Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/01/11 at 03:11 PM ET
NEW YORK (March 1, 2011)—Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, San Jose Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi and New Jersey Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ for the month of February.
FIRST STAR—JONATHAN TOEWS, C, CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Toews led all scorers in February with 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) and posted a +13 rating as the Blackhawks (34-23-6) collected points in 10 of 13 games (8-3-2) and climbed to fifth place in the Western Conference. Toews tallied eight multiple-point games, beginning with a goal and two assists in a 7-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets Feb. 1. Three of his six goals were game-winners, Feb.1 (at Columbus), Feb. 21 (at St. Louis) and Feb. 28 (at Minnesota), and he closed the month on a season-high five-game point streak. Toews notched his 20th goal of the season in the victory at St. Louis, becoming just the fourth player in Blackhawks history to record 20-or-more goals in each of his first four NHL seasons. The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner ranks 11th in NHL scoring with 61 points (23 goals, 38 assists) in 61 games and is sixth among NHL centers in face-off winning percentage (57.4%).
SECOND STAR—ANTTI NIEMI, G, SAN JOSE SHARKS
Niemi posted a 10-2-0 record with a 1.89 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and three shutouts in 13 appearances, helping the Sharks (36-21-6) reclaim first place in the Pacific Division and third place overall in the Western Conference. He allowed two or fewer goals in eight of 13 games, including consecutive road shutouts at the Boston Bruins Feb. 5 and the Washington Capitals Feb. 8. Niemi improved his season record to 23-15-3 with a 2.44 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and five shutouts in 42 appearances. The 27-year-old Vantaa, Finland native is 16-2-1 in his past 19 decisions since Jan.15.
THIRD STAR—JOHAN HEDBERG, G, NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Hedberg went 7-1-1 record with a 1.43 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and two shutouts in 10 games, helping the surging Devils (27-31-4) gain 23 of a possible 26 points for the month (11-1-1). Hedberg won each of his first seven starts after Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur suffered a knee sprain Feb. 6 at Montreal, including shutouts Feb. 18 against the New York Rangers and Feb. 22 at the Dallas Stars, and allowed one or fewer goals in six of 10 appearances overall. The 37 year-old Leksand, Sweden native improved his season record to 13-11-2 with a 2.34 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and three shutouts.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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