The National Hockey League announced today that forward Mathew Barzal and Northwell Health -South Shore University Hospital RN Kelly McLaughlin have been named the NHL's "First Stars" for the Week ending April 4.
Barzal recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) in three games last week, including a hat trick, to help the Islanders to a 2-1-0 record. On Thursday, he recorded five points (three goals, two assists) and was named the game's Number 1 Star in the Islanders' 8-4 win over the Washington Capitals. It was Barzal's third career hat trick and fourth career five-point game. He finished the game with a plus-5 rating, matching his single-game career high. On Saturday, Barzal recorded an assist and scored the shootout winner in a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. His assist extended his point streak to four games (four goals, five assists).
Video: WSH@NYI: Barzal records 3rd career NHL hat trick
It was a historical week for Barzal, who became the fifth Islander in franchise history with at least four five-point games, and the first to do so in the 21st century (Bryan Trottier 15, Mike Bossy 15, Denis Potvin 5, Pat LaFontaine 4). He joined Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy as the only Islanders to have multiple games in which they went plus-5 or better while recording at least five points. He is the first Islander to record a five-point game with a plus-5 rating since 1996 (Niklas Andersson).
Barzal leads the Islanders in points (34) and co-leads the team in goals (13) through 38 games. The Coquitlam, BC native leads the East division in plus-minus rating (plus-17) and even-strength points (28).
McLaughlin works as a registered nurse certified in emergency nursing at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. Last April, she created an event called the "Day of Hope," a hospital-wide initiative intended to boost morale among staff during the height of COVID-19. McLaughlin did so after noticing that her usually fun and spunky coworkers had become deflated and broken down following the onset of the pandemic.
"Day of Hope" included food, music and entertainment for the entire hospital's staff. McLaughlin even created matching shirts for employees via a local vendor who was struggling due to the economic impact of the pandemic. There also was a moment of silence for all of the hospital's patients and loved ones lost to coronavirus.
"The event was a great success," said McLaughlin, who was born and raised on Long Island and credits her father and grandfather for her Islanders fandom. "And for a short while, everyone in attendance was able to forget about all of the hardship and suffering."