Duncan Keith had a phenomenal week. The Blackhawks defenseman netted two assists, helping his team win each of its three games this week. In addition, he came to the aid of his teammate in Chicago’s 5-3 victory over the Sharks on Tuesday, when San Jose center Andrew Desjardins blindsided Blackhawks Jamal Mayers, as the winger prepared to receive the puck near Chicago’s blue line. Keith saw the hit and immediately launched himself at Desjardins in defense of his teammate. The two exchanged blows and eventually tumbled to the ice. Keith was charged with a pair of two minute instigator penalties, a five minute fighting major and a ten minute game misconduct. Desjardins was also given a match penalty and ejected from the game. Keith’s noble defense of his teammate demonstrates why the veteran defender is an alternate captain on the Blackhawks. You can see full footage of the incident here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHgT_ccSTA4
In each of his next two games, Keith tallied an assist. He was credited with a secondary assist on Patrick Kane’s first period goal, which made the score 4-0, in an eventual 6-2 rout of the Coyotes on Friday. Keith tabbed his fourth assist of the season on Sunday. The defenseman sent a backhander on net and Jonathan Toews tipped the puck past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead in the second. Chicago went on to claim the team’s fourth consecutive victory, taking down the Predators 3-0.
Winnipeg’s Jim Slater did all the little things right this week. The center won six of seven faceoffs in the Jets’ 3-2 overtime win over the Panthers. Slater again performed well in Winnipeg’s narrow 1-0 triumph over the Senators on Saturday, as he recorded two shots, hits and takeaways on the night.
The Red Wing-Spartan duo of Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller played a major role in Detroit’s 3-1 record this week. The two combined for three assists in Thursday’s 5-1 drubbing of the Blues. Abdelkader notched his first assist of the year on Dan Cleary’s first period goal, which made the score 1-0. Miller added a secondary assist on Jakub Kindl’s tally that increased the lead to two midway through the second. The winger produced his fourth helper of the season in the second period on Cory Emmerton’s second period goal, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead. Miller was named the third star of the game for his performance.
Ryan Miller showed flashes of brilliance in net this week, earning a 2-1 record. Though he allowed four goals, the goalie turned away 28 shots to help the Sabers attain a 5-4 victory over the Canadians on Thursday. Miller bailed out Buffalo the next day, stopping 41 shots to help the Sabers snag a 3-2 triumph over the Islanders. The veteran received first star honors after the game. Miller’s lone loss of the week came on Sunday, as Buffalo suffered a 3-1 loss to the Bruins. The netminder turned aside 36 of 38 Boston shots, earning second star honors in the loss.
The Lightning struggled this week, stumbling to a 0-3 record. Tampa Bay winger Adam Hall had a decent week, with his highlight performance coming on Tuesday. Hall racked up three hits and two shots in a 2-1 defeat suffered to the Flyers.
Mike Weaver registered a pair of assists for the Panthers, as Florida went 1-1-1 on the week. The defenseman provided his first assist of the season during the first period of the team’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Jets. Thursday’s contest turned out better for the Panthers, as Florida snatched a 3-2 shootout victory over the Flyers. Weaver provided a helper on Jack Skille’s first period goal to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Jeff Petry and Corey Potter had a quiet week for the Oilers, as the squad stumbled to a 1-1-2 record. Petry supplied two blocked shots, two hits and two takeaways on Sunday in a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets. Potter also had a solid game, recording two hits in the triumph over Columbus.
Defenseman John-Michael Liles and the Maple Leafs enjoyed a successful week, as Toronto soared to a 3-1 record on the week. The team’s crowning win came on Saturday, as the Leafs drubbed the Canadians, 6-0, during Hockey Night in Canada. Liles supplied a secondary assist on Tyler Bozak’s insurance goal in the first period of the contest, increasing Toronto’s lead to two. Liles has five assists on the year.
Oilers center Shawn Horcoff is out for the “long-term” after sustaining a broken knuckle in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Canucks on Monday, according to Edmonton head coach Ralph Kreuger. Horcoff was placed on the injured reserve the next day. He suffered the injury while blocking a shot in the second period of the defeat. The Oilers captain missed the two games previous to Monday’s contest with a sprained neck. Prior to being placed on Edmonton’s IR, Horcoff had one goal and two assists in seven games.
Left winger David Booth skated with Vancouver in the team’s morning skate on Saturday. Booth is expected to be back soon after missing every Canucks game so far this season with a groin injury.