause of its nine-game losing streak. The Oilers allowed only 30 goals during the nine games -- a 3.33 average. But the team that holds almost every single-season NHL scoring record managed only 14 goals in the nine losses.
GOING DOWN: Detroit right wing Kevin McClelland, scoreless in three games, was sent to the Red Wings' Adirondack farm club for two weeks, Coach Bryan Murray said.
"Kevin had surgery during the offseason on his right shoulder and missed all of training camp. We want him to go to Adirondack and play every day so he will be ready to return to Detroit," Murray said.