It’s Sunday, and at THN.com, that means it’s time for the Three Stars of the Week. Below, we’re ranking the very best performances in the NHL in the past seven days. One of the three best this week comes from a familiar face in Three Stars Land this season, while the other two are well-known superstars always capable of imposing their will for long stretches of time. Let’s get right to it.
3. Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers: Panarin had at least one point in all four of his games this week, including a four-assist, five-point night against Dallas on Saturday. The star forward finished the week with eight assists and nine points, giving him 52 assists and 68 points in 53 games this season. The Blueshirts wouldn’t be where they are today without the performance of star goalie Igor Shesterkin, but they’d also be further down the Metropolitan Division standings without Panarin’s contributions on offense. Panarin will almost certainly break his current career-high of 63 assists in a single season, and he’ll likely get his points total near or above his current career-best of 95 points. If they’re to make a deep playoff run, the Rangers will need more of the same from Panarin.
2. Jacob Markstrom, Calgary: The Flames goaltender is making his third appearance as a Top Three player-of-the-week this season, thanks to a 3-0-0 record, one shutout, a 0.67 goals-against average, and a .974 save percentage. The 31-year-old Swede now has a phenomenal nine shutouts this season – one more than he’s had in his previous 11 NHL seasons combined – and a sterling .928 SP in 46 games with Calgary. It’s accurate to say his numbers might not be as outstanding if he were playing on a team without the Flames’ depth of talent, but you have to give Markstrom credit for continuing to prove his white-hot start to the season was no aberration. He is a frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie for good reason.
1. Patrick Kane, Chicago: Although he is now 33 years old, and his Blackhawks team will not be a playoff team this season, Kane is nothing if not consistent: Last season, the veteran winger generated 15 goals and 66 points in 56 games; this season, Kane has scored 19 goals and 68 points in 56 games. And this week, in four games, his playmaking prowess was on full display, as he amassed eight assists and 10 points, including a five-assist, six-point night Tuesday against Anaheim. It’s still possible Kane could break his personal-best assist total of 66, set in 2018-19. At this stage in his career, and on a team like this year’s Hawks, that would be a considerable achievement.