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Ward, Havlat, Setoguchi headline Fan Fav

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.

This week's Fan Fav nominees include one of the NHL's hottest goaltenders and two scorers who are powering their teams into the playoffs.

Carolina goaltender Cam Ward is carrying the Hurricanes into the postseason on his back. Ward won all three of his decisions last week, allowing just four goals, as the Hurricanes moved into fifth place in the East.

In all, Ward has started 22 consecutive games for the Hurricanes while playing the kind of hockey he did when he backstopped the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006.

"Our team is playing a lot better defensive hockey in front of me," said Ward, whose team has gone from 25th in goals allowed last season to 11th.  "Things have improved since (coach) Paul Maurice came in (to replace Peter Laviolette). He's emphasized better play in our zone."

Martin Havlat's time in Chicago has been marked by injuries. But he's been healthy this season, and his production is a big reason the Blackhawks are in line to return to the playoffs.

Havlat had a productive week, scoring twice against Los Angeles, adding a goal and an assist against San Jose, then scoring one goal and setting up two others -- including the game-winner in overtime -- in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. With 68 points in 72 games, he had already equaled the best season of his career.

San Jose's Devin Setoguchi can go Havlat one better -- he's already blown past all of his career bests. The speedy forward's five goals last week put him at 30 for the season, second to captain Patrick Marleau, and his seven points gave him 61, more than triple last season's output.

Setoguchi's big week started after he and another young forward, Joe Pavelski, were teamed with Milan Michalek against Dallas.

"Maybe it's cleared my mind," said Setoguchi, who spent most of the season on Joe Thornton's wing with Marleau. "It's strange how your mind can get so clouded when things aren't going well."

Last week's winner, New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur, had a week for the ages. Brodeur tied Patrick Roy's NHL career record for victories by winning in Montreal, his hometown, broke the mark at home with win No. 552 against Chicago, then moved within two of Terry Sawchuk's record of 103 shutouts by stopping 35 shots in the Devils' 4-0 victory over Minnesota on Friday night.

"A record like this speaks for itself," Devils coach Brent Sutter said after the record-setting victory. "He's got the most wins of all time by any goaltender that's ever played the game, so it speaks for itself. I have played on some very, very good hockey teams that have won Stanley Cups, and just some really good teams. As far as goaltending is concerned, being around Marty for the last year and three-quarters, you can understand why he's accomplished what he's accomplished."

For the week, Brodeur went 3-0-0 and allowed only three goals. That made him 9-1-0 in 10 starts since returning from a bicep injury that required surgery and kept him out for 50 games.

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