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.
San Jose’s Joe Pavelski has had a mostly quiet season for the Sharks, but with the season winding down and the playoffs approaching, that mean’s it’s his time to shine. Last year’s playoff star for the Sharks blew up last week scoring three goals and adding eight assists over four games to earn the NHL number one star of the week.
Pavelski recorded multi-point games in each of the four he played in last week, a stretch that saw the Sharks go 3-1-0 and was highlighted by his four assists in a 6-3 win over the Stars and his two goals and one assist against St. Louis on Saturday night. While he’s surrounded by bigger stars like Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, and Patrick Marleau, Pavelski’s proven his worth and now that he’s heating up again the Sharks will be better off for it.
Anaheim’s Ray Emery earns the NHL’s second star of the week not just for making his comeback from hip surgery successful but for doing so by playing great. Emery went 2-0-0 last week with a 0.99 goals against average and .968 save percentage as he helped the Ducks jump into the eighth spot in the Western Conference this week. Emery’s play has helped steady things in goal for the Ducks while Jonas Hiller continues to miss time due to vertigo. The combo of Emery and Dan Ellis has done quite well in Hiller’s absence and the Ducks are benefiting greatly from it.
Montreal’s P.K. Subban may have caught your eye here this morning with his dazzling goal against the Wild last night, but his play last week earned him the NHL’s third star of the week. He had four goals and two assists last week including a historic hat trick last night, the first by a rookie defenseman in Montreal Canadiens history. Love him or hate him, Subban’s doing quite well in his rookie season for the Habs and should get serious consideration for the Calder Trophy at season’s end.
The beauty of youth is served this week with the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week as Washington’s Braden Holtby took home top honors after a spectacular week. Holtby went 4-0-0 this week with a 1.05 goals against average and a .965 save percentage while helping the Caps climb back atop the Southeast Division and into the number two spot in the Eastern Conference. The 21 year-old rookie was outstanding earning a 22-save shutout against the Oilers and was strong in wins over Tampa Bay and Carolina. Yesterday he looked solid as well against Chicago in NBC’s Game of the Week.
Holtby has gotten the call thanks to an injury to Semyon Varlamov and while he’s played so well of late he’s moved the season-long consistent starter Michal Neuvirth to the bench. Getting great play from all their goaltenders all season long has been a boon for the Caps and Holtby is a prime example of the youthful depth they have in Washington.
Daniel Sedin’s week wasn’t too shabby either. Sedin led the league in scoring last week with three goals and five assists all while helping Vancouver go 3-0-0 last week. That kind of effort is good enough to make him the NHL’s number two star of the week. Daniel is the NHL’s top scorer this year with 89 points, five better than Steve Stamkos and six better than his brother Henrik, last year’s NHL MVP. Sedin’s work is helping Vancouver sit atop the Western Conference standings this year and has them as a leading candidate to win the Stanley Cup.
Corey Perry was the NHL’s top goal scorer last week as he scored five goals and added two assists to make him the third star of the week. Perry’s output gave him 36 goals on the season and while the Ducks went 2-1-0 last week, losing only to Phoenix last night, Perry’s goal output has been consistent all season long. His 75 points in 69 games this year have him ranked fifth in the NHL in scoring. If the Ducks are able to make the playoffs this year, expect to hear some throw his name around as a darkhorse MVP candidate.
It’s been a good week for Jarome Iginla. Last night Iginla joined a prestigious club of players who have scored 30 or more goals in 10 or more straight seasons. Only nine other players in NHL history have done that and now Iginla is rewarded as the NHL’s number one star of the week due to his huge offensive output for the past week.
Iginla was the NHL’s top scorer last week with five goals and three assists and he’s helped lead Calgary into playoff position in the Western Conference. It’s quite the feat for the Flames captain considering how poorly the team started the season. Having them in a position now to get in the playoffs speaks volumes about his leadership and the way the team has rallied around him.
Coming out of nowhere to have a huge week was Buffalo defenseman Andrej Sekera. Sekera finished the week with one goal and seven assists in helping the Sabres earn seven out of eight possible points last week and getting the team into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference for the time being and earned the NHL’s second star of the week. The puck-moving defenseman has had a real breakout here of late and his added offensive production has been huge for the Sabres. His goal and assist against Philadelphia stuck out as the Sabres surprised the Flyers 5-3. If Sekera keeps playing like this and gives the Sabres more offensive punch, Buffalo will not only make the playoffs but be a threat to upset a top team or two.
The picture of consistency this year in goal has been Montreal’s Carey Price. Last week, Price went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals against average and a .974 save percentage with a shutout and earned the NHL’s third star for the week. Considering the position Price was in last season losing his starting job to Jaroslav Halak and having everything he did on and off the ice being scrutinized, Price’s maturity in bouncing back this year and dedicating himself to playing great hockey has been a wonder for the surging Canadiens.
Toronto’s Phil Kessel gets a lot of grief around the NHL. After all he was the last guy picked at the All-Star Game and he’s hated in Boston. This past week, however, he’s been nothing but clutch in Toronto and his four goals and four assists were good enough to lead the league in points for the week and earned him the NHL’s number one star for the week.
Kessel’s output was good enough to lead the Leafs to a 2-0-2 record last week and helped get the Leafs back into the talk as a potential playoff team in the East. Kessel’s been the man for Toronto all year this year leading the team in goals and trailing only Clarke MacArthur in points.
Chicago’s Corey Crawford is continuing to have a huge rookie season and his 3-0-0 record last week with a 1.95 goals against average and .936 save percentage with one shutout were good enough to get him the second star of the week. Crawford’s efforts this year have been huge with Marty Turco not playing well and now he’s been able to get Chicago back into the mix heavily for the playoffs. If he can keep up the stellar play, he might even be able to earn himself a Calder Trophy on top of it all.
Columbus’ Matt Calvert had a breakout week. The Blue Jackets rookie was the NHL’s top goal scorer last week scoring five goals including a hat trick against Phoenix in a 5-2 win. Calvert’s been a pleasant surprise this year for the Jackets and his production is helping them stay close in the playoff race out West.