Minnesota forward Jason Pominville, Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Caps winger Jason Chimera were named the NHL’s three stars of the week on Monday for the week ending Nov. 3.
It’s not the typical collection of names you’ve come to expect for three stars but hey, these guys deserved it.
Pominville has been a huge catalyst for the red-hot Wild (winners in five of their last six) and finished tied for the league lead in goals (four) and points (six) last week. The former Sabres captain now has goals in four straight games — his longest streak since 2008 — and sits tied for third in the NHL in goals, with 10, and leads the Wild with 12 points. His 10G-2A line also has him in the running for this year’s Cy Young (for more on the NHL’s Cy Young, click here.)
Second star went to Fleury, who continued his bounce-back campaign by going 3-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA and .940 save percentage. His play was a big part of Pittsburgh going undefeated last week and remaining atop the Metropolitan Division — his best effort came on Nov. 1 when he stopped a season-high 37 shots in a win over Columbus, becoming the first goalie in the NHL this season to reach 10 wins in the process.
Chimera, not known as an offensive weapon, piled up the points last week, leading all NHLers (with six) while posting a career-high four points in a 7-0 drubbing over the Flyers on Friday night. The 34-year-old now has goals in four straight games and sits fourth on the Caps in points, with 11 through 14 games.
It’s worth noting that Chimera’s career-high in points is 39, and he’s nearly one-third of the way there already.
People might chuckle at Marc-Andre Fleury’s gaffe from Saturday, but the goalie and his Pittsburgh Penguins got the last laugh, beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 via a shootout.
Fleury stopped 34 out of 37 shots to remain undefeated, as the Penguins only loss came when he was getting a breather.
It was really a game about Pittsburgh’s big stars, as Sidney Crosby continues his ridiculous start to 2013-14; he collected a goal and two assists to push his NHL-leading points total to 17. As of this writing, he leads everyone else by at least six points.
Evgeni Malkin made a big contribution, too, as he collected an assist and the shootout-winner. The Penguins have now won 11 straight shootouts at home.
The Canucks carried much of the play, firing 39 shots on goal compared to Pittsburgh’s 28, but they couldn’t beat Fleury enough to take the win. Like seemingly everyone else (aside from the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Eastern Conference Final), they also couldn’t stop Crosby.
Even in good times, Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has a tendency to give up some wacky goals. Saturday presented a great example, as Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler beat him from center ice:
That goal was a nice gift for Edler, who was just returning from a three-game suspension for a hit on Tomas Hertl.
Fleury can shake it off – aside from maybe some ribbing in the locker room – because Sidney Crosby scored a great goal to tie it up. Crosby now has an eight-game point streak with an NHL-leading 15 overall.
Overall, the 28-year-old netminder actually had a great first period, as the Penguins go into the first intermission tied 1-1 despite Vancouver’s 15-5 shot disadvantage.
“The Flower” isn’t the only guy to let up a weird goal lately.
Roberto Luongo suffered from this stunning own-goal about a week ago:
Jonathan Quick flubbed one on Oct. 8:
And Jonathan Bernier had a head-scratcher Thursday:
So, chin up “MAF,” you’re not alone.
The reigning MVP of the NHL is also the first star of the week.
From the league’s release on Alex Ovechkin’s latest honor:
Ovechkin led the NHL in goals (4), points (6), power-play goals (3), power-play points (5) and shots on goal (24) just days after returning from Greece, where he became the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. He opened the season by recording 1-1—2 in a 6-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Oct. 1. Ovechkin then scored twice, assisted on the game-tying goal and potted the clinching score in the shootout to help the Capitals rally from a three-goal deficit in a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames Oct. 3. He closed the week by tallying Washington’s lone goal, the 375th of his career, in a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars Oct. 5. The 28-year-old Moscow native and reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner has played in 604 career NHL games, all with the Capitals, totaling 375-366—741.
Montreal center Lars Eller and Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury were the second and third stars of the week, respectively.
That’s a pretty refreshing way to start the season for Fleury in particular, who came into 2013-14 under immense pressure to rediscover his form and responded with two wins, a shutout and a .979 save percentage in his first two starts.
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury entered the 2013-14 campaign with something to prove and he got off to a great start Thursday night. Fleury turned aside 27 shots, including a late third period penalty shot, to pick up his 250th victory and 24th shutout.
It would be tempting to make that event into some grand statement after his disastrous showing in the 2013 playoffs, but the Penguins and Fleury kept level heads with 81 games left to go. They did, however, take this opportunity to assert that they’ve never lost faith in Fleury.
“Sometimes I shake my head at the things I read,” forward Craig Adams said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“This guy’s a champion. He’s a great teammate. I’m happy for him. He played awesome …
“(But) I don’t think it means as much as you might think. We’ve had confidence and will have confidence in Flower.”
Ultimately it was a strong performance and Fleury’s achieved a significant milestone, but it’s hard to read too much into this start. Fleury has endured four rough playoff runs in a row, but he’s remained strong in the regular season.
Like the rest of the Penguins, Fleury could have a dominant 2013-14 campaign, but that’s not what he’ll be judged on. If he wants to move past the concerns surrounding him, then he’ll need to have some outings like this in the playoffs.