The NHL has released their Three Stars of the week, and Cam Atkinson will take home the top spot this time around. The diminutive Columbus Blue Jackets forward scored five goals and eight points in three games and is now producing at more than a point-per-game pace for the season. The 29-year old Atkinson is trying to put his injury plagued 2017-18 season behind him and get back to the 35-goal scorer he showed capable of being the year prior.
Corey Crawford and Joe Pavelski arrive at second and third respectively, and it’s the former whose performance is so impressive given his long way back from injury over the last year. Crawford now sits with a .922 save percentage on the season and is one of the sole reasons the Blackhawks are still within striking distance of a playoff spot in the Central Division. A team that has already fired their legendary coach and replaced him with the youngest bench boss in the league, Chicago will need Crawford to continue his strong play if they’re to have any chance at a postseason berth this year.
- Auston Matthews was back on the ice with the Toronto Maple Leafs this morning, and he wasn’t wearing the red no-contact jersey. While the Maple Leafs have made no indication that Matthews will be back ahead of schedule, his presence with the team can only give them another morale boost as they try to reclaim the top spot in the Atlantic Division. Even without their young superstar—and his usual linemate William Nylander, who is still without a contract—the Maple Leafs sit at 14-6-0 on the year and have the second best goal differential in the entire NHL.
- The Calgary Flames have inserted rookie Dillon Dube into the lineup 15 times this season, but have given him more than 13 minutes of ice time in only three of those contests. Still with just two points on the season, Dube is looking for his first NHL goal and a way to establish himself as a bigger presence at both ends of the ice. That opportunity is tough to carve out when the team has such solid depth up front, something that head coach Bill Peters is aware of. Speaking to reporters including Kristen Anderson of Postmedia, Peters explained that the team will soon have to decide whether keeping Dube in the NHL only to play a few minutes a game is really the best for his development. Instead, the team could send him back to the AHL where he has still yet to play a full season.