Three Stars of the Week
1. Thomas Vanek (Buffalo Sabres)
Thomas Vanek has been a beast during the last seven days, to be put simply. Vanek has scored five goals in four games last week and has added four assists. With nine points in four games, he is averaging more than two a game over the past week. Also factor in Vanek’s +6 rating, and Vanek has been a superstar for the Sabers. He needs to keep this up if the Sabres plan to climb out of the basement of the Northeast Division.
2. Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks)
Photo Credit: JULIE JACOBSON/AP
There always seems to be drama surrounding the Canucks and their goaltending situation. This week it was Luongo snaring the pucks and, for good reason, the headlines. Luongo won all three of the games that he started and even added a shutout against the Colorado Avalanche. Luongo’s hot play gives the Canucks a hot commodity as trade bait, as Luongo has been on the trade block. Toronto and Washington have reportedly been interested in Luongo. If he keeps up his 0.95 GAA and .961 SV% from last week, plenty more teams will be calling.
3. Brian Campbell (Florida Panthers)
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Campbell has an absolute cannon of a shot. The Panthers currently are converting on 22.5 percent of their power play chances, and Campbell is a huge reason why. In just three games this past week, Campbell had two power play goals to add to his total of four on the year. Campbell also had a game-winning goal. For Campbell to improve his play, he needs to improve his +/- rating, but his offensive numbers sure are impressive.
Eastern Conference Team of the Week
Photo Credit: Reuters
The Pittsburgh Penguins are finally meeting the huge expectations that everyone had coming into this shortened season. After starting the season a mediocre 3-2-0 through their first five games, the Pens have gone on to win four of their last five bringing their record to an impressive 7-3-0. The Pens overtook last week’s team of the week — the Devils — in the Atlantic Division and also currently hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins saw Chris Kunitz score four goals in a game, and saw Sidney Crosby tally seven assists in the last seven days. The Penguins are a powerhouse right now.
Western Conference Team of the Week
Photo Credit: BEN NELMS/Reuters
The Vancouver Canucks are surging right now. After starting their season 2-2-2 through six games, the Canucks have roared back, winning all three of their games last week. Roberto Luongo has shown the league why he used to be considered one of the top goaltenders in the league once again (see above) and has left Corey Schneider wanting playing time. The Canucks defeated the impressive Blackhawks last week and the young Oilers too. With the goalie tandem that Vancouver now boasts, it will be tough to beat them on any given night.
Three Games to Watch this Week (Eastern Times)
New York Islanders @ New York Rangers – Thursday February 7, 7:00 p.m.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Boston Bruins – Saturday February 9, 1:00 p.m.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Nashville Predators – Sunday February 10, 8:00 p.m.