Weingold’s Wrap up of the Week
Three Stars of the Week
1. John Tavares (New York Islanders)
Over the last week, it has become quite clear that John Tavares is going to be a superstar in the league. The former first-overall pick scored five goals in three games and added two assists. He had a hat-trick against the Devils, which was certainly his most impressive game of the season. Factor in five power play points from three goals and two assists, and Tavares had a monster week.
2. Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators)
Pekka is making a case for himself as an early Vezina trophy favorite in 2013. Last week alone Rinne had two shutouts against the Sharks and the Coyotes, two playoff teams from a season ago. Pekka gave up two goals in three games, both to the Ducks, and boasts a GAA of 0.64 from last week. If he can keep this level of play up, there is no reason that the Predators shouldn’t be a cup favorite heading into the middle of the season.
3. Viktor Fasth (Anaheim Ducks)
There’s something about rookies that excites fans everywhere. Fasth is contributing to the rookie hype of the 2013 season by posting absolutely ridiculous numbers. Aided by some lofty offensive help, Fasth is 8-0-0 in his young career. Last week alone he posted wins against the NHL-leading Chicago Blackhawks, along with the Nashville Predators, and Detroit Red Wings. Oh, and all three games were on the road in hostile environments. Fasth has rookie status, but is playing with veteran presence.
Eastern Conference Team of the Week
The Pittsburgh Penguins are continuing to meet the huge expectations that were placed upon them heading into the 2013 campaign. The Penguins overtook the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division to become the top team. Pittsburgh won all three of their games in the past week, en route to winning eight of their last ten. The Penguins beat the Senators at home, and then won at Winnipeg and at Buffalo. In two tough places to play, the Penguins handled both teams behind strong performances from Sidney Crosby (2 Goals, 5 Assists), James Neal (3 Goals, 1 Assist), and Marc-Andre Fleury (3 Wins, 2.01 GAA). The week ahead gets tough though, as the Penguins have to play the Flyers and Lightning, though the Pens do not have to leave Pittsburgh this week.
Western Conference Team of the Week
The Anaheim Ducks are finding a way to make fans forget about last year’s abysmal season. The Ducks have won four games in a row, all on the road, against four of the best teams in the Western Conference. The run started last Saturday when the Ducks beat the St. Louis Blues. Rookie Viktor Fasth out-dueled Brian Elliott in the shootout to earn the W for Anaheim. The run continued in Chicago when the Ducks defeated the Blackhawks in a shootout. The Ducks are now only one of three teams to beat the ‘Hawks this season, although Chicago is yet to lose in regulation. The third win of the week came against the Red Wings in Detroit, where Anaheim won in convincing fashion, 5-2. The final win of the week came against the Predators. The Ducks found a way to beat Pekka Rinne in a shootout, earning their fourth straight road win.
Three Games to Watch this Week (Eastern Times)
- Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins – Wednesday February 20, 7:30 p.m.
- Boston Bruins @ Tampa Bay Lightning – Thursday February 21, 7:30 p.m.
- Anaheim Ducks @ Los Angeles Kings – Monday February 25, 10:30 p.m.