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Kronwall's week earns NHL recognition

Defenseman scores twice, adds five assists in three games

Monday, 03.5.2012 / 1:58 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Kronwall\'s week earns NHL recognition
Niklas Kronwall helped the Red Wings pick-up four points in three games last week and was recognized as one of the NHL's top performers. (Photo by Getty Images)
DETROIT – While the Red Wings have fallen victim to injuries lately, defenseman Niklas Kronwall will be the last to make excuses in the face of adversity.

But as the Wings continue to pile up much-needed points in the Western Conference standings, Kronwall stepped up last week by collecting two goals and five assists in helping his team win two out of three games to keep pace with the St. Louis Blues atop of the Central Division.

Kronwall tied for the league-lead in scoring last week and led all NHL defensemen with seven points, earning him NHL recognized as the league’s Second Star of the Week.

“I’m not surprised,” defenseman Brad Stuart said. “He put up some good numbers and had a great week. He had 7-8 points, that’s not bad. He’s been getting a lot of good chances and putting some of them in.”

The 31-year-old Kronwall is just the second Wings’ player so honored by the league this season. Goalie Jimmy Howard was the Second Star on Nov. 14.

Also recognized by the league this week were Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, who is this week's First Star, and Chicago goalie Ray Emery, who was named Third Star.

Kronwall has supplied a must-need spark to a Wings’ blue line that has come under siege lately with three defensemen bitten by injuries.
 
“Kronner is a guy who will take on responsibility when guys go down and will look to be more of a leader,” Stuart said. “I don’t know if that has anything to do with his hot streak, but he’s definitely that type of player who will step-up when he’s needed.”

Kronwall provided Detroit with offense from the blue line in the absence of injured captain and seven-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom (bruise ankle), beginning with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win at Columbus last Tuesday.

Kronwall had his second consecutive three-point game – the first back-to-back three-point games of his career – with three assists in a 6-0 victory against Minnesota last Friday at Joe Louis Arena. He then accounted for Detroit’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago on Sunday.

While he had an outstanding offensive week, Kronwall is quick to deflect the attention that a league honor draws to that of his teammates.

“I think you do whatever you can out there to help the team in whatever situation that might be, and the points that I’ve been getting is more a credit to the guys up front who have been doing a great job,” he said. “A lot of them have come from just giving it to someone in our own zone and then they do the rest.”

Kronwall’s goal against the Blackhawks was No. 40 scored by a Wings’ defensemen this season, which leads the league for defensive scoring.

His seven-points equals a career-best three game stretch, which he first established in the 2009-10 season when he had three goals and four assists in wins over Columbus, Vancouver and Anaheim during a four day period.

The Swedish-born defenseman has reached career-highs this season for goals (14), power-play goals (6) and game-winning goals (4), in 66 games. He’s also registered a personal-best 146 blocked shots, which leads the team and is third most in the Western Conference.

“It’s obviously nice to be recognized, but at the same time we all feel in here that it’s a team game, and it just happened to be me this time,” Kronwall said. “I’ve been able to give the puck to the right guys at the right time of the game a few times and they have been doing the rest of the job, so I’d like to give them more credit than I deserve really.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89