The unsung hero of the Maple Leafs' 5-1-1 start is 6'6", 215-pound center David Steckel. Obtained in a trade with the Devils for a fourth-round pick, he's won face-offs at a 61.4% clip, fourth best in the NHL. Credit Leafs G.M. Brian Burke for recognizing that size and strength matter on draws: None of the league's top 10 face-off men are under 5'11"... . The surprising Avalanche (6-2-0) may have the best third line in the NHL in center Ryan O'Reilly and wingers Daniel Winnick and 18-year-old Gabriel Landeskog, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft. The trio has six goals and nine assists and gives Colorado enviable depth... . The Stars needed goalie Kari Lehtonen to rebound from a mediocre 2010--11, and so far he has done everything they could have hoped, ranking third in the NHL with a 1.48 GAA and fourth with a .957 save percentage.
ABELIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES (STECKEL)