After posting a 3-0-1 record with a 0.98 GAA and .961 save percentage and strengthening Anaheim’s once-dead playoff chances, Jonas Hiller has been named the NHL’s first star of the week.
The Ducks goalie was stellar in helping his team earn seven of a possible eight points — all of them on the road. Hiller stopped 17 of 18 shots in a 2-1 win over Minnesota, 25 of 26 in a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh, 25 of 27 in a 3-2 shootout loss to New Jersey and finished with a 31-save shutout against Florida on Sunday.
“I think everybody has been playing pretty well lately, which makes life easier for me too,” Hiller told the OC Register after shutting out the Panthers. “I know the guys are playing tight on their guys. I can focus on stopping the puck. I don’t have to worry about backdoor plays and stuff like that.”
Second star went to Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler. The 25-year-old Minnesota native has quietly put together a career year (11G, 35A, 46PTS) for the Jets and was huge last week as his team pulled even with Toronto for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Wheeler had a league-best eight points (1G, 7A) including a four-assist effort in Sunday’s 5-1 win over Colorado. Wheeler now leads Winnipeg in scoring and sits ahead of some prominent names on the league leaderboard, including Alex Ovechkin.
Third star went to Ottawa’s Jason Spezza. Earning a weekly star honor is becoming old hat for the Sens’ leading scorer — Spezza was named second star on Oct. 24 and first star on Dec. 19 — as he continues on his outstanding campaign. The nine-year veteran scored seven points (3G, 4A) in two games and now has 63 points on the year, good enough for sixth in the NHL.