In 14 games in January, Bobby Ryan notched a point in all but two. It was quite a streak, one that earned him NHL Rookie of the Month honors, and brought him on the doorstep of the rookie scoring lead.
Ryan has since cooled off in February. Before his goal and assist in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, he had just a goal to show in the first five games of the month.
Asked Tuesday if he’s noticed teams tightening up their defense on him, Ryan said “no, not really. On the road, but not at home.”
The one thing that might have changed for Ryan since January is the defensive matchups he’s been challenged with. The rookie has been used exclusively as a top-6 forward the past six games, sometimes skating with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, but usually with Andrew Ebbett and Teemu Selanne on the second line.
“He’s seeing other teams’ best defensive pairs. He’s got to learn to make some adjustments,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “It’s not something where the light’s going to go on. It’s a process. It takes a full commitment, and that’s with any young player.”