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NHL Three Stars: Marner, Varlamov, Rielly Get Top Marks

Adam Proteau takes a look at three of the top performers from the past week in the NHL, highlighting a player on a point streak, a goalie playing hot and a stout defender.
Mitch Marner

It’s Sunday again, which means it’s time for THN’s Three Stars of the week. Below, we give praise to the best three NHL players of the past seven days. Sometimes, players can make it on this list with just one overwhelming performance, but normally, consistency is key here. Let’s get to it:

3. Morgan Rielly, Toronto: The high-octant Maple Leafs are getting solid production from their blueline as well as their forwards, and veteran D-man Rielly is leading the charge from the back end. The 28-year-old is in his prime, and this week, he amassed three goals and nine points in four games, while averaging 24:02 in ice time.

Rielly is three assists away from matching his career-best of 52, which he set with Toronto in the 2018-19 campaign. He has shown more all-around confidence this year, and the Leafs will need him to have as much of an impact, at both ends of the ice, as he’s ever had in his previous eight NHL seasons.

2. Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders: Varlamov has powered the Isles to their current three-game win streak, going 3-0-0 in four appearances, and shutting out the potent New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Friday night. The 33-year-old goaltender allowed only five goals in those three wins, and his save percentage was an excellent .941.

The COVID-19-ravaged Isles lineup isn’t going to be playing in the post-season this year, but they must be pleased to see their No. 1 goalie performing so well. His .918 SP this season isn’t the best in the league, but given what the team has gone through, it’s not too shabby, either.

1. Mitch Marner, Toronto: Marner kept his point-streak alive Saturday with a pair of assists in the Leafs’ 6-3 win over Philadelphia, and he is now on a nine-game point streak, with a total of 14 assists and 19 points over that span. He also led all NHLers in assists this week, with nine, and he led all point-getters this week, with 10.

The real proving ground for Marner will, of course, be the playoffs. But there’s no denying his game has grown – he added another goal this week to his new career-best of 28 total goals – and he and fellow star and linemate Auston Matthews have grown into one of the game’s deadliest 1-2 punches. As they go, so will go the Leafs.

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