Monday, February 6, 2012

NHL Three Stars of Week

(From NHLmedia)

There should be no doubt which NHL player earned First Star honors for the past week.

After all, when you become the first person in over 23 years to record eight points in a single game and record a point on 11 straight goals by your team, as Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner accomplished in a two-game stretch, there isn't much anyone else can do to top you.

What could have been etched in stone Thursday of last week was made official Monday, as Gagner indeed received First Star accolades. Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils was named Second Star and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer earned honors as Third Star.

Gagner, who entered Thursday's matchup with Chicago with five goals and 11 assists in 43 games, scored four goals and added four assists in the final 40 minutes of Edmonton's 8-4 win against the Blackhawks. Gagner became the 11th player in NHL history to score eight points in a game, and the first since Mario Lemieux accomplished the feat Dec. 31, 1988.

Kovalchuk helped the Devils to four consecutive wins coming out of the All-Star break, scoring a power-play goal in a shootout win against the New York Rangers and then recording three straight three-point outings. That included a Gordie Howe hat trick in a Saturday matinee in Philadelphia, where Kovalchuk scored shorthanded, set up two 5-on-3 goals by Kurtis Foster and scrapped with Brayden Schenn in the third period. He had three goals and 10 points for the week.

Reimer only started two games last week, but he was flawless in both of them. He only had to stop 25 shots against the Penguins, but for the majority of the game he was being matched save for save at the other end by Brent Johnson. After Clarke MacArthur finally put the Maple Leafs on the board late in the third, Reimer closed out a 1-0 victory. He followed with a dominant 49-save performance in a 5-0 victory Saturday against the rival Senators. It was Reimer's sixth career shutout.

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