Hello, everyone, I hoped you all enjoyed the new version of the Sick Hands of the month as I will be incorporating that into the site once a month. But now I will be going back to my usual once a week ‘SHS’ version so let’s get at it for this week!
For the forward part of the article I narrowed my pick down to three players who had fantastic weeks. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov who tallied six points (4G, 2A) in four games, Toronto winger James van Riemsdyk who also grabbed six points (4G, 2A) in three points, and then Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom who recorded six points (3G, 3A) in three games. Just like all the other articles this one’s super hard to chose a winner for this week because the top three players all went off. I decided to go with Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk because he was on fire all week long!
In JVR’s first game of the week, he went off on the Nashville Predators in a 6-2 win at home. JVR recorded his first hat trick with the Leafs and his second overall in his career. On his first goal, JVR came into the slot on the right slide put a shot on net that was blocked, corralled the shot and fired it home for his first of the game to tie it at 1-1. With his second goal, JVR received a beautiful pass from linemate Tyler Bozak from the right in front of the net. All he had to do was redirect the puck into the wide open net for his second of the game and he tied the game back up at two goals apiece. On JVR’s third goal of the game, he picked the loose puck up on the left dot, drove to the net and fired a backhander through the goalie’s legs to finish his hat trick and put the game out of reach. JVR finished with three goals and an assist to cap off a four-point. You can see his hat trick down below:
van Riemsdyk got off to another awesome game when the Leafs took on the Panthers at home two days later. JVR finished with another goal and an assist in a 6-1 win. He had a great individual effort on his goal that out the game out of reach for the Panthers. JVR went in on the forecheck of the Panthers defender in the offensive zone. The Florida D-man made a huge mistake and JVR easily picked off the pass and went in on a semi-breakaway. JVR took the puck and ripped a shot in the high slot and beat Panthers goalie James Reimer through the wickets to make the game 5-1. Unfortunately, in the Leafs’ last game of the week against the Canadians, they were ousted 2-1 and JVR was held off the scoresheet. Here is his goal below:
Now to the goalie portion of the article and this one was pretty easy to choose from! I decided to go with Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy because ‘Vasy” was on point this week! Tampa played a total of three games this week and usually him and Ben Bishop split time during the games because there is no number one goalie in Tampa. Well, Vasy got two of the three starts and went 2-0 in those two games posting two perfect games shutting out both teams (the Flyers and the Islanders). So it was clear this week that Vasy was the number one and if he can turn in more games like this look out for him to start more games and take away starts from Ben Bishop!
The Honorable Mention this week go to Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby, who were also great this week but weren’t able to get the crown. I will see you guys next Sunday for another recap of the best player of the week! (Thanks to the Maple Leafs’ Twitter for the videos of the goals!)