The NHL named its three stars of the week, handing out a big pat on the back to Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque, St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steve Stamkos.
Here is a quick rundown of each player’s week, via the league’s press release and a few spare thoughts of my own.
First star: Rene Bourque
Bourque scored a League-leading six goals, including three game-winners, and added an assist in four games for the Flames, who posted a 3-1-0 record and climbed to first place in the Northwest Division.
For the past two seasons, Bourque has been one of the league’s most underrated players. He scored 27 goals in 2009-10, providing one of the few bright spots in a pretty bleak season for the Flames. He probably won’t maintain his torrid goal scoring pace (he is averaging a goal per game, after all), but there’s a good chance that he’ll reach the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career this season.
You have to think that the St. Louis Blues are smitten to see their big ticket item of a goalie earn a weekly award already. He absolutely earned it, though, as you can see from this summary of his achievements via the league.
Halak posted a 2-0-1 record with a 1.62 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and one shutout, helping the Blues improve to 4-1-2 on the season.
The most impressive thing is the opponents Halak managed to earn those stats against. He squeezed five out of a possible six points in two games against the Chicago Blackhawks and one against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In fact, the two wins he earned this week came in back-to-back games against the last two Stanley Cup winners. Not bad.
Here is the ridiculous stats Stamkos put up against the Stars, Islanders, Thrashers and Predators.
Versus Stars: one goal, two assists
Versus Islanders: one assist
Versus Thrashers: three goals, one assist
Versus Predators: one assist
In other words, he scored four goals and four assists to keep his (dare I say it?) Hart Trophy-worthy pace going. Could this be a year full of player of the week awards for Stamkos? If he keeps this up, absolutely.