New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal and Northwell Health – South Shore University Hospital RN Kelly McLaughlin have been named the NHL’s “First Stars” for the week ending April 4.
Throughout the 2020-21 season the NHL is celebrating the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League’s weekly and monthly “Stars.”
McLaughlin works as a registered nurse certified in emergency nursing at Northwell Health – South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. Last April, she created an event called the “Day of Hope,” a hospital-wide initiative intended to boost morale among staff during the height of COVID-19. McLaughlin did so after noticing that her usually fun and spunky coworkers had become deflated and broken down following the onset of the pandemic.
“Day of Hope” included food, music and entertainment for the entire hospital’s staff. McLaughlin even created matching shirts for employees via a local vendor who was struggling due to the economic impact of the pandemic. There also was a moment of silence for all of the hospital’s patients and loved ones lost to coronavirus.
“The event was a great success,” said McLaughlin, who was born and raised on Long Island and credits her father and grandfather for her Islanders fandom. “And for a short while, everyone in attendance was able to forget about all of the hardship and suffering.”
Rounding out the “Three Stars” of the week are San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones and Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand. More on each NHL player’s performance can be found below:
FIRST STAR – MATHEW BARZAL, C, NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Barzal registered 3-4—7 and a shootout-deciding goal across three contests to help the Islanders improve to 24-10-4 (52 points), on pace for their best points percentage in 39 years. He assisted on New York’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins March 29. Barzal then posted 3-2—5, including his third career hat trick (in highlight-reel fashion) and fourth career five-point performance, in an 8-4 triumph over the division-leading Washington Capitals April 1. Only three players in franchise history have recorded more career five-point games than Barzal (272 GP): Mike Bossy (15 in 752 GP), Bryan Trottier (15 in 1,123 GP) and Denis Potvin (5 in 1,060 GP). Barzal closed the week with an assist and the shootout-deciding goal, the fourth such tally of his career, in a 3-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers April 3. The 23-year-old Coquitlam, B.C., native and 2017-18 Calder Memorial Trophy winner tops the Islanders with 13‑21—34 in 38 outings this season.
SECOND STAR – MARTIN JONES, G, SAN JOSE SHARKS
Jones won a League-best four games, posting a 1.71 goals-against average, .942 save percentage and one shutout in four starts to lift the Sharks (17-16-4, 38 points) to a perfect week and within three points of the final playoff spot in the Honda NHL West Division. He made 48 saves over a pair of games against the Minnesota Wild, denying 22 shots – as well as six in the shootout – in a 4-3 win March 29 and turning aside 26 pucks in a 4-2 triumph March 31. Jones then picked up two wins against his former team, the Los Angeles Kings, earning his 25th career shutout with 30 saves in a 3-0 victory April 2 and making 35 stops in a 3-2 triumph April 3. The 31-year-old North Vancouver, B.C., native has appeared in 24 total contests this season, compiling a 14-7-2 record with a 3.03 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and one shutout.
THIRD STAR – BRAD MARCHAND, LW, BOSTON BRUINS
Marchand collected 5-2—7 in three outings to propel the Bruins (19-10-5, 43 points) to a pair of victories. He notched 1-1—2 in a 5-4 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils March 30, then scored Boston’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins April 1. Marchand capped the week with 3-1—4, including his fourth career hat trick, in a 7-5 triumph against the Penguins April 3, halting Pittsburgh’s winning streak at five games. The 32-year-old Halifax, N.S., native paces the Bruins and ranks among the League leaders in both goals (t-9th; 17) and points (11th; 41) through 32 contests this season.