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Monday, July 4, 2022
Home Sports NHL NHL Star Power Index: Igor Shesterkin takes the league by storm; ...

NHL Star Power Index: Igor Shesterkin takes the league by storm; David Pastrnak continues with the dry month

Welcome to the NHL Star Power Index: A weekly measure of the players who control significant buzz in the league. When a player is included in this list, it may not be a good thing – it means that they attract a large part of the hockey world’s attention.

These players are in no particular order when it comes to the amount of buzz they create. We will revisit the Star Power Index each week throughout the regular season.

As we break near the All-Star, the New York Rangers finds themselves tied for first place in the Metropolitan Division with the third most points in the Eastern Conference. One of the biggest reasons for that was the game of goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin.

With Friday, Shesterkin leads the NHL with a 0.937 save percentage and ranks second with a 2.07 goals-versus-average. In 26 games, the 26-year-old net keeper boasts a 20-4-2 record and has three shutouts to his name.

In six games this month, Shesterkin has conceded a total of 10 goals. In addition, he has back-to-back shutouts against the San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this month.

In Monday’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings, Shesterkin did score a few goals in the second period. However, he scored a very strong match in which he stopped 34 of the 36 strokes he encountered that night.

Shesterkin came up big in the shootout as he stopped Adrian Kempe, Viktor Arvidsson, alex iafallo and Arthur Kaliyev in which it degenerated into a six-round shootout. Shesterkin’s save on Kaliyev to clinch the victory was perhaps the most impressive, as he showed tremendous balance in the net against a player who had a very fast shot.

For so many years, the Rangers had a constant in net in the form of five-time All-Star goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist. After serving as Lundqvist’s backup during the 2019-20 season, Shesterkin has been named “the guy” for the past two seasons and he did not disappoint.

Halfway through the 2021-’22 season, Shesterkin is definitely in the Vezina trophy talk and it’s not saying what the ceiling is on this talented net keeper.

Throughout most of the season so far it has been the Brad Marchand show when it comes to the Boston Bruins. That’s because David Pastrnack had some struggles, including scoring just two points (a few assists) in seven games during December.

Marchand, who enters Friday, leads the Bruins in points (46), goals (21) and assists (25) and, despite those numbers, he was banned from being selected after next month’s NHL All-Star game. Pastrnak, however, is really starting to turn it on.

In January, Pastrnak looked like the traditional game maker we were all starting to expect. In 14 games, the Bruins wing scored 12 goals and five assists. During that period, Pastrnak scored five multi-point games, including scoring a goal and an assist in a 5-3 loss against the Anaheim Ducks earlier this week.

On top of that, “Pasta,” as many call him in the league, scored points in all but four of those January competitions. He looked more aggressive and he seems to be putting the shooter in the net any chance he gets as we have seen in the past.

Pastrnak is currently on course to end the regular season with 78 points (41 goals and 37 goals). While it’s not going to record any new career highlights, it’s going to be great for the Browns to have the deadly Pastrnak that hockey fans have become accustomed to.

Despite a slower start this season, Crosby has really started to hit his pace. Over his last six games, Crosby have scored at least one point in four of those games and scored goals in four of them.

Crosby had an incredible performance last week, culminating in a four-point performance in a Penguins‘5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The Penguins center scored three goals and scored an assist, including one of those goals that came in the power play.

While Crosby’s efficiency is always something to behold, his playing ability can never be underestimated.

In the opening minute of Friday’s game, Crosby was able to hold the shooter, slide the shooter to a wide open Bryan Demoulin, and Demoulin buried a shot past the Blue Jackets’ goalkeeper. Joonas Korpisalo to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead early on.

The Penguins eventually needed Crosby’s goal-scoring ability against the Blue Jackets, who scored a 2-1 even late in the opening period.

When it comes to Crosby, there is no corner or area from which he can not score points. In the last minute of the first period, Bryan Rust put the shooter near the net in Crosby’s area, but it looked like Crosby was pretty well defended by Blue Jackets’ defender Jake Bean. However, Crosby was still able to move the shooter from the side of the net past Bean’s skate and Korpisalo.

As I mentioned last week, the return of Evgeni Malkin is monumental to the Penguins. Malkin’s presence in the team’s leading power play unit alongside Crosby, which was clear against Columbus when Malkin provided assistance on Crosby’s third goal.

With Crosby playing at an elite level again, the Penguins have won six of their last seven games and really look like one of the most dangerous teams in the NHL.

It seems crazy to think of that Lightning star Steven Stamkos is in his 14th professional season. Stamkos, however, has handled his fair share of injuries in recent years that have derailed some of his seasons.

In March 2020, Stamkos was forced to undergo a core muscle operation and missed the rest of the regular season. However, Stamkos returned for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final and even scored on his first shot of that competition. Stamkos was also restricted to just 17 games during the 2016-’17 season after tearing the meniscus in his right knee.

Finally, it seems that Stamkos’ injury-prone days may be a thing of the past.

In 43 games throughout the 2021-’22 season, Stamkos leads the Blitz in points (51) and goals (20) while also scoring a team leading eight power play goals. Stamkos comes off a three-point week in which he put on a two-point performance against the San Jose Sharks last Saturday.

The Blitzes won back-to-back Stanley Cups, even though they did not have the full services of Stamkos throughout most of that tremendous run. Now Tampa Bay is thriving again because they currently only run the Florida Panthers for most points in the entire league.

If Stamkos can continue to stay healthy and produce at a high level, a third consecutive Stanley Cup may not be for the Blitz.

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