NHL Players of the Week: Kane, Vasilevskiy, & More

Week seven is in the books! In a week that featured Crosby versus Ovechkin and Tkachuk versus Tkachuk, there was no shortage of action. Let’s take a look at this week’s top performers!

Forwards: Kane, Kaprisov, & Zuccarello

Patrick Kane continued what has already been a phenomenal campaign for the 32-year-old forward. He opened the week with a four-point performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets, tallying a goal and three assists. He scored another goal against the Blue Jackets two nights later. 

After being held off the scoresheet on Saturday, Kane recorded a goal and an assist against the Detroit Red Wings, bringing him to a total of eight points on the week. That goal made him the 100th player in NHL history to score 400 goals in their career.

Kane is tied for second in points, tied for fifth in goals, and third in assists in the league this season, with 34, 11, and 23, respectively. He has another major milestone on the horizon, just four games shy of his 1000th career game. He will play his 997th game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. 

After having surgery on his right arm during the offseason, Mats Zuccarello made a late debut to his 11th season. The 33-year-old forward played his first game on Feb. 16 and hasn’t looked back. He scored a total of eight points this week, the sum of two goals and six assists. 

His best performance of the week came on Monday against the San Jose Sharks, a game in which he tallied a goal and three assists. He also recorded a goal and an assist against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, followed by an assist in back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Kings to finish the week. 

Mats Zuccarello Minnesota Wild
Mats Zuccarello, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Zuccarello hasn’t missed a beat since returning from injury. He has 11 points, three goals and eight assists in seven games this season. He’ll look to extend his point streak to seven games against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday. 

Kirill Kaprisov, Zuccarello’s linemate, had an impressive week in his own right. On Monday and Wednesday, the 23-year-old rookie notched a goal and an assist against the Sharks and two assists against the Avalanche, respectively. He finished the week with a goal in back-to-back games against the Kings. After putting his remarkable skating abilities on full display this season, it’s safe to say he has the league’s attention. 

Kaprizov is off to an impressive start in his first NHL campaign. With six goals and 11 assists, he leads all rookies with 17 points on the season. “Dollar Bill Kirill,” who also leads the Wild in points, will continue his quest on Monday against the Golden Knights for the Calder Memorial Trophy

Defensemen: Fowler & Letang

After a slow start to the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Kris Letang hit his stride this week. He finished with a total of five points, two goals and three assists. He had an assist in back-to-back games against the Washington Capitals. His most productive game was on Saturday against the New York Islanders. He notched two goals and assists, including a coast-to-coast overtime game-winner.  

Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Letang is climbing up the leaderboards in points among defensemen, sitting just outside the top ten. In 19 games this season, he is fourth in points on the Penguins with 14. After failing to light the lamp in his first 14 games, he as four goals in the last five contests. He will look to keep the momentum going on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After scoring five points in his first 18 games, Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks exploded for five points in three games this past week. He scored a goal and three assists in two games against the Arizona Coyotes. On Saturday, he tallied an assist against the Golden Knights in his 700th career game. 

Cam Fowler, NHL, Anaheim Ducks
Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Fowler has two goals and eight assists this season, good for second-most points on the Anaheim Ducks. He also has 31 shots on net, 11 hits, 19 blocked shots, and a minus-4 rating. He’ll look to extend his point streak to four games on Monday against the St. Louis Blues.

Goaltender: Vasilevskiy

Andrei Vasilevskiy was locked-in this week, winning all three of his starts. After giving up three goals in a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last week, he got his revenge this past week. His bounce-back started on Monday when he gave up just two goals on 34 shots, leading the Lightning to a four to two win over the Hurricanes. 

His dominance continued throughout the week, posting back-to-back shutouts for the fifth time in his career. He recorded a 25-save shutout against the Hurricanes on Wednesday. He also tallied a 20-save shutout against the Dallas Stars on Saturday, the teams’ first meeting since the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals. 

Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay Lightning
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Vasilevskiy has gone seven straight periods without giving up a goal. The 26-year-old netminder has 12 wins on the season, posting a 1.75 goals against average (GAA) and a .938 save percentage (SV%). He has been especially dominant on home ice, a perfect 8-0-0 at Amalie Arena this season. The Lightning travel to Dallas on Tuesday for another Stanley Cup Final rematch. 

Week eight is up next! This week will feature Tkachuk versus Tkachuk, Zdeno Chara visiting TD Garden twice, and the Battle of Pennsylvania between the Flyers and the Penguins three times in Pittsburgh. The Lightning, Capitals, Golden Knights, and Toronto Maple Leafs will seek to maintain the lead in their respective divisions. 

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