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Langenbrunner, Nabokov, Stafford head this week's nominees

by 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 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 a pair of hot shooters and a goaltender who was perfect.

New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner must have done something right during the All-Star break, because he's been unstoppable ever since. Langenbrunner scored twice and got the game-winner in the Devils' 4-1 win at Ottawa, had two more goals, including the overtime winner, in a 4-3 win at Boston, and capped his week by tying Friday's game against Pittsburgh in the final minute of regulation before getting another OT winner in a 4-3 victory over the Penguins.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence right now and burying all his chances," center Travis Zajac said of his linemate. "He's working hard and playing hard and making smart plays. As a leader and the captain of this team that's what we expect from him and he's doing a great job."

So is San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who was perfect in his first two starts after the break: two wins, two shutouts, 55 shots faced, 55 shots stopped. He made 31 saves in a 3-0 victory at Colorado, then stopped all 24 Phoenix shots in a 2-0 home victory.

"He just makes us calm on the bench," forward Ryane Clowe said after the victory over Phoenix. "It's funny — you watch from the bench and see them get a scoring chance and you don't even get anxious or nervous. You feel like Nabby's got everything under control and he's going to make the save."

Most visiting players don't get many cheers when they score a hat trick. But Buffalo's Drew Stafford heard more than a few when he lit the red light for the third time in the Sabres' 10-2 victory at Edmonton on Jan. 28. After all, the Stafford name is a familiar one at Rexall Place -- Barrie Stafford, Drew's uncle, is the Oilers' longtime equipment manager.

"It was pretty ironic. I was pretty nervous before the game," Stafford said. "You don't get too hyped up and look into things too much, but this one was special for me -- it was my first time here playing in front of my uncle seeing me live. Growing up and hanging out with him and that team, it was pretty special, pretty unique."

Last week's winner, Edmonton's Ales Hemsky, showed everyone just how much he was missed while sitting out with a concussion. The speedy center came back with a bang, getting two goals in the Oilers' 6-3 victory over Phoenix before putting on a one-man show against Columbus. Hemsky set up the Oilers' first goal, scored the second, then assisted on the tying goal with 4:42 remaining in regulation before scoring the game-winner with 34.9 seconds remaining for a 4-3 victory.

That's six points in two games, pretty good for a guy who had been out for three weeks.

"That was unreal, I haven't seen anything like that in a while," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish of Hemsky's performance against the Blue Jackets. "Two goals and two assists. We've seen that before. But not where all four are world-class plays.

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