Three Stars of the Week
1. Jeff Carter (Los Angeles Kings)
The Kings are roaring back as the season is starting to hit full stride. In the last ten days Carter has five goals in four games, including a hat trick on hat night – always a fun sight. Two of his five goals came on the power play and two of his five were game-winners. Carter is certainly coming through in the clutch. The Kings are storming back with the help of Carter and are moving back into the playoff picture as the season approaches its midway point.
2. Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers)
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
Another early Cup favorite, the New York Rangers are finally playing like the team everyone throughout they would be entering 2013. The Rangers do not win without the stellar play of Lundqvist night in and night out, and Hank won all three of his starts this past week. In his three starts, Henrik allowed only five goals on 75 shots, good for a .938 save percentage and 1.62 goals against average. The defending Vezina Trophy winner, Lundqvist is helping the Rangers, too, reenter the playoff picture.
3. Alexander Semin (Carolina Hurricanes)
Photo Credit: Gerry Broome/Associated Press
There may not be a more dangerous line in hockey than Semin, Eric Staal, and Jiri Tlusy. Carolina’s top line has been absolutely lethal in the last week, and Semin has joined the scoring party quite significantly. In four games played, Semin had two goals and seven assists to accompany his +8 rating! Plus 8! That’s incredible. The free agent signing has put on a show, and expect more of the same for the Hurricanes.
Eastern Conference Team of the Week
Favorites to go far in the playoffs, the New York Rangers have gotten their game back. The goals are coming from superstar Rick Nash, who has scored 7 on the year (all in the third period). But the Rangers are also getting goals from skill players Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, among many others. With both Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards in scoring slumps, the Rangers offense can only really improve. Solid defense, scoring prowess, and stellar goaltending from Lundqvist have brought the Rangers to three straight wins against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Buffalo Sabres, and Philadelphia Flyers. The team is creeping up in the standings and will catch the top eight in the conference soon. Watch out, division leaders, the Rangers are coming.
Western Conference Team of the Week
I’m getting really tired of writing about the Chicago Blackhawks, but their streak is just flat out ridiculous. Now winners of 11 straight, the Blackhawks swept through their five games in the last ten days. They tossed the Oilers, Blue Jackets, and Wild at home, and went to St. Louis and Detroit and earned important wins. Stephen A. Smith needs to look at this team again. The Miami Heat may have a long winning streak, but the game that the Blackhawks are playing right now is incredible. And no, Stephen, there are no ties in hockey. C’mon man.
Three Games to Watch this Week (Eastern Times)
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers – Thursday March 7, 7:00 p.m.
Montreal Canadiens @ Carolina Hurricanes – Thursday March 7, 7:00 p.m.
St. Louis Blues @ Anaheim Ducks – Sunday March 10, 8:00 p.m.