Dustin Brown was named the NHL’s “first star” last week…
FIRST STAR — DUSTIN BROWN, LW, LOS ANGELES KINGS
Brown scored the game-winning goal in consecutive road games, helping the Kings (19-20-7, 45 points) move within six points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. He tallied the game-winner, posted a +3 rating and was named the game’s first star in a 5-2 victory at Minnesota Jan. 20 and notched the winner, an assist and a +1 rating in a 6-5 win at Colorado Jan. 21. The Kings captain completed the week by making his first career NHL All-Star Game appearance Sunday at Montreal, posting an assist for the Western Conference in a 12-11 shootout loss to the Eastern Conference.
SECOND STAR — CAM WARD, G, CAROLINA HURRICANES
Ward stopped 67 of 68 shots in posting road victories on consecutive nights, lifting the Hurricanes (23-20-5, 51 points) to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference entering the All-Star break. He stopped 35 shots in recording his second shutout of the season and eighth of his NHL career in a 2-0 victory at Toronto Jan. 19 and made 32 saves in a 2-1 victory at Pittsburgh Jan. 20. Ward improved his season record to 18-14-3 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 36 appearances.
THIRD STAR — ALES HEMSKY, RW, EDMONTON OILERS
Hemsky thoroughly dominated his lone game last week, recording two goals and two assists — including the game-winning goal with 34.9 seconds remaining in regulation time — in the Oilers’ 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Jan. 20. He posted a +2 rating and was named the game’s first star. The victory was the Oilers’ fifth in six games and improved their record to 24-19-3, sixth in the Western Conference. “That was unreal, I haven’t seen anything like that in a while,” Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish said of Hemsky’s performance. “Two goals and two assists. We’ve seen that before. But not where all four are world-class plays.”