Parise, Kessel, Backlund named NHL’s stars of the week

Minnesota’s Zach Parise, Toronto’s Phil Kessel and Calgary’s Mikael Backlund have been named the NHL’s three stars of the week.

Parise, the first star, led all skaters with eight points as the Wild went 1-1-1 on the road last wee. Parise scored a goal and two assists in a win over the Ducks — netting the game-winner — before scoring a season-high four points against Colorado. The U.S. Olympic captain finished things off with an assist in a OT loss in Calgary on Saturday, capping off a wildly productive seven-day stretch.

Kessel, the second star, had seven points as the Leafs won all three of their games, moving into third place in the Atlanta Division. Kessel set up the game-winning goal against Tampa, had two assists against Florida and then scored his fifth career hat trick (along with an assist) in a 6-3 win over the Sens on Saturday. Like Parise, Kessel will also represent the U.S. at the upcoming Winter Olympics, and now sits second in the NHL with 30 goals, nine back of league leader Alex Ovechkin.

Third star went to Backlund, who scored six points in three games, helping the Flames rip off a perfect 5-0-0 homestand in the process. Backlund scored two goals in a win over Chicago, two assists in a win over San Jose, then scored his second shorthanded goal of the week and the OT winner against Minnesota on Saturday.

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