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Staal Named NHL's First Star of the Week

Monday, 03.9.2009 / 11:47 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Staal Named NHL\'s First Star of the Week
After a week in which he racked up nine points in just three games, Eric Staal won the NHL’s first star of the week award on Monday.

Paul Branecky
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The award was won on the strength of his career-high six-point performance Saturday night in Tampa Bay, in which he also scored a career-high four goals in a season-low 13:55 of ice time. Both of those marks also tie the Hartford/Carolina franchise records.

“As a group, we’re feeling pretty comfortable and confident,” said Staal, whose team has won seven if its last nine games. “Obviously Erik Cole and Tuomo Ruutu are two guys who are big and strong and can skate and hit, and the game has really kind of opened up in the last few. The chances we’ve had, we’ve really cashed in and that’s the difference.”

While Staal is undoubtedly on the best offensive stretch of his season (he has 12 points in his last five games overall), coach Paul Maurice said there have been periods where Staal may have been even stronger but didn’t get the same recognition without the gaudy numbers.

“It’s by points, but he has played other stretches where I thought he was more dominant,” he said. “It’s great to see him score goals and it’s fun for him obviously and fun for us when we win like that. Maybe I appreciate the Buffalo games where I thought he was really good, and in some of those big games where I thought, ‘Wow, this guy is really playing and battling and grinding.’”

Some observers will be quick to point out that the award coincides nicely with the reacquisition of Erik Cole. While Staal had been playing well before that, getting his longtime linemate back has certainly been a factor.

“There’s definitely something there, you can’t deny that,” said Staal. “He’s a great player, he’s got offensive skill and a lot of speed. We play well together, we’ve played together for three years, we’re comfortable and confident in each other’s abilities. If we’re both skating and playing the game that we can play, we’re effective and we’re tough to play against.”

Maurice agreed, saying that Cole’s breakaway speed has opened things up for Staal, as was evident on Staal’s second goal against Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

“Erik Cole has straightaway speed,” said Maurice. “Because of that, most defensemen have to give him ice, and when they do that it opens up Eric in the middle. He’s got a lot to do with the last two games offensively.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81