After allowing just four goals on 80 shots against the Flyers and Bruins, Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price has been named the NHL’s first star of the week.
It was a good week for Price who, along with the rest of his Montreal teammates, responded exceptionally to being freed from the shackles of Perry Pearn’s tyrannical reign. The Habs won their first home game and put together their first winning streak of the season, which included a sweep of their hated rivals. The highlight of Price’s week was a 29-save effort in Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Bruins at the TD Garden, where he stopped all 11 shots in the third period.
Second star of the week went to Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Like Price, Khabibulin reeled off three victories last week (over the Canucks, Capitals and Blues), improving his numbers on the season to 5-0-2 with a 1.12 GAA and a .960 save percentage. Khabibulin’s also believed to be the first player to win a star of the week within three months of being incarcerated at Arizona’s Maricopa County Jail. As a reward, he’ll be given an extra honey bun at chow.
Third star of the week went to Philadelphia’s Jaromir Jagr. The 39-year-old LW has scored five goals in his last four games (this after going goalless in his first seven) which included a pair of two-goal efforts against the Leafs and Hurricanes. If you’re curious, I believe the last time Jagr earned a three star honor was in Dec. 2007 as a member of the New York Rangers. That year, Jagr finished with 71 points in 82 games — this year, he’s on pace for 82 in 82.
The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.
Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.
The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).
“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”
Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.
Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.
The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.
The first day of the playoffs is April 13.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made
Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.
This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”
Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.
Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.
Vigneault felt the hit was late.
“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.
Beleskey was not suspended.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
From the NHL:
Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.
Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.
Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.
Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse