Well we are almost in March and Chicago still doesn’t have a regulation loss. It would be a lot more impressive if the season started in October, but the Blackhawks have still set an NHL record. The Anaheim Ducks are nearly matching Chicago win for win lately as they have won their last six games.
Two familiar faces have taken over the NHL scoring race. Maybe you have heard of them. Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos went head to head on Sunday, with Crosby’s Penguins getting a 4-3 decision. The Penguins played without their other star center Evgeni Malkin who suffered a concussion in Friday night’s win against Florida.
If there is a team that is used to playing without a star center it is the Pittsburgh Penguins who probably don’t appreciate the irony of Malkin’s “indefinite” status. Fantasy owners for Malkin will be holding their collective breath as they await news on their top draft pick.
It wasn’t all bad news this weekend though. There were certainly some amazing games with some even better individual efforts. Here are my three stars from the weekend.
3. Jimmy Howard, G, Detroit Red Wings
I hate to double up on the Red Wings but Jimmy Howard deserves some praise after I went so far as to suggest dropping him last week. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock needed a big game from Howard and got it on Saturday night against Nashville in a 4-0 shutout. Though he wasn’t as sharp on Sunday, Howard was good enough against Vancouver’s high-powered offense.
2. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins
Playing on Sunday with star teammate Evgeni Malkin shelved with a head injury, Crosby certainly had his share of empathy. Crosby stepped up his game on Sunday with NHL leading scorer Steven Stamkos in town. Two goals and an assist helped the Penguins in their seventh in the last 10 games.
1. Niklas Kronwall, D, Detroit Red Wings
Kronwall has had a heavy load picking up the slack for an injury riddled defensive corps. As if replacing Nik Lidstrom wasn’t difficult enough, Kronwall and the Wings have been hit hard by injuries. This weekend Detroit faced two tough opponents, Nashville and Vancouver and swept them both. Kronwall was a key in each game with two goals and four assists combined in the two.