3rd Star, from the St. Louis Blues, numero 1, Brian Elliott! That sound you hear is Jaroslav Halak owners cursing under their collective breath. Yep, Elliott is back, he's playing great, and Ken Hitchcock does not give a flying fuck about your fantasy hockey team. The Blues are scoring an average of 3.46 goals-per-game (4.04 at home) this year, so a goalie would only need a middling save percentage (hello Halak) to succeed, but that didn't stop Elliott from stopping all but three of 79 shots he faced this week. He finished with a 3-0 record, a shutout, 1.00/.952 peripherals and a goddamn assist for good measure.
2nd Star, from the Montreal Canadiens, number 76, P.K. Subban, and from the Minnesota Wild, numero 20, Ryan Suter! That's right, two second stars, only because I couldn't decide which D-man had the better week. Suter scored an unlikely four goals, which equaled his entire 48-game output last season. In fact, he's also played seasons of 82 and 70 games in which he scored only four goals. Crazy. PK had "only" two goals this week, but had eight more hits than Suter. Final tallies? Subban: two goals, four assists, plus-4, two PIM, nine shots, 10 hits, eight blocks. Suter: four goals (two PPG), two assists, plus-6, four PIM, 10 shots, two hits, eight blocks.
1st Star, from the Carolina Hurricanes, number 53, Jeff Skinner! This week truly belonged to young Skinner. He had two more goals, and two more points, than any other player. We've all seen what Skinner can do in spurts when he's healthy, but this is some next-level shit he's been up to lately. 16 goals in his last 16 games! In four games this week, Skinner had six goals (3 PPG, 2 GWG) three assists, plus-6 and 17 shots. Some of his recent success has been a by-product of more time on Eric Staal's wing, but even with Staal out of the line-up yesterday, Skinner managed two points.
Rookie Star of the Week: Nikita Kucherov. Nathan MacKinnon (3+1=4, 9 SOG) and Antti Raanta 2-0, 1 SO, 1.50 GAA, .943 SV%) were also deserving candidates, but Kucherov did his damage in such limited TOI (12:37, 10:07, 13:05) that we're going to reward him for making a lot out of a little. He scored a goal in each of his three games and finished with ten shots on the week. Two of his goals were of the powerplay variety.
Breakout Star of the Week: Brayden Schenn. He had gone over a month without a goal before scoring one on Dec. 30 to start the week. I guess that felt pretty good as he scored two more over his next three games. The Schenn-Simmonds-Hartnell line is red hot right now, so jump on those guys if you can.
Breakdown of the Week: Carey Price. Before the week began Price had allowed more than three goals in a game only five times this season. He managed to do it three times this week, letting in five, four and four goals against Carolina, Dallas and Ottawa respectively. To be fair, he had one win and lost the other two games in OT, but peripherals of 4.23 and .880 are not what you signed up for.