The Washington Times - December 12, 2011, 01:29PM

It’s no secret that John Carlson’s play has been much-improved since Dale Hunter took over as Washington Capitals coach. He was named the NHL’s third star of the week Monday after a goal and six assists in three games.

Carlson is seeing a lot of ice time lately, which he admitted was hard. But he likes that extra pressure.

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“It’s not easy. But it’s very exciting when you play that much,” said Carlson, who pointed to Mike Green’s injury as a reason. “For the time being, everyone else needs to step up and maybe play a little bit more than usual.”

Coach Dale Hunter has been leaning heavily Carlson and Wideman with Green out, though he said that wasn’t necessarily because they both played for him with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

“I think I watch the games. Any coach would be leaning on them more,” Hunter said. “They’re both good players and we’ve got some injuries. And so I think we’re leaning on the ‘D’ lots more.”

Calgary Flames forward Jarome Iginla was named first star; Minnesota Wild rookie goaltender Matt Hackett was named second star.