NHL 3 Stars of The Week
Canadian NHL Stars of the Week
Third Star – LW Brad Marchand
The Boston Bruins have been the best team in the eastern conference over the last month, earning points in 16 consecutive games, including 12 wins during this span. After transforming into a superstar during the last half of the 2016-17 season, the Bruins rely on his scoring and pesky play to make it difficult to play against Boston on most nights.
Brad earned the third star of the week by notching two goals and five assists in four games, resulting in a 3-0-1 record for the Bruins. Marchand scored a goal and three assists during two wins over Montreal, and a goal with two helpers against the Islanders. He now leads the league with a +24 rating as well.
Second Star – G Connor Hellebuyck
Seems like Connor Hellebuyck was the final piece of the puzzle for the Winnipeg Jets this year. The Jets purchased the services of Steve Mason to solidify goaltending, only to have Connor step up and fulfill the promise he displayed over the past few years. It’s not a coincidence that both Hellebuyck and Winnipeg enjoy their best season in 2017-18.
Over the last seven days, Connor continued to stymie NHL scorers, allowing a single goal against 60 shots. He earned a pair of wins with a 0.48 GAA, .983 SV% and a shutout over the Vancouver Canucks. Connor’s become nearly unbeatable in Manitoba, with 17 wins, a 2.06 GAA and .931 SV%, leading the Jets to one of the best home records in the NHL.
First Star – C Nathan MacKinnon
Nathan MacKinnon’s breakout season shows that he’s ready to lead the Avalanche into the future. Nobody expected Colorado to create any noise this season, but their ten-game win streak makes the Avalanche impossible to ignore, even in the super-competitive Central Division.
Nathan’s scored four goals and chipped in a pair of assists to take the first star of the week, helping to extend the Avs winning streak. Two of those goals were game winners against the Rangers and the Ducks. Facing the Sharks, MacKinnon scored a pair while assisting on a third during a 5-3 triumph over San Jose. As long as N-Mac keeps producing, the Avalanche will continue to be one of the best surprises in the NHL.
Three Stars Canadian Honorable Mentions:
C – Max Pacioretty – Montreal Canadiens
Similar to the rest of the Habs, Max has endured a tough season, producing at a rate beneath his potential. Over the last couple of weeks, Pacioretty’s been on fire, including three goals and an assist over his last three games. Most importantly, he carried the Canadiens to a 3-2 road win over the Capitals, notching a pair of strikes, including the game-winning goal.
G – Mike Smith – Calgary Flames
Calgary put together a seven-game win streak partly because of steady goaltending from Mike Smith. He’s continued to play fantastic over the past week, stopping 103 of 107 shots over the past three games. Unfortunately for the Flames, this resulted in a single win. Despite the lack of victories, a .963 SV% and a sub-1.33 GAA deserves star recognition.
G – Cam Talbot – Edmonton Oilers
If the Edmonton Oilers expect to make the postseason, they’ll need Cam Talbot to regain his form from last season, when he and McDavid carried the Oil to a first-round playoff victory. Over the last week, Cam registered a pair of wins over the Golden Knights and the Canucks, stopping 59 of 63 shots, good for a 1.99 GAA and .937 SV%. If Talbot continues apace, the Oilers will have an outside shot at a big second half run.
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