NEW YORK - San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau and clinical nurse educator generalist Jane Vergara have been named the NHL's "First Stars" for the week ending April 25.
Throughout the 2020-21 season the NHL is celebrating the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League's weekly and monthly "Stars."
Vergara, a clinical nurse educator generalist at a local San Jose hospital, hires and teaches clinical staff and contracted nurses to ensure they are well-informed and confident in providing exceptional patient care. She has taken charge of various types of teaching throughout the hospital, helping grow the Clinical Education, Practice and Informatics Department over the past five years.
Vergara has not been slowed down during the pandemic, instead rising to every occasion as her hospital has adapted to new equipment. She always maintains a positive, enthusiastic and humorous energy that she incorporates into her training, helping staff members stay engaged and excited about their work.
Rounding out the "Three Stars" of the week are Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot and Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau. More on each NHL player's performance can be found below:
FIRST STAR - PATRICK MARLEAU, C, SAN JOSE SHARKS
Marleau celebrated a pair of historic achievements, overtaking Gordie Howe for the most regular-season games played in NHL history and later becoming the fourth player in League history to appear in 900 consecutive regular-season contests. The 41-year-old Aneroid, Sask., native dethroned Mr. Hockey - who had held the distinction as the NHL's all-time games played leader since Nov. 26, 1961 - when he stepped onto the ice for his 1,768th career contest April 19, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. "The emotional roller coaster, it was definitely a long ride," Marleau said after breaking Howe's record. "I'm very grateful and blessed that I was able to do this with all the support I've had over my career. It's something I'll never forget." (Click here for more details from Marleau's record-setting achievement). The No. 2 overall selection from the 1997 NHL Draft then reached another milestone in a 5-2 loss to the Golden Knights April 21, when he joined Doug Jarvis, Keith Yandle and Garry Unger as the fourth player in League history to skate in 900 straight games. Marleau, who has registered 4-5-9 thus far during his 23rd NHL season (47 GP), ranks 23rd in League history in career goals (566) and 50th in career points (1,197).
SECOND STAR - CAM TALBOT, G, MINNESOTA WILD
Talbot went 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .953 save percentage to help the Wild (31-13-3, 65 points) extend their winning streak to seven games dating to April 14 and clinch their eighth playoff berth in the past nine seasons. He earned a pair of victories against the Arizona Coyotes, making 22 stops in a 5-2 triumph April 19 and 39 saves in a 4-1 win April 21. Talbot capped the week with 40 stops, his 12th career 40-save performance and second of the campaign (also March 18 at COL: 50 SV), in a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings April 23. The 33-year-old Caledonia, Ont., native has compiled a 17-6-3 record, 2.33 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and two shutouts in 27 total appearances this season, his first with Minnesota.
THIRD STAR - JONATHAN HUBERDEAU, LW, FLORIDA PANTHERS
Huberdeau led the NHL with 1-6-7 in four outings to power the Panthers (31-13-5, 67 points) to a 3-1-0 week. He collected four points over a pair of wins against the Columbus Blue Jackets, notching one assist in a 4-2 victory April 19 and 1-2-3 in a 5-1 triumph April 20. Huberdeau added three more points while splitting two games versus the Carolina Hurricanes, picking up one helper in a 4-2 loss April 22 and two assists in a 4-3 overtime win April 24. The 27-year-old Saint-Jerome, Que., native tops Florida and ranks 14th in the NHL with 16-36-52 through 49 total games this season.