Golden Knights Staff reports
April 03, 2018 3:00 AM
by Staff & Wire Reports
Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson, Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending April 1.
Karlsson got the first star, leading the NHL with nine points including a pair of shorthanded goals in four games as the Pacific Division champion Golden Knights (50-22-7, 107 points) became the first modern-era expansion team from any of the four North American professional sports leagues to start from scratch and finish first in its division (excluding mergers and all-expansion divisions).
Karlsson had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on March 26, becoming the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 40-goal milestone for a club in its inaugural season (and first since Brian Bradley in 1992-93 for Tampa Bay). Karlsson added one assist in a 3-2 loss to Arizona on March 28 before again collecting three points, including a helper on the overtime winner, in a 4-3 triumph over St. Louis on March 30.
“Wild Bill” capped the week with two points including a highlight-reel game-winning goal (while shorthanded), in a 32 division-clinching victory against San Jose on March 31.
The 25-year-old Marsta, Sweden, native shares third place in the League with 42 goals in 79 contests this season (33 assists, 75 points) after scoring 18 times in his first 183 career NHL games prior to 2017-18 (18-32-50).
The second star went to Raanta, who went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, .964 save percentage and one shutout as the Coyotes (28-40-11, 67 points) won three of their four games for the week to improve to 16-8-2 dating to Feb. 8.
The 28-year-old Rauma, Finland, native has appeared in 45 contests this season, ranking third in the NHL with a 2.27 goals-against average and fourth with a .929 save percentage.
Eichel took the third star, placing second in the NHL with 8 points in three games to help the Sabres (25-41-12, 62 points) pick up a pair of victories. He scored twice, including the winning goal, in a 3-2 triumph over Toronto on March 26 before adding another goal in a 6-3 loss to Detroit on March 29.
Eichel then collected five assists in a 7-4 victory against Nashville Predators March 31. In doing so, he became the first Sabres player to register five points in a game since Jan. 31, 2013 (Thomas Vanek) and the first with five assists in a game since Feb. 10, 1993 (Pat LaFontaine).