Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen, Detroit forward Gustav Nyquist and Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera were named the NHL’s three stars of the week on Monday.
Lehtonen, the first star, went 3-1-0 with a 1.25 GAA and .944 save percentage as the Stars rebounded from an awful start in January to move within six points of a playoff spot. The highlights of Lehtonen’s week were two shutouts — a 4-0 blanking of Minnesota and a 3-0 clean sheet against Pittsburgh — and his 24 saves in a 7-1 whipping of Toronto. Of note, Lehtonen now has 25 shutouts in a Dallas uniform, moving him into third on the list behind Marty Turco and Ed Belfour, who posted 40 and 27 shutouts respectively since the franchise moved to Texas in 1993.
Nyquist, the second star, scored six points in four games as Detroit picked up five of a possible eight points. Nyquist’s big games came in a 5-4 shootout win over Chicago (one goal, one assist) and a 4-1 win over Montreal (also 1G-1A). He has been solid throughout the season, scoring nine goals and 17 points in 27 games.
Sekera, the third star, scored six points and recorded a plus-8 rating as Carolina won three straight games and got within a point of third place in the Metropolitan Division. The highlight of Sekera’s week came during a 5-3 win over Buffalo, as he scored a career-high three points (1G, 2A) and scored his first game-winning goal in nearly five years. The 27-year-old Slovak — who was named to his country’s Olympic team for Sochi — now all Hurricanes blueliners in goals (8), assists (22) and points (30) this year.
GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: