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Kovalchuk, Richards, Huet up for FanFav

Saturday, 02.21.2009 / 11:15 PM / Fan Fav Award

By Compiled By - NHL.com Staff

Every Saturday night throughout the regular season — coinciding with the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on CBC and RDS — NHL representatives will evaluate NHL player performances from the week prior to select the top three NHL player performances for that week.

Fans then will have the opportunity each week to go online at http://www.fanfav-nhl.com and vote for their favorite player from amongst the three nominees.  At season's end, each winning player will be placed in a pool with the other weekly winners, from which a panel of independent NHL judges will narrow down the list to 10 finalists based on their season-long performances.  Fans will then have the opportunity to vote for their favorite NHL player from these top 10 finalists.  Exciting NHL prizes will be available to both U.S. and Canadian participants.


Our Scotiabank Fan Fav nominees this week include one of the NHL's hottest shooters, a player who made history and a goaltender who's helping to carry his team to its best season in years.

Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk is on a roll. The Thrashers' captain had a great week out West, scoring three goals in less than seven minutes during an 8-4 victory at Anaheim on Sunday, adding two more the next night in a 7-6 shootout victory at Los Angeles, and capping his week with an assist and the game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation, earning the Thrashers a point in a 4-3 shootout loss at Phoenix.

For the week, he had 6 goals and 3 assists for 9 points. The hot streak gave him 30 goals, the sixth consecutive season he's hit that mark.

"He's been wonderful," Atlanta coach John Anderson said of his captain. "In the last month, he's probably been the best player in the NHL, him and (Alex) Ovechkin."

There's no question who's the most dangerous player when his team is killing a penalty. That honor belongs to Philadelphia center Mike Richards, who became the first player this season to score when his team was two men down when he scored a 3-on-5 goal against the New York Rangers.

But Richards is plenty dangerous in other situations as well. He personally led the Flyers to a 6-3 victory over Buffalo by scoring twice (including another shorthanded goal) and setting up three others.

"He's our puck thrower and distributor of the puck," said linemate Mike Knuble, who scored the game-winner against Buffalo on a play started by Richards. "We want to make sure the puck is in his hands as much as we can. He has great vision all over the ice. He is so responsible defensively and at the same time so good offensively."

The Chicago Blackhawks have been among the NHL's hottest teams in the last couple of weeks, and one reason has been the play of goaltender Cristobal Huet. With running mate Nikolai Khabibulin sidelined with an injury, Huet stepped up last week by winning all three of his starts, allowing only five goals. His best game came at Florida on Thursday, when he stopped 31 shots to shut out the red-hot Panthers.

"It's nice to have a little bit of a roll," Huet said after blanking the Panthers for the fourth time in 10 career starts. "I've got no complaints. It's nice to get some games under your belt and build on correct what you did last game."

Last week's winner, Washington defenseman Mike Green, is scoring at a pace most forwards would have trouble keeping up with. Green scored twice in each of his two games to give him a seven-game goal-scoring streak -- tying the League record for defensemen set by Boston's Mike O'Connell 25 years ago. Green scored twice in the third period to give the Caps a 3-1 win over Florida, then had two more against All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to help Washington earn a point in a 5-4 shootout loss against the New York Rangers. He later broke the record on Feb. 14 with a goal at Tampa Bay.

"Things just seem to be rolling lately," Green said after tying the record. "It feels pretty special. I honestly didn't even realize [the record] until yesterday. I tried not to think about it before the game, but I'm pretty happy right now."



Quote of the Day

There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.

— Bruins coach Claude Julien on the loss of Zdeno Chara to injury
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