This week’s edition of the NHL Three Stars of the Week had that special playoff flavor to it and Sabres forward Thomas Vanek led the way as the number one star of the week. Vanek helped the Sabres into the playoffs this past week and had a pair of three point games. Vanek’s hat trick against Tampa Bay and his game winning goal along with two assists against Philadelphia helped put the Sabres into the playoffs. Vanek sat out against Columbus in their season finale. Two games and six points is pretty sexy nonetheless and now Vanek will lead the Sabres against the Flyers in the postseason. The Flyers will be hoping he got all that scoring out of his system last week.
Vincent Lecavalier finished the week with four goals and an assist while leading the Lightning to the fifth seed in the East and helping Tampa Bay go 2-1-0 on the week. Lecavalier is the Lightning captain and his scoring has picked up at the right time of year. He’s not the 100 points per season Vinny anymore, but his work in support of Martin St. Louis and Steve Stamkos is solid and they’re hoping that his Stanley Cup experience can help them go deep in the playoffs.
Dan Ellis may not be the guy that Ducks fans expected to help them secure the fourth seed in the Western Conference, but they’re happy he did. Ellis’ week going 2-0-0 with a 1.21 goals against average and a .964 save percentage in three appearances last week helped him land as the third star of the week. Ellis now heads into the playoffs looking like he might just be their starter against his former team in Nashville. With Ray Emery hobbled and Jonas Hiller slow in returning to form from vertigo, Ellis could very well be the man in goal. He’ll need to be strong to put up with Nashville in the playoffs.
We’ve been singing the praises of Corey Perry here of late and for a pretty good reason as he’s been racking up huge numbers while trying to help the Ducks into the playoffs. This past week he was doubly huge as his work scoring three goals and adding five assists was good enough to make him the NHL’s top scorer and the NHL’s first star of the week.
The only downer about that effort is that Anaheim went 2-2-0 over those four games from the past week. For Perry though, the eight points bring him to 93 on the season, good for third in the NHL. Perry’s 47 goals are best in the NHL in that category and his case for a Hart Trophy nomination is stronger than ever.
Jarome Iginla was named the NHL’s second star of the week after scoring three goals and three assists and helping the Flames go 2-1-0 on the week while staying in the hunt for the final spot in the Western Conference playoff picture. Iginla also reached the 1,000 point mark in his career this week becoming just the 77th player all-time to reach that level.
Iginla’s big week could translate into an even better one if the Flames could somehow, someway sneak into the playoffs. The odds are working against them at the moment, but with Iginla leading the way in Calgary, in some way in the back of your mind you’re rooting for it to work out. Well, unless you’re a Dallas or Chicago fan that is.
Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth had the unenviable task of stepping into the starting role while Ryan Miller, an NHL star of the week last week, was out with an injury. Enroth rolled with the punches and decided to step it up going 2-0-1 with a 1.94 goals against average and a .936 save percentage in three starts to earn the NHL’s third star of the week. Enroth also added a shutout over the Rangers to start off his tour of duty during the week stopping 23 shots to do so.
Enroth’s play has been solid enough so as to make sure Sabres coach Lindy Ruff doesn’t have to sweat things out too badly heading down the stretch as the Sabres try to lock down a playoff spot in the East. When Miller went down, the collective blood pressure in Buffalo skyrocketed but Enroth has done well enough to earn the short term faith of the fans in Buffalo.
You know it’s a good week in the NHL when Ryan Miller takes home the number one star of the week and it takes you completely by surprise. We’ve seen how great the week’s second star Corey Perry’s been of late (15 points in nine games) and how the third star of the week Henrik Lundqvist has been forcing himself into Vezina Trophy discussion, but what has Ryan Miller been doing? Plenty.
Last week, Miller went 3-0-0 and finished with a 0.67 goals against average and a .976 save percentages while putting up two shutouts to lead the Sabres into a less perilous position regarding the playoffs. The Sabres are now five points up on Carolina for the eighth spot in the East and Miller’s play last week is a huge reason why. While he’s been rather average most of the year, Miller finally showing why he was last year’s Vezina winner and Team USA hero is a big reason why the Sabres are looking more and more like a lock for the postseason.
Corey Perry has had plenty to crow about of late helping the Ducks climb into better position to make the playoffs this year. In the past week he was the NHL’s top goal scorer putting home five goals and winding up the week with six points in all. Anaheim went 2-1-0 this past week while climbing to seventh in the Western Conference. Perry’s huge goal output has also put him in front for the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer. If Steve Stamkos can shake off his funk, the race between these two to close out the year could be great.
Henrik Lundqvist has been earning his fair share of plaudits as well lately and for good reason. He’s carried the Rangers into what should likely be a playoff spot this year and this past week he’s been outstanding. This past week, King Henrik went 2-0-1 with a microscopic 0.32 goals against average and a .987 save percentage with two shutouts of his own. It seems unfair that he even had to eat a shootout loss to Ottawa as he allowed just one goal all week. File this under our reasons why the shootout stinks.