Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 11/28/11

It was a fun-filled week in the National Hockey League this Thanksgiving week. Now that it is out of the way, it is time for us to focus on "The Week Ahead", where we will look at the "Three Stars of the Week", "Three players to keep an eye on", "Two Teams to Watch", "Game of the Week", and of course, "Other Games to keep an eye on".
Three Stars of the Week
1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
The long awaited return of Sidney Crosby finally happened this past week and he certainly did not disappoint. In his first game back against the New York Islanders, Crosby picked up 2 goals and 2 assists for four points and finished the week with a total of 8 points.

2. Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks
With Roberto Luongo sidelined, backup Cory Schneider has performed admirably. Schneider has carried the Canucks to a four-game win streak, and last week he picked up a pair of shutouts. In the three games, Schneider posted a .978 save percentage last week.

3. Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
With the Boston Bruins playing like Cup champs, Tim Thomas continues to show why he is an elite goaltender in the NHL. This past week, Thomas won three games, picked up a shutout, allowed just five goals and made a total of 104 saves on 109 shots.

Three Players to Keep an Eye on
- Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Yes, we mentioned the superstar above, but Sidney Crosby will always be worth watching. He picked up 8 points in his first four games and looks like he has not lost a step since suffering a concussion back in early January. He has made an already good Penguins team that much better with his return.

This week, Crosby and the Penguins will take on the Rangers, Capitals and Hurricanes.

- Andrew Raycroft, Dallas Stars
Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen got hurt on Saturday night against the Phoenix Coyotes and sustained a lower body injury. News has come out that Lehtonen will miss 6-8 weeks, which means pressure will be on Andrew Raycroft to hold the fort until (a) Lehtonen comes back or (b) the team finds a replacement.

This week, the Stars will take on the Avalanche, Senators and Islanders.

- Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
What happened to Washington Capitals' forward Alex Ovechkin? This was a guy who could score goals seemingly at will and this season, he is nowhere to be found. In 22 games, he has 17 points (8 goals and 9 assists) but just does not seem to be the player that he once was.

This week, Ovechkin and the Capitals will take on the Blues, Penguins and Senators.

Two Teams to Watch
- Washington Capitals
It is quite clear that the Capitals have been struggling; and because of it, Bruce Boudreau was fired this morning, with Dale Hunter coming in as his replacement. Last week, the team lost by a combined score 11-4 in losses to the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres.

The team will need to try and turn things around this week, under a new coach no less.

- Boston Bruins
The Bruins are on fire right now. They have picked up points in 12 straight games and have shown no signs of slowing down. The team is putting the puck in the net, playing solid defense and getting great goaltending from both Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask.

This week, the Bruins will take on the upstart Toronto Maple Leafs in a home-and-home series on Wednesday and Saturday night.

Game of The Week
Tuesday, November 29 -- Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers
With both teams playing some of their best hockey and Crosby back on the ice, Tuesday night's tilt at Madison Square Garden between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins promises to be a good one. The Penguins sit atop the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division with 32 points, while the Blueshirts are right behind with 27 points.
Other Games to Keep an Eye On
Monday, November 28
San Jose at Los Angeles
Tuesday, November 29
Pittsburgh at NY Rangers
Wednesday, November 30
Boston at Toronto
Tampa Bay at Detroit
Thursday, December 1
Pittsburgh at Washington
Florida at Los Angeles
Friday, December 2
Detroit at Buffalo
Philadelphia at Anaheim
Saturday, December 3
Toronto at Boston
Chicago at St. Louis
Florida at San Jose
Sunday, December 4
Detroit at Colorado
Calgary at Vancouver

Photo credit: Getty Images
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