Time for another edition of THN’s weekly Three Stars.
We scour through the week to see which NHLers dominated this portion of the schedule. We’ve got one familiar face who’s been honored with a Star of the Week earlier this season, and two forwards who are getting their first THN recognition of the year. Let’s go to it. (In reverse order):
3. Jack Campbell, Toronto: The Maple Leafs’ starting goalie was the second Star of the Week in Week One of the NHL’s regular season, and he’s been excellent for Toronto all season long. But this week, in three games, Campbell went 2-0-1 with a .937 Save Percentage and a 2.33 goals-against average.
He’s not singlehandedly leading the Leafs to win 15 of their past 18 games, but he is giving his teammates confidence every game he plays in, and he’s proving that his breakout year with Toronto last season was no fluke. The 29-year-old has the best individual stats in the game, with a .942 SP, a 1.78 GAA and three shutouts in 20 GP. The only questions that remain for Campbell is whether he can remain consistent, and whether he comes through shining after some kind of adversity. But right now, he’s the Leafs’ clear No. 1 goalie, and one of the very best in the league.
2. Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh: Guentzel had a stellar week for the Penguins, racking up five goals – including a hat trick Saturday against Vancouver – and six points in three GP to move into a three-way tie for 10th overall among NHL pointgetters. The Pittsburgh winger now as a team-best 13 goals-scored, and is producing offense at a point-per-game rate, with 24 points in 23 GP.
Guentzel is on pace to demolish his current career high in points (76) in a single season, and he’s also got a shot to improve on his career bests in goals-scored (40) and assists (36), all of which took place during the 2018-19 campaign. The Pens need his offensive contributions, as they’re currently ranked 18th overall among all NHL franchises in goals-for. On a team with Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang, ranking in the bottom half of all teams on offense is simply unacceptable. Pittsburgh is fortunate it has skilled players like Guentzel who can step in and step up to a challenge.
1. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida: The Panthers have the second-best offense in the league at the moment, and they’ve earned it, with defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forwards Sam Reinhart and Carter Verghaeghe all amassing at least 18 points in Florida’s first 24 GP. But in the absence of injured superstar and captain Aleksander Barkov, star winger Jonathan Huberdeau has raised his game, posting eight assists and nine points in the Panthers’ past three games this week.
The 28-year-old Huberdeau leads all Florida point-producers, with 29 points in 24 GP. Two of his eight goals are game-winners. And with the pace that he’s on, he has a decent shot at breaking his career-best totals in goals (30) and points (92), both of which came in the 2018-19 season. He’s at his competitive peak right now, and Huberdeau is as focused as players get. The credit for Florida’s excellent start to the season in large part goes to Huberdeau, and the longer he stays hot, the more likely it is that the Panthers fend off the big boys in the Atlantic Division and remain at the top of it.