Northwest: Brodziak stars in week of improvement for the Wild

By Blake Benzel

Photo: Minnesota Wild center Kyle Brodziak helped shake the Wild out of the doldrums in the past week with some timely offense (courtesy of

Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)

With the season winding down, the Northwest Division race is distinctly lacking drama – at least, as far as the standings are concerned. There are a few teams that are ready and willing to play the role of spoiler, two of whom are featured in the division’s three stars of the week for March 16-22.

First Star: Kyle Brodziak, C, Minnesota Wild
Brodziak tallied two goals and six points over the last week, which helped the seemingly hapless Wild to two straight wins over division foes on Monday and Thursday. In addition, Brodziak also fired seven shots on goal over the Wild’s last three games and has been a +2 during that time. Brodziak is now second on the Wild in scoring with 40 points, and has set career highs in both goals and points this season within the past week, all adding up to a number one star slot.

Second Star: Ales Hemsky, RW, Edmonton Oilers
Over four games during the last week, Hemsky stood out for Edmonton, tallying four goals and an assist, including a hat trick and one assist on Tuesday in Edmonton’s 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators. While one point over the other three games might not be the most impressive thing, Hemsky’s play has been a big catalyst for the Oilers, who registered a point in every game of the week. Hemsky had a staggering 15 shots over the four games and was a +4 rating during that time, showing more than just his offensive acumen in helping the Oilers go 2-0-2.

Third Star: Paul Stastny, C, Colorado Avalanche
Stastny might not be getting all of the attention in Denver, thanks to a guy by the name of Manning (what, you thought we were going to say Landeskog?), but that doesn’t take away from the week that he’s had, tallying three goals and one assist in three games. Apart from the offense, Stastny was a huge part of Colorado’s 2-1 overtime win against the Calgary Flames, breaking a nine-game losing streak against the Flames, and playing a large role in the Avalanche’s success, as usual. Stastny also was a +2 over the week and had nine shots on goal.

Northwest Division Notes

After losing 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild in a shootout, the Calgary Flames have now lost four straight games after winning five straight, including the last three in either overtime or the shootout. … Flames forward Alex Tanguay may be getting a phone call from Brendan Shanahan after elbowing Wild defenseman, Jared Spurgeon, in the head. Spurgeon played just one shift after the elbow before leaving the game for good. … Wild defenseman Marco Scandella also left the game early after taking a shot in the midsection or lower body. Scandella underwent X-rays, but the severity of the injury is still unknown. … Wild defenseman Mike Lundin has been shut down for the year after undergoing successful surgery to repair a sports hernia last week. Lundin played 17 games for the Wild this season, registering two assists.