Week 15 saw history be made! Patrick Marleau played his 1,768th game on Monday, breaking the record for the most NHL games played and surpassing Hall of Famer Gordie Howe. In addition, Zdeno Chara played in his 1,600th game this week, becoming just the 13th player in NHL history to do so. Playoff races across the league are heating up as we head into the final stretch of the season. The Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, and Vegas Golden Knights were the first three teams to clinch a trip to the postseason. Let’s take a look at this week’s top performers!
No one scored more points than Jonathan Huberdeau this week. He notched seven points in four games played. He scored a goal and three assists in two games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, tallying three of those points on Tuesday. He followed that up with three assists in two games against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Huberdeau is having a fantastic season. He leads the Florida Panthers in assists, 36, and points, 52. The 27-year-old forward is also riding a seven-game scoring streak. He will look to keep the momentum going on Monday as the Panthers continue to fight for the top spot in the Central Division.
Despite the Pittsburgh Penguins’ injury woes, Sidney Crosby has been dominant yet again this season. This week he scored a goal in three straight games against the New Jersey Devils. He also added two helpers in that series. He finished the week with an assist against the Boston Bruins.
With his goal on Saturday, Crosby has officially recorded a 20-goal season 13 times in his career, the most in Penguins’ franchise history. He also locked in his 16th season of averaging a point-per-game. He only trails Wayne Gretzky, 19, and Gordie Howe, 17, for the most point-per-game seasons in NHL History. I guess it is fair to say that Crosby is good at hockey. He has 20 goals and 36 assists in 48 games this season.
Mika Zibanejad was at it again this week. After being held off of the scoresheet against the New York Islanders, he tallied three assists in two games against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday and Friday. He capped off the week with his third hat trick of the season against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. A hat trick of hat tricks! He leads the league in three-goal performances this season.
After a slow start to the season, Zibanejad has been red hot since mid-March. He is up to 19 goals and 26 assists in 49 games this season. The 28-year-old forward will look to get on the scoresheet again on Tuesday as the New York Rangers host the Sabres.
Honorable Mention: It was another week of Connor McDavid doing Connor McDavid things. He recorded two goals and four assists in just two games this week.
Shea Theodore was a huge reason the Golden Knights went undefeated in three games this week. He tallied two assists in back-to-back games against the San Jose Sharks. He also found the back of the net and notched a helper against the Anaheim Ducks. Moreover, he finished the week with seven blocked shots, two hits, and a plus-2 rating.
You could certainly make the argument that Theodore hasn’t gotten the attention he deserves this season. His 40 points are good for fourth in the league among defensemen. He also has 39 blocked shots, 16 hits, a plus-26 rating, and a solid Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 54.9. Theodore and the boys in golden helmets take on the Avalanche Wednesday.
Adam Fox has played himself right into the Norris Trophy conversation in the second half of the season. This week he tallied a total of five assists. He scored one in each of two games against the Flyers. He assisted on three goals against the Sabres on Sunday.
With five goals and 41 assists, Fox leads the league in points among defensemen. The 23-year-old blueliner is also second in points on the Rangers, trailing only Artemi Panarin. Fox has 87 blocked shots, 16 hits, and a CF% of 51.0. He has been on the scoresheet in 16 of his last 20 games and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Honorable Mention: Dougie Hamilton tallied two goals and two assists in four games this week. He also had seven blocked shots, six hits, 12 shots on goal, and a plus-2 rating.
The Wild are on a seven-game win streak, and Cam Talbot has certainly been a key factor in their success. This week he won all three of his starts, making a hefty amount of saves in the process. He gave up just five goals on 106 shots, finishing the week with a .953 save percentage (SV%) and a 1.67 goals-against average (GAA).
Talbot has a record of 17-6-3, with a .926 SV% and a 2.33 GAA on the season. According to Evolving-Hockey, he has a goals saved above expected of 4.76, good for 13th in the league among goaltenders. He has been red hot of late, winning eight of his last 10 starts. He hasn’t lost in back-to-back starts since March 6. The 33-year-old backstop will look to finish the season strong as the Wild prepare for the playoffs.
Honorable Mention: Tristan Jarry won all three of his starts this week. He recorded a .923 SV%, 2.33 GAA, a shutout, and an assist.
Week 16 is upon us! What to watch this week: The Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens will go toe to toe as they jostle for fourth place in the North Division, the Avalanche will battle the Golden Knights for West Division supremacy, Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin will clash in a high octane East Division matchup, and the Tampa Bay Lightning face off against the Dallas Stars in another 2020 Stanley Cup Finals rematch.
Andrew is a freelance writer who covers the Tampa Bay Lightning at The Hockey Writers. He is a passionate hockey fan who grew up near Tampa, Florida. He is a husband, father to a Golden Retriever, and is studying to be a Physician Assistant. Follow me on Twitter: @Andrew_Mulville