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Simmonds, Chara, Smith are Three Stars of the Week

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 11:32 AM / News

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Simmonds, Chara, Smith are Three Stars of the Week
Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith were named the NHL's Three Stars of the Week.

The goal he scored against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon to spark a comeback by his Philadelphia Flyers wasn't the sole reason forward Wayne Simmonds won NHL First Star of the Week honors.

But let's face it -- when you manage to put the puck in the net using your face to deflect a shot, you deserve your fair share of credit.

Simmonds scored four other goals this past week in much less painful fashion to help the Flyers make a surge in the Eastern Conference standings. Also honored by the League on Monday were Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who was named Second Star, and Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, awarded Third Star.

In his first season with the Flyers after arriving as part of the Mike Richards summer blockbuster, Simmonds nearly has doubled his previous high for goals with 27 this season. He started his four-game goal streak in a loss Monday to the Lightning, and then helped the Flyers go on a 2-0-1 run. He scored twice and added an assist in a rout of the Maple Leafs, had a Brayden Schenn shot find the net by route
Wayne Simmonds
Right Wing - PHI
GOALS: 27 | ASST: 21 | PTS: 48
SOG: 190 | +/-: -1
of his face as Philadelphia overcame a 3-0 deficit to get a point in a shootout loss to Ottawa, and scored the go-ahead power-play goal in the third period as the Flyers rallied from two goals down for a key 6-4 win that moved them to within a point of the Penguins for the No. 4 seed and home ice in the first round of the playoffs.

Chara didn't bury any pucks this past week, but he extended his point-scoring streak to five games by piling up seven assists and a plus-6 rating in four games for the Bruins, helping the defending Stanley Cup champions clinch the Northeast Division and the No. 2 seed. Chara set up three goals and was plus-3 in a Tuesday win against the Lightning, and had a pair of assists and a plus-4 rating in a Saturday afternoon victory against the Islanders. On Sunday he had the primary assist on Dennis Seidenberg's goal that tied the Rangers in a game the Bruins would go on to win 2-1 to clinch the Northeast Division title.

While the Flyers' and Bruins' spots in the postseason are secure, the Coyotes remain in a precarious position -- but Smith is doing everything he can to make sure they're on the right side of the West's cutoff line at the end of regular-season action Saturday. The veteran goalie, playing his first season in Phoenix, recorded back-to-back shutouts in the past five days -- and he didn't exactly have a light workload in doing so. Smith made 38 saves to blank San Jose 2-0 on Thursday, then had an answer for all 44 shots Anaheim put on him Saturday in a 4-0 triumph. As a result, the Coyotes entered the week seventh in the West, and Smith has a career-high seven shutouts.

Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers