Hits and misses from the first month

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One month into the season, and there are some interesting storylines already taking shape.

WHAT'S WRONG IN CALGARY: Though they didn't address needs to shore up an offense that scored just 211 goals last season -- only Columbus and St. Louis had fewer -- the Flames have reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff in goal, and he's expected to keep them battling in a lot of close games.

It hasn't happened so far. The Flames' shortcomings on offense are still there: their 34 goals scored are tied with the Blues for second-fewest in the league heading into play Monday night.

Kiprusoff also is going through the first real downturn in his career. After a 42-20-11 record with a 2.07 goals-against average and a league-leading 10 shutouts last season, Kiprusoff is just 4-7-1 with a 2.77 GAA and one lone shutout.

PHILLY FRUSTRATION: It took just two weeks for a team to have its first major housecleaning of the season when the Flyers fired Ken Hitchcock (and, curiously, rehired him as a scout) and accepted the resignation of longtime general manager Bobby Clarke.

Under Hitchcock, Philadelphia got off to a 1-6-1 start. Since former AHL coach John Stevens took over, the Flyers are just 2-3-0, and still haven't scored more than three goals in a game in nearly a month.

Of Philadelphia's 27 goals this season, 16 have come from the top line of Simon Gagne, Peter Forsberg and Mike Knuble. Add in three each from Geoff Sanderson and R.J. Umberger, and that leaves five players with one goal each.

On defense, there is none it seems. Now 34 years old, Derian Hatcher has no points and already is a minus-15, and Joni Pitkanen is a minus-10, but has eight assists. Robert Esche has been a horror show in nets, and Antero Niittymaki has been playing with a hip injury that will need surgery at some point.

BROADWAY BLUES: A sophomore slump has hurt the New York Rangers despite them being just above .500 and in contention for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

Henrik Lundqvist has looked little like the goaltender that burst on the scene as a rookie last season and helped New York ended a lengthy playoff drought. He's already given up four or more goals in a game six times in 10 games -- that happened nine times in 51 games last season. Kevin Weekes has made three straight starts, winning two key road games, and could see more time in net.

On the plus side, the addition of Brendan Shanahan has been a smart one from a franchise that historically seemed to pick up superstars well on the downside of their careers.

Shanahan scored 309 goals in nine seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, and at 37 years old, doesn't seem to be slowing down. He leads the league with 12 goals, including seven on the power play. Last season, the Rangers has two players with more than seven man-advantage tallies -- Jaromir Jagr with 24, and rookie Petr Prucha with 16.

Jagr enjoyed a resurgence last season, with a franchise-record 54 goals and 123 points before being nosed out by Jonathan Cheechoo for the Rocket Richard Trophy and Joe Thornton for the Art Ross. The goal-scoring is down in 2006-07 as he has just five, but he also leads the league heading into play Monday with 18 assists and 23 points.

STUMBLING SENATORS: A year ago, Ottawa won 19 of its first 22 games. No way that's happened this season.

Dany Heatley, playing in his first season with the Senators, opened with a 22-game points streak. This season, he's scored all seven of his goals in a five-game span from Oct. 19-28.

Steady goaltending has been a problem, and no moreso evident than Monday night's 4-3 overtime loss to Washington. Martin Gerber -- given a 3-0 first-period lead -- gave up the tying goal to Alexander Ovechkin with 25 seconds left in regulation, and the winner to Chris Clark 1:33 into overtime.

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