It’s Sunday, so we’re once again honoring the top NHLers of the week with our Three Stars selections. You can be one of three stars by producing a lot of offense, or by terrific defensive play. You just have to stand out from your peers, really. Let’s get to it:
3. Pavel Buchnevich, St. Louis: The Blues winger posted three goals and seven points in three games this past week, leading his team to two wins and an overtime loss for St. Louis. The 27-year-old is on a five-game point streak in which he has amassed three goals and nine points, and he has a total of 18 goals and 45 points in 43 games. The Blues couldn’t be happier to have acquired him from the New York Rangers last summer; he has delivered the offense they need, and he’s done so under the radar of most teams and fans. The more he produces like this, the harder he’ll be to hide.
2. Jake Oettinger, Dallas: The Stars won two of three games this week, in no small part because of the play of youngster Oettinger. He posted two victories – including one over the mighty Colorado Avalanche, whom he held to only one goal, and a shutout win over Chicago – to help Dallas climb back into the playoff race. Overall, in those two games, Oettinger had a 0.48 goals-against average, and a .988 save percentage. And on the season, he improved his individual numbers to include a 2.36 G.A.A. and a .921 SP. Without the 23-year-old, the Stars would be well out of the post-season race.
1. Elias Lindholm, Calgary: The Flames keep winning, and one of the reasons why is the play of first-line center Lindholm. The 27-year-old was tied with Oilers superstar Connor McDavid for the league lead in points this week, but he did it three games, while McDavid did it in four. Lindholm netted four goals and eight points this week, and now has 22 goals and 48 points in 48 games for Calgary. That’s a point-per-game pace that would beat his career highs in goals (29) and points (78). More importantly, his two-way game has excelled under Darryl Sutter, who has faith in him at both ends of the ice. The longer Lindholm can play at this level, the harder the Flames are going to be as the rest of the season unfolds.