NHL Three Stars of The Week
Canadian NHL Stars of the Week
Third Star - C Radek Faksa
Nobody would blame you if you haven’t heard of Radek Faksa, a center for the Dallas Stars. The Stars are loaded with offensive talent, including former Art Ross winner Jamie Benn, sniper Tyler Seguin and winger Alexander Radulov, but Radek stole the show, scoring five goals and two assists in a busy, four game schedule last week.
Most impressively, Faksa didn’t need to play with any of the Stars top forwards to earn his plaudit. Instead, he lifted third and fourth line forwards to glory, providing valuable secondary scoring to extend Dallas’ win streak to five.
Faksa’s enjoying a boost in ice time because of the absence of Martin Hanzal, who’s been ineffective and recently sidelined with a hamstring injury. Now that Radek has displayed a capacity to raise the quality of his linemates, expect him to earn more ice time as the youngster displays greater consistency.
Second Star - G Carey Price
Montreal’s media went nuts at the beginning of the regular season, when the Canadiens couldn’t buy a win. Not only was the offense completely ineffective, but one of the most consistent goaltenders in the NHL wasn’t able to make saves. Panic quickly set in as fans of Les Habitants witnessed the team fly apart.
Turns out Price wasn’t quite right because of an ailment which prevented peak performance. Missing ten games allowed his body to heal, but also gave him a chance to recalibrate his mental approach. Usually a cool customer, Carey displayed rare flashes of anger before his recovery.
Now, the Canadiens are in the middle of a five-game win streak, suddenly looking like eastern conference contenders again. Price is in the middle of this impressive shift, with a 1.50 GAA and a .950 SV%, winning all four games last week.
First Star - RW Blake Wheeler
Blake Wheeler has been one of the main components of the Winnipeg Jets rapid rise to the top of the ridiculously competitive western conference standings. Manitoba’s team has outpaced the St. Louis Blues to control the Central Division, as the Jets have finally combined their explosive offense with competent defensive play.
Blake was fire on ice over the last seven days, leading Winnipeg to another fantastic week. Wheeler managed to enjoy two three-point games and a four-point game, earning eight assists and a pair of goals while crushing the Minnesota Wild, Vegas Golden Knights and Ottawa Senators.
Three Stars Canadian Honorable Mentions:
RW - Zack Kassian – Edmonton Oilers
Kassian put in a workmanlike week to help the Oilers earn some rare points, scoring a pair of goals and chipping in two assists. He also managed to notch a +5 while picking up five PIMs, scoring a Gordie Howe hat-trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs. A shorthanded assist against Calgary helped Edmonton seal a big win against Calgary in the latest addition of the Battle of Alberta.
LW – Alex Galchenyuk – Montreal Canadiens
Galchenyuk follows in the footsteps of controversial forwards named Alex, joining Alexander Radulov and Alex Kovalev as favorite targets of Montreal’s rabid fanbase. After a slow start to the season, Galchenyuk turned up the volume last week, putting his opponents on blast with a six-point week, including five assists and a game winning goal.
C – Mark Scheifele – Winnipeg Jets
Blake Wheeler’s partner in crime had himself a week too, scoring three goals and contributing six assists to finish off a superb month for Winnipeg. Mark could have easily been considered one of the three stars of the week, but his level of production isn’t surprising anyone anymore. He’s one of the best centers in the NHL, worthy of Hart and Art Ross consideration.
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