has never been named the First Star of the Week by the NHL. After going through a bit of a slump in March after a dominant February, Simmonds seems to have brought his all-around game back recently.
Scoring: Simmonds posted goals in four straight games, which included five goals and an assist in that span.
Defense: Simmonds posted a plus-minus-rating of plus-1.
Toughness: One of the goals Simmonds scored was a deflection off of his face. Simmonds would get stitched up, throw on a half-shield and finish the game. But the truly remarkable part of his injury came the very next game when his eye was practically swollen shut and he dropped the gloves and fought in the final minutes of the Flyers-Pens game.
It's safe to say that's an all-around good week, and the NHL seems to agree as well by officially naming him the week's First Star earlier this morning.
“Yeah it is the first time, it’s a great honor," said Simmonds. "Yesterday I had a little bit of trouble seeing but I don’t think it made much of a difference. I still went out there and played as hard as I possibly could. Obviously I think that’s the most painful goal that I’ll ever score in my NHL career [laughter] …I don’t hope to do that again, but it was worth it.”
Simmonds wasn't the only Flyer to be honored this morning by the NHL.
After wrapping up the penultimate month of the regular season, the NHL named it's First Star of the Month, which went to Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov
and his incredible play in March.
Bryzgalov posted a record of 10-2-1 with a 1.43 goals-against average and .947 save
He recorded four shutouts, the most of any NHL goaltender on the month, which included three consecutive no-no's from March 8-13 and setting a franchise record with a 249:43 shutout streak in the process.
During his week, Simmonds scored once in a 5-3 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 26 and recorded two goals and an assist in a 7-1 victory at the Toronto Maple Leafs three days later.
He followed that up with a flat out gutsy performance on the weekend.
He took the now famous goal off of his face in a shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and scored, at the time, the go-ahead goal in the Flyers-Penguins game to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead in the third period after coming back from an 0-2 deficit.
"I think at the beginning of the year, I didn’t want to put numbers on myself, I didn’t want to create pressure for myself," added Simmonds. "I came in and wanted to be a lot better offensively than last year. I wanted to get back to the production than I had in my second year."
Nearing the end of a career regular season in just his fourth year in the NHL, Simmonds has shattered his career-high in goals with 27 and points with 48, up from 16 and 40 from two seasons ago.
"I think last year was a bit of a down year for me and I knew I was a lot better player than that so anything after 40 would be awesome for me and it’s been great. Like I said, I’ve been in most situations, I never really played power play before this year and I think that’s helped out a lot.”
Bryzgalov's month of March saw him rattle off seven consecutive victories and allow two or fewer goals in 11 straight games, becoming the first Flyers goaltender to do so since Bernie Parent in 1975.
He was honored twice during the month being named the First Star of the Week for Mar. 5-11 and again for a second straight week from Mar. 12-18. Bryzgalov was the first player to earn the honor in consecutive weeks in the entire NHL this season.
Recently however, Bryzgalov has been sidelined for the last three games after suffering a chip fracture in his right foot in the Flyers-Lightning game on March 26.
Overall, Bryzgalov has a 32-15-7 record with a 2.46 GAA and .910 save percentage in 57 appearances between the pipes this season, his first with the Flyers.