NHL Three Stars of The Week
Canadian NHL Stars of the Week
Third Star – G Brian Elliott
A ten-game loss streak created one of the most nihilistic moments for the Flyers over the past few years. When the team needed big performances to retreat from the brink of the abyss, Brian Elliott stood on his head all week to give Philadelphia three straight wins.
The western road swing threatened to intensify Philly’s losing trend, but their now-undisputed number one goalie stood on his head during three road games in four days, one of the toughest schedules an NHL franchise faces.
Brian Elliott posted a 1.67 goals against average along with a save percentage of .954, limiting the Oilers and Flames to a pair of goals and allowing a single against the Canucks. These performances weren’t an option for Philadelphia, because backup Michal Neuvirth remains out with a lower body injury.
Second Star – G Jake Allen
St. Louis Blues
The Blues hit a couple of snags before last week, giving the Winnipeg Jets and the Nashville Predators a chance to catch up in the Central Division standings. Rather than leave room for interpretation, St. Louis took care of business all week, with Jake Allen winning four games in a row.
With backup Carter Hutton injured, Allen was in a similar situation as Brian Elliott. Jake notched an extra win and managed to shutout the high-flying Dallas Stars. Allen posted a 1.50 GAA and a save percentage of .944, improving to 17-6-2 this season.
St. Louis possesses one of the best lineups in the NHL, including a deep defense and a strong fleet of top six forwards. If Allen continues to stonewall the opposition, Jake might be the type of number one goaltender who lifts the Blues over the championship hump.
First Star – C Brayden Schenn
St. Louis Blues
Schenn ascended to fifth in the NHL scoring race with an explosive week, notching a goal in four consecutive games during the St. Louis Blues weekend of perfection. Brayden’s made the Blues front office look like geniuses, while the Flyers appear to have given away a top ten scorer who rounds into his prime.
Brayden scored a hat trick in a 4-3 win against the Canadiens, the first goal in a 3-0 shutout of the Stars, completing the week with two goals and an assist against the Red Wings and the Sabres.
After a six-goal week, Schenn is tied for game winning goals with six and plus/minus with +25. His linemates, Jaden Schwartz (+23) and Vladimir Tarasenko (+18), rank second and fourth in the category across the NHL. This top line has lead the Blues to a tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Presidents’ Trophy race.
Three Stars Canadian Honorable Mentions:
G - Mike Smith - Calgary Flames
Over the past couple of years, Calgary’s had a tough time maintaining momentum due to defensive lapses and goaltending issues. For the most part, acquiring Mike Smith has helped improve the Flames defending. Last week was a prime example of his professionalism, bouncing back from a tough game to shut the gates against the Maple Leafs and the Flames, stopping 53 of 56 shots for a .946 save percentage.
G - Curtis McElhinney - Toronto Maple Leafs
Curtis keeps on maintaining a job in the NHL because he’s the type of backup goaltender that teams desire. Nobody’s ever heard anything bad about McElhinney, because he’s the ultimate team-first netminder. During a tough back-to-back on the weekend, Curtis stepped in against the Oilers, without Matthews in the lineup. He pitched a 41-save shutout for the Maple Leafs, further proving his worth as the best backup in the league.
LW - Nikolaj Ehlers - Winnipeg Jets
Nik gets a nod for honorable mention after contributing as a consistent scorer for the Winnipeg Jets last week. Ehlers notched a marker in three consecutive games last week, against the Panthers, Lightning and the Canucks. He helped to salvage an OT point against the league-leading Lightning and put the Canucks away when they returned home to Manitoba. If he keeps up this scoring pace, he’ll break the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career.
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