Originally written on Red Light District Hockey | Last updated 12/12/11
ATLANTA - JANUARY 12: Goaltender Brian Elliott #30 of the Ottawa Senators against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on January 12, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Welcome to another installment of "The Week Ahead". This week, we'll let you in on who our "Three Stars of the Week" were, which "Three Players to Keep an eye on", what "Teams to Watch", our "Game of the Week" and of course, other games that you should think about checking in on throughout the week.
Three Stars of The Week
1. Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues
Brian Elliott continues to be one of the main reasons why the St. Louis Blues are one of the hottest clubs in the National Hockey League right now. Elliott went 2-0 this week, allowed just two goals and picked up a shutout. Elliott is now 12-2-0 with a 1.45 goals against average, a .945 save percentage and a league-leading 4 shutouts. Not bad for a guy who was just suppossed to be a backup goaltender this season, eh?
2. Claude, Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
On MSG's Hockey Night Live this weekend, Ken Daneyko and Ron Dougay debated which player was better: Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins or Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers. Right now, it is easy to see that Giroux is the best player in the NHL. This week, Giroux picked up 7 points on 1 goal and 6 assists. On the season, Giroux now 39 points (16 goals and 23 assists), good for first in the NHL.
3. Brendan Morrison, Calgary Flames
Brendan Morrison, who missed most of November recovering from knee surgery, had a terrific week for the Calgary Flames this week. Morrison picked up 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points in three games. In 13 games this season, Morrison has 8 points (3 goals and 5 assists).
Three Players to Keep an Eye on
- Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Even when he is not playing, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby finds a way to make headlines. After being involved in a collision last week with his own teammate, Pens head coach Dan Bylsma and the rest of the coaching staff figured it would be best to rest Crosby a few games just to make sure that he is okay and that he did not suffer any setbacks.
This week, Crosby and the Penguins will take on the Red Wings, Senators and Sabres.
- Ryan Callahan, New York Rangers
While the New York Rangers have the likes of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist constantly making headlines in the New York sports pages, it is team captain Ryan Callahan that deserves a lot of accolades. Callahan works hard every single night, is able to produce on a consistent basis (12 goals and 8 assists) and plays in every situtation.
This week, Callahan and the Blueshirts will take on the Stars, Blues, and Coyotes.
- Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
As the New Jersey Devils struggle to play consistent hockey, so does their future hall of fame netminder Martin Brodeur. On the season, Brodeur is just 6-8-0 with a 3.18 goals against average and a .844 save percentage, all numbers that are well below his standards and career average.
This week, Brodeur and the Devils will take on the Lightning, Panthers, Stars and Canadiens.
Two Teams to Watch
- Detroit Red Wings
Look out folks, the Detroit Red Wings are clicking on all cylinders. In 28 games this season, the Wings are 18-9-1 and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. The offense is going, the defense is springing less leaks and goaltender Jimmy Howard is playing like an all-star.
This week, the Detroit Red Wings will take on the Penguins, Predators, and Kings.
- Minnesota Wild
Don't look now but the Minnesota Wild are the best team in the NHL. (Yes, you read that right). The Wild are 20-7-3, have won seven straight games and continue to look for "real" this season. No matter who is in net, this team is successful.
This week, the Wild will take on the Jets, Blackhawks and Islanders.
Game of the Week
Tuesday, December 13 -- Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins
When these two teams meet each other, there is always something to play for. The two clubs met in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and 2009, with both teams coming through (Red Wings in 2008 and Penguins in 2009). Both teams have offensive talent, depth, solid defensive corps and great young goaltenders. It should be a dandy at the Consol Energy Center come Tuesday night.
Other Games to Keep an Eye On
Monday, December 12
New Jersey at Tampa Bay
Tuesday, December 13
Detroit at Pittsburgh
Philadelphia at Washington
Wednesday, December 14
Chicago at Minnesota
Thursday, December 15
Philadelphia at Montreal
Detroit at Nashville
Edmonton at Phoenix
Friday, December 16
Toronto at Buffalo
Saturday, December 17
Boston at Philadelphia
Buffalo at Pittsburgh
Vancouver at Toronto
Sunday, December 18
Columbus at St. Louis
Photo credit: Getty Images
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