NHL 3 Stars of The Week
Canadian NHL Stars of the Week
Third Star – C Sidney Crosby
Despite a relatively slow regular season, the Pittsburgh Penguins remain among the favorites to win a third straight Stanley Cup because they have Sid The Adult Kid on their team. Last week, he collected seven assists and a goal to lead the Penguins to three wins in seven days. This lifted Pittsburgh back into a wild card spot, only five points behind a floundering Devils squad for third place in the Metro Division.
The timing of his outburst couldn’t have been better. After the Carolina Hurricanes shut out the Penguins with a surprising 4-0 result, Crosby was in on all four goals less than 24 hours later when the Pens shut the Islanders out. He finished the week with a trio of assists during an exciting 6-5 overtime win against the Boston Bruins, ensuring that the letdown game against Carolina didn’t become part of a longer losing trend.
Second Star – G Jonathan Bernier
Jonathan Bernier came out of nowhere to register a fantastic week of backstopping the Avalanche to three consecutive wins after relieving Semyon Varlamov mid-way through a victory against the Jets. Bernier would go on to shutout the Columbus Blue Jackets with 34 saves, adding another 34 saves against Minnesota during a 7-2 drubbing of the Wild. These three elite performances earned Bernier a spot as the second star of the week.
Prior to this plaudit, Bernier lead the Avalanche to a New Year’s Eve win against the New York Islanders, stopping 27 of 28 shots to earn the W. After putting together this win streak, the Colorado Avalanche have risen to join a group of six teams vying for a wild card spot. Without his outstanding goaltending, the Avalanche wouldn’t be a surprise contender for a playoff spot, especially with the injury to top defenseman Tyson Barrie.
First Star – C Patrice Bergeron
At the advanced age of 32, Patrice Bergeron appears to be in the midst of his finest offensive season since his second year in the NHL. After torching the league for five goals and seven points in three games, the Boston Bruins stalwart deservedly took first star of the week. Four of those five goals were against the Carolina Hurricanes, who were destroyed by the Bruins for a 7-1 win. Prior to this blowout, Patrice scored the game winner against the Islanders during a 5-1 victory against New York.
He finished his week of excellence with an assist against the Penguins, helping the Bruins earn a loser point during a 6-5 overtime loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The last time a Bruins scored four goals in a game was October 1999, when legendary scorer Dave Andreychuk potted four for Boston. Patrice’s latest outburst helped lift the Bruins to second place in the Atlantic Division, winning eight of their last ten games and earning a point in eleven consecutive matches.
Three Stars Canadian Honorable Mentions:
RW – Mark Stone – Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators need all the help they can get this season to avoid the basement of the eastern conference. Heroic performances will be required for the Sens to sniff a chance at a playoff spot, and Mark Stone’s week serves as a prime example of the type of play that Ottawa needs from their top forwards. Ottawa played two games in two evenings against the Sharks and the Lightning, with Stone collecting a goal and two assists in both wins, finishing with six points for the week.
G – Frederik Andersen – Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs were dealing with a tough stretch of games before the calendar flipped to 2018, losing three in a row to the Golden Knights, Avalanche and Lightning. Freddy kept the Leafs close to Tampa with 34 saves, stopped 33 of 35 against San Jose for a shootout win, and saved 34 of 36 shots for a second consecutive OT victory against the Canucks. All in all, he turned away 101 out of 107 shots, earning a pair of wins with a sparkling .944 save percentage.
RW – Blake Wheeler – Winnipeg Jets
With top scorer Mark Scheifele sidelined by injury, Blake Wheeler helped to pick up the slack with a seven-game point streak. The Winnipeg Jets have lost only one of those games. Last week, he netted both goals in a 3-2 loss against the Avalanche, scored a power play goal and assist during a win against Buffalo and finished the week with another assist against San Jose during a 4-1 victory against the Sharks. He’s tied for second place in the scoring race with 52 points, alongside Steve Stamkos, Nate MacKinnon and Claude Giroux.
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