NHL 3 Stars of The Week
Canadian NHL Stars of the Week
Third Star - G James Reimer
Optimus Reim transformed into one of the best goaltenders in the NHL last week, earning a .964 SV% by allowing only four goals on 110 shots. This translated into three wins, a 1.33 GAA and a shutout. It was Reim Time all week, as James beat the Coyotes 3-2, blocked the Wild by a 4-2 margin and prevented the Senators from scoring during a 1-0 match.
Without Reimer, there’s little chance that the Panthers enjoy a perfect 3-0 week. Prior to his seven days of excellence, many were questioning whether James was working out as a backup for Roberto Luongo. If Reimer maintains this pace, people will wonder whether he should be the starting goalie instead.
Second Star – C Mathew Barzal
New York Islanders
The star of Mathew Barzal continues to rise during his first season in the NHL. He notched his first-ever hat trick against the Winnipeg Jets, including the game winner during a 5-2 victory. Mathew also added an assist against the Red Wings, along with a goal and a helper during an overtime loss to the Ducks. Barzal’s smooth skating and soft hands have been front and center for the Islanders return to playoff contention all year.
He doesn’t appear likely to slow down anytime soon, as the rookie leads all first-year players with 35 points after 36 games played, including 12 goals. It’s not only the volume of goals scored, but the quality of these tallies. Barzal already enjoys a couple of top-notch, highlight-reel scoring plays which will force opposing defenses to pay close attention to him whenever he’s on ice.
First Star – G Tuukka Rask
It was just over a month ago when some observers considered whether Anton Khudobin was about to replace Tuukka Rask as the number one netminder for the Bruins. Boston was in the middle of a nose dive, struggling to get the franchise off the ground to begin the 2017-18 campaign. Injuries to Bergeron, Krejci and Marchand depleted the forward corps, preventing the team from functioning at peak efficiency.
Now that the Bruins are relatively healthy, Rask returned to his workhorse ways, winning three games with a combined .954 SV% and a 1.30 GAA. This helped the Boston Bruins rise to a four-win week, lifting the team to second place in the Atlantic Division. After a rock-solid week, no one questions whether Rask should serve as the number one goalie for the Bruins.
Three Stars Canadian Honorable Mentions:
RW – Mitch Marner – Toronto Maple Leafs
Tricky Mitch has endured a difficult sophomore season, scoring only four goals in 37 games, including a 15-game drought between November and December. Before the Christmas break, Marner turned things around, including a four-point game against the Hurricane and a highlight reel score against the Blue Jackets. The Leafs had a rough time without Auston Matthews, but Marner helped dig the Leafs out of a tough spot by earning two goals and four assists in three games last week. This helped Toronto snap out of a three-game slide with a pair of wins against the Rangers and Hurricanes.
G – Frederik Andersen – Toronto Maple Leafs
Freddy Andersen quietly enjoyed a strong week, helping the Maple Leafs win a pair of games to halt a losing streak. Andersen stopped 32 shots against the Hurricanes and 30 shots against the Rangers, giving the Leafs the type of goaltending needed to enjoy a lift before the NHL holiday break. It’s not a coincidence that the Leafs lost the one game they played without Andersen, dropping a 4-2 decision against the Blue Jackets with backup McElhinney manning the fort.
G – Cam Talbot – Edmonton Oilers
Talbot enjoyed a great week after returning from a November injury. The Oilers netminder was impressive throughout the four games he played, stopping 110 of 118 shots poured into the net by the opposition. He finished the week with a 2.00 GAA, .932 SV% and four wins, helping to create a welcome win streak after Edmonton’s disappointing loss against the Predators.
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