NHL Weekly: Fire in Seattle, Bedard's first major problem and more misery in San Jose

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NHL Weekly: Fire in Seattle, Bedard's first major problem and more misery in San Jose

Adam Larsson taking to the ice
Adam Larsson taking to the iceProfimedia
Another full week of NHL action has been completed. Who picked up the most points, which goalie shined, what was trending on social media and what caught the eye of our very own expert and long-time NHL player Ladislav Smid? All this in our weekly NHL column.

The most productive player

The Florida Panthers had an excellent week, with three of the four most productive players. The best of them was Matthew Tkachuk, who scored three times and added five assists in just three games.

He warmed up with a goal against Arizona's Karel Vejmelka, scored the winning goal and added two assists against Vegas, and backed that up with an 8-4 demolition of Colorado, recording a further goal and three assists. He played just 16 minutes and 17 seconds in the game, his fifth-lowest of the year. The goal was the 200th of his career.

Goaltender of the Week

Alexandar Georgiev of Colorado became the first goalie of the season to reach 20 wins. Despite that landmark, he didn't perform too well, so someone else gets the nod. Martin Jones, the 2014 Stanley Cup winner and 2015 world champion with Canada, signed with Toronto in August for just $875,000, accepting the role of number three behind Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll. But with the former out of shape and the latter injured, it was the veteran's turn to get a chance.

Jones won all three of the games he started, kept his 30th career clean sheet against his former employer Los Angeles and failed to stop only two of 83 shots. His goals-against average was 0.66 and his save percentage was 97.6%.

Highlight of the week

On Saturday, Connor Bedard faced his first major obstacle since his October entry into the NHL and that was New Jersey defenseman Brendan Smith, who provided a strong presence in a clash with the talented forward - inadvertently breaking his jaw. 

"Elbow down, didn't aim for the head, didn't pop out, just a clean hit. End of story. Too bad about Bedard's injury, but this was clean," former long-time major league defenseman Aaron Ward wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

In a game full of scuffles, the referees eventually awarded 64 penalty minutes and the crowd at the Prudential Center was entertained. "That was an old school game. Collisions, fights, everyone was constantly on alert after that hit on Bedard. I enjoyed it tremendously. I know you're not supposed to say it much anymore, but try telling that to the 20,000 people in the arena who were standing and celebrating," said former slugger P.J. Stock, taking a dig at the higher-ups, who have limited physical contact in recent years.

Stat of the week

The NHL season will soon be heading into its second half and the San Jose Sharks have yet to record even 10 wins (40 games, 9 wins). Thursday's 1-2 loss to Winnipeg marked the 10th straight defeat and the California club fell to 10 consecutive losses for the second time in two seasons.

San Jose sharks form
San Jose sharks formFlashscore

From social media

Anaheim goaltender Lukas Dostal had one of the best nights of his career on Wednesday as his Ducks lost 1-2 in overtime to Toronto. Despite the defeat, the promising goaltender saved 55 shots and set a new club record. However, even that wasn't enough to earn him a big headline from the Toronto Sun. The tabloid called him a 'no-name goalie'.

Anaheim responded quickly: "His name is Lukas Dostal. He had 55 saves last night. He was NHL Rookie of the Month in October. Be better, @TheTorontoSun," they said on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

Photo of the week

The Seattle hockey team played an outdoor game against the Vegas Golden Knights on the first day of January, and photographers went wild during the event. This is how one of them captured defenseman Adam Larsson taking to the ice.

Adam Larsson takes the ice.
Adam Larsson takes the ice.Profimedia

Ladislav Šmíd's view

"I came across an interesting stat this week; Connor McDavid already has more points in his career than say Peter Forsberg, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jonathan Toews or Tony Amonte. I smiled at first, but it doesn't really surprise me. Connor is unique, I know Wayne Gretzky had the most points and he will never surpass him, but to me, there has never been a better player than McDavid on the ice. His skills are unparalleled and we in Edmonton can only be happy to have him here.

"Plus he does everything when things aren't going well. He does what he can to help the team win. He wants to lift the team up. When others see that, they always have to step up. He's not just the best player in the world, he's also a leader who doesn't want to lose. That's what I appreciate about him. The sky is the limit - that's exactly what applies to him."

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