Detroit — Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski, who says he needs another week to reach 100 percent, has been honored by the NHL.
The league named Rafalski its third star of the week for his seven assists in three games as the Wings earned five of six points and moved into first place in the Western Conference.
Rafalski had three assists in the Wings’ 5-4 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames on Sunday. The first marked the 400th assist of his career.
“It’s a nice little accomplishment, but we were still losing at the time,” Rafalski said after the game. “It’s nice but it’s secondary.”
Rafalski has played well since returning from knee surgery. He had the surgery Oct. 12 and returned to the lineup Nov. 8.
“What has it been, two weeks that I’ve been playing?” Rafalski said. “Probably take another week to get back to (100). (Sunday) I played 25 (minutes), the most I’ve played so far. Day off (Monday) to get rest to recover from that. It should help going forward.”
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash was the first star, and Colorado Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles (MIchigan State) was second star.
Liles’ 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) ties him for the NHL scoring lead among defensemen with Red Wings captain Nick Lidstrom.