Silver Nuggets: How much will Milan Michalek slow down?

Milan Michalek has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season for the Ottawa Senators. After 25 games, he is the third in the NHL in goals with 15, just one behind Phil Kessel and Steven Stamkos. He is on pace for 49 goals, and while no one expects him to keep that up, can he be around the 35 goal mark?

This isn't the first time he's had a great start with Ottawa. Looking at Michalek's first season with Ottawa in 2009-2010, the statistics are remarkably close to this season:

2009-2010: 25 Games, 15 goals, 5 assists, 74 shots, 20.27% shooting, 5 power play goals
2011-2012: 25 games, 15 goals, 6 assists, 74 shots, 20.27% shooting, 4 power play goals

In the first 25 games of 2009-2010, Michalek had three multi-goal games and scored in 11 of the 25 games. In 2011-2012, Michalek has had four multi-goal games and scored in 11 of the 25 games. Michalek did have injuries that year, but he played 19 more games after the 25-game mark in 2009-2010 before getting injured. In those 19 games, Michalek totalled one goal and one assist for two points. It also wasn't due to the team collapsing either, as the Senators went 9-10-0 in those 19 games.

Having said all that, I don't think Michalek will finish with 22 goals like he did that season. Even when he isn't scoring, he seems to be hitting posts or blowing by defenders on partial breakaways. His career shooting percentage coming into this season was 12%, and this year he is shooting at 20.27%. If he falls back to his career shooting percentage for the rest of the season, but continues to get the same number of shots, Michalek will score 35 goals over 82 games this season.

Last game

General Sens News
  • Zenon Konopka had a feeling the Senators did pretty well in road games in which they didn't have to go back home after. The Sun reported it as a 4-1 record before last night's game, though that is not correct. They lost in Detroit on opening night before travelling to Toronto. They also lost in Buffalo before travelling to Toronto in November. New statistic: the Senators are undefeated on the road when they don't have to travel to Ontario after the game. Well, before last night anyway. (Ottawa Sun)
  • SenShot asks if Bobby Butler is the new Brandon Bochenski? (SenShot)
  • Jason Spezza was giggling away after taking a tour of the Dallas Cowboys stadium and posing with a Tony Romo jersey in the locker room. (Sportsnet)
  • Stéphane Da Costa will play his first AHL game tonight against the Manchester Monarchs. He feels he has a lot to work on in his game, including his speed and defensive play. He admits the step from college to second line centre in the NHL might have been too big and that he started to struggle for confidence. (Press & Sun-Bulletin)
  • Jakob Silfverberg had five shots, a goal and an assist yesterday, bringing him to six points in his last two games. He now has 22 points in 24 games and is fourth in the Elitserien in points. His decision to stay in Sweden is looking very good now as this will surely give him a lot of confidence for next season. Pierre Dorion is particularly pleased with Silfverberg because he feels the Elitserien is a league where they try to make the "perfect play". That he has been still able to produce highlights Silfverberg's offensive talent. Dorion also likes Silfverberg's defensive play, pointing out that he plays on the penalty kill. (Ottawa Sun,
General Hockey News
  • Is Sidney Crosby becoming a "sacred cow". Daniel Kowbell worries Crosby might become untouchable by the opposition. (Windsor Star)
  • Everyone's favourite hockey daughter, Paulina Gretzky, is back on twitter. (Yahoo!)
  • Derick Brassard's agent, Allan Walsh, ripped the Columbus coach for making Brassard a scapegoat. (Yahoo!)

How many goals will Milan Michalek score this season?

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