After winning all three of his starts and allowing just one goal in each, Minnesota Wild G Josh Harding has been named the NHL’s First Star of the Week. Harding stopped 35 of 36 shots in a 2-1 OT win over Detroit, 24 of 25 in a 5-1 win over Vancouver and 30 of 31 in a 3-1 over St. Louis.
Not a bad week, that.
By winning first star, Harding also further fired up the goaltending controversy started by head coach Mike Yeo, who has gone with Harding in each of Minnesota’s last four contests. While Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune says Niklas Backstrom “will almost certainly start” in Calgary on Tuesday, you have to wonder if that’s simply to rest the Wild’s new No. 1. Backstrom’s 33 and hasn’t achieved anywhere near the success (statistically speaking, anyway) he did in 2008-09, when he was nominated for the Vezina.
Second star of the week went to Dallas’ Loui Eriksson. The 26-year-old Swede registered 2G-4A-6PTS in two games — tallying three points each against the Avs and ‘Canes — and now leads all Stars in scoring with 15 points on the year.
[Random Loui Eriksson factoid: In 2003-04, he played with Vastra Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League as an 18-year-old. His teammates included 19-year old Alex Steen (now with St. Louis) and the Lundqvist twins, 21-year-olds Joel (formerly of the Stars) and Henrik (currently with the New York Rangers.) Not surprisingly, Frolunda was one of the best teams in Sweden that year.]
Third star of the week went to Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom, not to be confused with the Minnesota goaltender we just finished throwing under the bus. Backstrom also scored six points last week (3G-3A) but did it in three games. Backstrom now has 13 assists in 12 games and shares the league lead with Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and Tampa Bay’s Marc-Andre Bergeron.
(Cue the music for “One of these things is not like the other…”)