Around the NHL: Sharp to miss a month, Ashton suspension and more

The injury bug continues to run through the NHL during the early portion of the 2014-2015 season.  Chicago forward Patrick Sharp is expected to miss at least a month after sustaining a lower body injury during Tuesday's 5-0 victory over the Canadiens.

Sharp is just another name added to what seems to be a constantly growing list of players who will miss some significant time.  It is a list that contains some big names.  Already missing from their respective teams are Victor Hedman (hand), Zdeno Chara (knee), Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder) and Taylor Hall (knee).

The good teams will find ways to win in the face of adversity.  Without Hedman and Chara, the Lightning and Bruins are currently both on four game win streaks.  Edmonton, on the other hand has lost it's last four contests.  

Time will tell the impact of Sharp's absence. He does not get the headlines of Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane but the alternate captain led the team in points last season, he has a knack for scoring big goals and is a sound two way player.

Ashton Suspension

It was announced Thursday that Toronto forward Carter Ashton has been suspended 20 games for violating the NHL/NHL Player's Association Performance Enhancing Substances Program. Ashton has stated he will not appeal the ruling.

He will lose almost $170,000 in salary and is mandated to partake in the Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for an evaluation and possible treatment. The suspension stems from the unauthorized use of a prescription inhaler.

At some point during camp, Ashton suffered an exercise induced asthma attack and used a teammate's inhaler. He kept the inhaler and used it a second time later in camp prior to obtaining his own prescription. Ashton stated he was unaware of certain contents within the medication but takes responsibility for his actions.

Team Streaks

The St. Louis Blues have weathered the early season injury bug and have managed to win seven straight games.  The have dealt with the losses of Paul Stasny, T.J Oshie, and David Backes to rebound from a 2-3-1 start and now lead the central division by one point over Nashville.

Vladimir Tarasenko has led the offensive charge. The third year pro has a team high nine goals and sixteen points, including two recent highlight reel tallies against the Rangers and Devils. Jake Allen has played superbly in net for the Blues of late including a 184 minute shutout streak that was ended last night in the team's 4-3 win over New Jersey.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have managed to rattle off six straight wins of their own.  Since losing back to back games to the Flyers and Red Wings, the Penguins have thoroughly dominated their opponents. They now hold a three point lead over the Islanders for first place in the metropolitan division.

Marc-Andre Fleury has posted three shutouts during the current streak. Sidney Crosby leads the Penguins and is tied with Jake Voracek for the NHL lead in points with 19. Pittsburgh has a league best 37.25% power play efficiency. 

Meanwhile, Columbus continues to head down the standings. Since beginning the season 4-2-0, the Jackets have lost six straight games and find themselves tied with Carolina in last place in the metropolitan division.  

The injury bug has hampered Columbus out of the gate.  They have had multiple players miss games due to various injuries and have yet to overcome them.  It is still early and the Jackets are a team that never quits. They have a good mix of young players and veteran leaders but will need to regroup and find ways to win games or a return the playoffs will not happen.

League Leaders through 11/6/14

Goals – Perry, 11

Assists – Voracek, Giroux, 13

Points – Crosby, Voracek , 19

Plus/Minus – Stralman, +15

Wins – Miller, 10

Bill Minchin is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow Bill on Twitter @wtfd103074.

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