Spartans in the NHL: 2/27 to 3/4
Ryan Miller had a fantastic week in goal for the Sabres. He only allowed three goals in three games, good for a 1.00 GAA (goals against average) and a .974 save percentage. Miller shut out his opposition twice: first on Wednesday in a 2-0 win over the Ducks and again on Thursday in a 1-0 triumph over the Sharks. He was named the first star of the game on Wednesday for his 43 saves against Anaheim. “I felt pretty good. I’ve been trying to really be calm in the net and start from in the crease,” Miller said after the game. He also earned first star honors for his 39 save performance against San Jose.
The veteran goalie was upset at one point in the week when friend and teammate Paul Gaustad was traded to Nashville. “I’m not going to lie, I’m not really happy about the way it all turned out…if I had any more influence, Paul would still be here.” Thanks in part to Miller, the Sabres currently sit two points behind Winnipeg for the eighth spot in the playoffs.
Corey Tropp was called up by the Sabres from the team’s AHL affiliate on Tuesday. Tropp got into a fight with Anaheim’s Matt Belesky on Wednesday, earning a five minute penalty. Tropp landed a couple of punches early, but eventually fell to Belesky. The Sabres right winger also picked up an assist in a 5-3 win over the Canucks on Saturday.
Left winger David Booth had an exceptional game on Saturday, scoring two goals for the Canucks against Ryan Miller. Booth scored in the second period on a wrist shot, and in the third on a backhander. He was named the second star of the game for his efforts. Booth has 13 goals on the season.
Jets center Jim Slater notched his sixth goal of the season on Thursday in a 7-0 demolishing of the Panthers. Slater scored early in the first period to give his team a 2-0 lead.
Duncan Keith and the BlackHawks rolled this week, as the team had a 3-0 record. Keith recorded his 31st assist of the season against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday in a 5-4 win. He had a plus/minus of +3 over the course of the week.
Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, and the Detroit Red Wings had a good week, posting a 2-1 record. Abdelkader contributed an assist on Friday in a 6-0 triumph over the Wild. Both he and Miller were active in Detroit’s 2-1 loss to Chicago on Sunday, as Abdelkader had three hits and Miller had three shots.
Left winger Adam Hall tallied a critical goal for the Lightning on Tuesday, scoring the eventual game winning goal against Montreal in a 2-1 victory. Tampa Bay was 3-0 over the course of the week, edging within two points of the eighth spot in the playoff race.
Mike Weaver had an exceptional game for the Panthers on Sunday in a 4-2 win over the Senators. The defenseman assisted on the first and second goals of the game, which were his 15th and 16th assists of the season. Weaver also had three hits, three blocked shots, and two shots in the contest. He was named the second star of the game for his efforts. The Panthers were 2-2 on the week.
The Oiler-Spartan trio of Shawn Horcoff, Jeff Petry, and Corey Potter had another good week. Though Edmonton was 1-2, all three players contributed in a significant way. Horcoff performed well in the faceoff dot, winning 55% of his faceoffs. Petry saw extensive time at defenseman, averaging 24 minutes per game, which he justified on Monday with a 6 hit and 3 blocked shot performance in a 5-3 win over Winnipeg. Potter scored his fourth goal of the season in a 5-2 defeat to the Blues on Wednesday.
Defenseman John-Michael Liles had a relatively quiet week, as the Maple Leafs went 1-2 over the course of the week. Liles had two shots on Monday in a loss to Florida and three shots on Saturday in a win over Montreal.