NHL 3 Stars of The Week
Canadian NHL Stars of the Week
Third Star – C Mark Scheifele
After a long absence due to injury, Mark Scheifele returned to full force last week, leading the Jets to terrific results. He singlehandedly dragged Winnipeg to a victory over the Washington Capitals, tying the game with a shorthanded goal with 14 seconds remaining, and setting up the eventual game winner, finishing the contest with a pair of tallies and an assist.
Mark went on to assist half of the goals in the Jets 6-1 dismantling of the Colorado Avalanche, and scored the game winner against the Panthers. This gave him seven points total over Winnipeg’s three wins, lifting the Jets to first place in the Central Division with a 35-15-9 record.
Scheifele’s averaged more than a point per game this season, with 18 goals and 28 assists in 43 games. With their best producer back in the lineup, the Winnipeg Jets become far and away the most dangerous Canadian team in the NHL.
Second Star – G Antti Raanta
This season’s been brutal for the Coyotes, but every now and then the troops pull together an admirable effort to please the local crowd. Last week, goalie Antti Raanta put together a string of superb starts to shine as a star in the desert. He’s had a rough year of injuries, including a car accident which forced him to miss time, which makes the honor a bit sweeter for the netminder.
He backstopped the Coyotes to a perfect 3-0-0 week, beginning with a 37 save victory against Chicago. Antti ended up working on his day off, reflecting 12 shots to finish off a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Raanta then played his best game of the year against the Oilers, earning a 1-0 shutout win by spurning 40 shots from Edmonton.
The Coyotes managed to put together their first four-game winning streak since the beginning of January 2016, a positive which will translate well for player development. Arizona should know that with a bit of injury luck, Antti Raanta will be a solid candidate to maintain a number one spot next year.
First Star – C Nico Hischier
New Jersey Devils
The number one pick in the draft paid off for the New Jersey Devils over the last seven days, as Nico Hischier continues his strong inaugural campaign. This productive rookie scored in four consecutive games, all of them Devils wins. Winning four in a row maintained New Jersey’s position at the top of the wild card heap, tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for third place in the Metro Division.
Nico started with a goal and an assist during a shootout win over Philly, then proceeded to earn a three-point night, assisting twice in a 5-2 triumph over the Hurricanes. Hischier also contributed a single tally during victories over the Lightning and another win over Carolina.
Hischier’s accumulated 13 goals and 26 assists during his first 59 games in the NHL. He’s now sixth in rookie scoring with 39 points, and tied for fourth with 26 assists. Nico’s well on his way to a great career in the NHL, especially if he gets a taste of playoff hockey in 2018.
Three Stars Canadian Honorable Mentions
RW - Blake Wheeler - Winnipeg Jets
The captain of the Winnipeg Jets also had himself a week, teaming up with Scheifele to destroy the competition. Blake had six assists and a pair of goals over the past four games, lifting his total to 67 points in 59 games. He’s one assist away from matching his career best of 52 helpers in 2015-16.
D - Dougie Hamilton - Calgary Flames
Dougie Hamilton scored a hat-trick against the Panthers, but his effort was wasted because he was the only Flames skater to bulge the twine during a 6-3 loss to Florida. He scored a goal and an assist against the Predators during a 4-3 victory before he popped the trick. Dougie now has 13 goals and 21 assists in 59 games.
C - Auston Matthews - Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews makes the three stars honorable mention for his dominating performance against the best team in the NHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning couldn’t stop the Matthews line from scoring, with Auston setting up three of four goals during a 4-3 win. He also scored the game winner against the Detroit Red Wings in a 3-2 victory, finishing the week with one goal and four assists.
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