Staal Named NHL's Third Star of the Week
FIRST STAR -- MATT DUCHENE, C, COLORADO AVALANCHE
Duchene notched a League-leading seven points (four goals, three assists) last week, highlighted by a pair of dramatic game-winning goals, as the Avalanche (19-10-4) extended their winning streak to six games and reclaimed first place in the Northwest Division. He tallied two goals, including the game-winner at 18:36 of the third period, and an assist in a 7-5 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Dec. 13, recorded assists on a pair of Tomas Fleischmann goals in the third period of a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks Dec. 15 and scored twice, including the first overtime goal of his NHL career, in a 6-5 win over the Ottawa Senators Dec. 17. Duchene's three-game point streak ended but he led all Avalanche players in ice time (21:04) during a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens Dec. 19. The 19-year-old Haliburton, Ontario native leads the Avalanche in scoring with 34 points (13 goals, 21 assists) in 33 games.
SECOND STAR -- TOMAS FLEISCHMANN, LW, COLORADO AVALANCHE
Fleischmann joined new linemate Duchene atop the League scoring list, notching four goals and three assists in four Avalanche victories. Playing his first home game since his Nov. 30 acquisition from Washington, Fleischmann tallied a goal and two assists, all in the third period, in the 7-5 win over the Blackhawks Dec. 13. He engineered more late-game heroics to spark his club to a sweep of the home-and-home series with Chicago, tallying three third-period goals for his first NHL hat trick in the 4-3 win at United Center Dec. 15. Fleischmann recorded one assist in the 6-5 win against Ottawa and had his three-game point streak snapped in 20:12 of ice time in the 3-2 win over Montreal. He has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in nine games with Colorado since the trade from Washington.
THIRD STAR -- ERIC STAAL, C, CAROLINA HURRICANES
Staal tallied five points (four goals, one assist) in three games, helping the Hurricanes (15-12-4) post three consecutive victories and close within four points of the eighth playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Staal recorded one assist in a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers Dec. 15 and tallied the game-tying goal in the third period of a 3-2 shootout win against the Atlanta Thrashers Dec. 16. He finished the week by notching the 12th hat trick of his NHL career in a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks Dec. 18. Staal's career hat trick total is tied with that of New York Rangers' Marian Gaborik and Ottawa's Alex Kovalev for second place among active NHL players, trailing only Teemu Selanne of Anaheim (21).The Hurricanes captain leads his club in scoring with 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 31 games, his most productive start since the 2005-06 Stanley Cup championship season.