|Columbus left wing Rick Nash (61) Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski (right) were the NHL's first and second stars of the week, ending Jan. 4, respectively. The pair will go head-to-head Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena in a Central Division clash. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) Brian Rafalski |
-- Red Wings defenseman and Detroit area native Brian Rafalski has been recognized by the NHL as the Second Star of the week.
For the week, Rafalski had six points (a goal, five assists), including five points in the Red Wings' home-and-home sweep of the Blackhawks, as the Red Wings (26-7-5) went 3-0-0 and increased their Central Division lead to eight points over Chicago.
He recorded two assists in a 4-0 home win over the Blackhawks (Dec. 30), tallied a goal and two assists in the 6-4 win over Chicago in the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field on New Year's Day, and posted one assist in a 3-2 shootout victory at Minnesota (Jan. 3).
Rafalski, who ranks third among NHL defensemen in scoring this season with 31 points (five goals, 26 assists), is on a season-high four-game point streak. He had a six-game point streak (from March 19-30) last season.
As a free agent signing before the 2007-08 season, Rafalski has made an ideal defensive partner for captain and six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom
. Together, the pair is one of the most dynamic defensive duos in the league.
Rounding out the league's Three Stars for the week ending Jan. 4 were Columbus left wing Rick Nash (first star) and Carolina goalie Cam Ward (third star).
Rafalski is the second Wings' player this season recognized for the weekly award. Marian Hossa was named Third Star for the week ending Oct. 26 when he had six points (three goals, three assists) in three straight Detroit wins.