Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey | Last updated 10/31/11
Here is this week’s version of The Week Ahead, where we take a look at the three stars of last week, players and teams to keep an eye on and some of the better games you need to watch this week.
Three stars of the week:
1. Nikolai Khabibulin, Edmonton Oilers
The ‘Bulin Wall’ had a perfect 3-0 record with a 1.67 goals-against average last week. He has been an integral part of the Oilers’ early-season success.
2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Price has played a lot better of late, which enabled the Habs to win three in a row to close out the week. Price had a 1.33 GAA in three wins.
3. Jaromir Jagr, Philadelphia Flyers
Jagr had a big week for Philly. He finally got his first goal, and it has opened flood gates, so to speak. He scored five goals last week and chipped in two assists.
Three players to keep an eye on:
- Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs
Leafs head coach Ron Wilson called Phaneuf the league’s best defenseman “by a country mile” last week. With 11 points in 11 games, Phaneuf is tied for third in production from defensemen. He also has a +7 rating and is averaging almost 27 minutes of ice time per game. Phaneuf and the Leafs will take on three struggling teams this week – New Jersey, Columbus and Boston.
- Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Nashville has really played well after a disappointing showing in Vancouver 10 days ago (which wasn’t Rinne’s fault). Rinne and the Preds are 3-1 since then, and the Vezina Trophy finalist from a year ago is at the top of his game; he has two shutouts in the last four games. Rinne will need to keep playing well as his team plays Chicago, Phoenix and San Jose on the road this week.
- Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo forward is off to an electrifying start, tallying eight goals and 15 points in 10 games. Vanek and Jason Pominville have been two of the primary sources for the Sabres’ offense. Vanek has only gone one game without registering a point this year. Vanek and company will face the Flyers, Flames and Senators this week.
Teams to watch:
- Anaheim Ducks
Anaheim’s road trip hasn’t gotten off to a great start. They are 1-2-1 in the first four games and having trouble scoring goals. Without Jason Blake in the lineup, the lines have had little consistency. They have a big week ahead as they close out their roadie with games at the Capitals, Rangers and Red Wings.
- Florida Panthers
The Panthers have surprised some people by starting the season 6-4-0. Many are waiting to see whether they are a legit playoff contender or not; we won’t know that answer any time soon. However, the ‘Cats have a chance this week to prove they aren’t going anywhere, as they host the Jets, Blackhawks and Lightning.
Game of the week:
Thursday, Nov. 3 – Penguins at Sharks
These two teams don’t play too often, but both are playing great hockey right now. The Sharks are current winners of five straight while; Pittsburgh just had their five-game win streak snapped over the weekend. San Jose will be making their return home after a successful road trip, while the Penguins are heading out west for the second time already this season. It should be a great contest!
Other games to keep an eye on:
Monday, Oct. 31
Nashville at Chicago
Tuesday, Nov. 1
Anaheim at Washington
Wednesday, Nov. 2
Philadelphia at Buffalo
Thursday, Nov. 3
Anaheim at NY Rangers
Chicago at Florida
Pittsburgh at San Jose
Friday, Nov. 4
Chicago at Tampa Bay
Colorado at Dallas
Saturday, Nov. 5
Boston at Toronto
Anaheim at Detroit
Pittsburgh at Los Angeles
Nashville at San Jose
Sunday, Nov. 6
Vancouver at Chicago
Photo credit: Getty Images
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