Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey | Last updated 11/21/11
Welcome to another installment of "The Week Ahead". It was a crazy week in the NHL so we will tell you about our three stars of the week, three players to keep an eye on, teams to watch, our game of the week and of course, other games NHL fans should watch this upcoming week.
Three Stars of The Week
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
It was not long ago when NHL media and fans wondered if Nugent-Hopkins could handle playing in the National Hockey League.
Nugent-Hopkins has silenced those thoughts as he leads all NHL rookies in scoring with 19 points (7 goals and 12 assists). This past week, Nugent-Hopkins picked up 6 points, including a 5-point night (5 assists) agains the Chicago Blackhawks in a 9-2 win.
2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Montreal Canadiens' netminder Carey Price was stellar this week in going 2-0-1 and providing splendid goaltending for his hockey club.
Price's two wins were a 25-save shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes and a 17-save shutout over the New York Rangers. In his only loss, Pirce stopped 30 shots in a tough-luck shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
3. Kris Versteeg, Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers' offseason acquisition Kris Versteeg is proving to be a valuable one to the organization this season.
This week, the 25-year-old picked up 5 points on a goal and four assists. On the season, Versteeg now has 9 goals and 13 assists for 22 points.
Three Players to Keep An Eye On
- Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs
While Phil Kessel has been providing a lot of offense for the Toronto Maple Leafs, right winger Joffrey Lupul has been doing the same.
Lupul is fourth in the NHL with 24 points (10 goals and 14 assists). This past week, Lupul picked up five points on a goal and four assists and also had 12 shots in three games.
This week, Lupul and the Leafs will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks.
- Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers
While Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is having an excellent season for the young Edmonton Oilers, Oilers forward Taylor Hall is also having a strong season.
In 18 games, Hall has 14 points on six goals and eight assists. On Saturday night in a 9-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, Hall picked up a hat trick.
This week, Hall and the Oilers will take on the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche.
- Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
With the Boston Bruins, winners of eight straight, starting to play some great hockey, their goaltender Tim Thomas has been putting up solid numbers once again.
In 13 games, Thomas is 8-4-0 with a 1.92 goals against average, .932 save percentage and 2 shutouts. He has shown that last year's numbers were no fluke and that he really is one of the NHL's elite goaltenders.
This week, Thomas and the Bruins will take on the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets.
Two Teams to Watch
- St. Louis Blues
It appears that the St. Louis Blues have started to find their game under new head coach Ken Hitchcock.
The Blues are eighth in the Western Conference with 22 points and a 10-7-2 record. They are getting some timely goal scoring, playing much better defense and getting solid goaltending from both Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot.
This week, the Blues will take on the Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets.
- Florida Panthers
Many people have doubted that the Florida Panthers are the real deal this season, but almost two months into the season it is easy to see that they might just be.
The Panthers currently find themselves leading the Southeast Division with 23 points. Believe it or not, they are just two points behind the first place Philadelphia Flyers.
This week, the Panthers will take on the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning (2).
Game of The Week
Monday, Nov. 21 -- Boston at Montreal
While this is already the third meeting between the two clubs, the Bruins and the Canadiens still have one of the best rivalries out there. Going into this meeting, both clubs are playing great hockey and with the Canadiens just one point behind the Bruins, you know it will be an exciting tilt in Montreal.
Other Games to Keep An Eye On
Monday, November 21
NY Islanders at Pittsburgh
Edmonton at Dallas
Tuesday, November 22
Toronto at Tampa Bay
Wednesday, November 23
Boston at Buffalo
Nashville at Minnesota
Anaheim at Phoenix
Chicago at San Jose
Friday, November 25
Detroit at Boston
Montreal at Philadelphia
NY Rangers at Washington
Tampa Bay at Florida
Saturday, November 26
Philadelphia at New York Rangers
Washington at Buffalo
Pittsburgh at Montreal
Vancouver at San Jose
Sunday, November 27
St. Louis and Columbus
Photo credit: Getty Images
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