In the wake of last week’s goal-scoring binge, Chicago’s Patrick Sharp has been named the NHL’s first star of the week — with Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller and Pittsburgh winger James Neal honored as second and third.
Sharp led the NHL with six goals in three games, which included two in a win over New Jersey, three in a 7-2 whitewash of Colorado and a solo tally in a shootout loss to St. Louis. By the time he was done, Sharp found himself with 22 tallies on the season — tied for fourth in the league — and on pace to eclipse the career-high 36 he scored during the 2007-08 campaign.
Miller captured second star honors on the strength of a 1.55 GAA and .961 save percentage as the Sabres secured five of six points last week. Miller beat the Coyotes with 36 saves in a 2-1 win, then stopped 39 shots in a 4-3 shootout loss to Toronto. The American ‘tender finished things off with a career-high 49 saves in a shootout win over Washington on Sunday.
Third star went to Neal, who led all skaters with eight points last week as the Penguins won two of three. What’s remarkable is that Neal did all his damage in two games — he was held scoreless in a 5-0 loss to Ottawa before racking up three points against Carolina and five in a 5-3 win over Columbus. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he also became the first Penguins player to register at least five points in a game in which he factored all of his team’s goals since Jan. 19, 2010, when Sidney Crosby posted 2-4—6 in a 6-4 triumph over the New York Islanders.