After leading the league with nine points in four games — including a NHL-best five goals — Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul was named the NHL’s first star of the week on Monday.
Lupul, who missed 27 games this season with a broken arm, has returned from injury with aplomb. He’s scored at least one point in every game since coming back on Mar. 16 (granted, he was forced to sit out two games due to suspension).
Last week, he notched a goal in a 3-2 shootout loss to Boston, then went on a game-winning goal binge, scoring the deciding marker in a 3-2 victory over Florida, a 6-3 win over Carolina and a 4-0 victory over Ottawa.
The NHL’s second star of the week went to San Jose netminder Antti Niemi.
Niemi led the league in wins, with four, and posted a 1.22 goals-against average and .952 save percentage as the Sharks solidified their hold on a playoff spot.
San Jose currently sits sixth in the Western Conference with 40 points, three back of fifth-place Los Angeles with a game in hand.
Third star of the week went to Edmonton winger Taylor Hall.
Hall tied for first in the NHL with five goals and ranked second with eight points in four games — and accomplished a rare feat along the way.
In a 4-0 win over Vancouver on Saturday, Hall broke Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record for the fastest hat trick in franchise history. The 21-year-old scored three times in 7:53 — Gretzky did it in 12:38 back in 1986 — and was honored to find himself in such exclusive company.
“It’s a pretty special moment that I will never forget,” Hall said afterward. “Playing in an organization like this one, the records you are trying to break have been set by pretty legendary players.”