The Hockey News’ player of the week for March 30 to April 6, 2009 is Montreal Canadiens right winger Alex Kovalev.
The 36-year-old Kovalev averaged three points per game this week – helping the Habs to three victories and virtually guaranteeing the squad a playoff berth – and is on a tear that has seen him notch seven goals and 15 points during a six-game point-scoring streak, bringing his season totals to 24 goals and 63 points.
Kovalev’s week began at home to Chicago on Tuesday. Montreal skated away with a 4-1 victory, with Kovalev totaling a goal, two points and a plus-1 rating in 17:35 of ice time. Two days later, the Habs rolled into New York and rolled over the Islanders by a 5-1 score. Kovalev piled up three assists on just 15:34 of ice time thanks to his work on the suddenly a potent Canadiens power play.
Kovalev’s week finished in style on Saturday night versus Toronto. He racked-up a goal and four points – with three of them again coming with the man advantage as Montreal downed the hapless Maple Leafs 6-2.
For the week, Kovalev had two goals and seven assists for nine points, was plus-2 and had seven power play points. Thanks in large part to his heroics, Kovalev’s Habs are now three point clear of ninth-place Florida and three points out of fourth in the East and home ice in the first round of the playoffs.