Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/09/07 at 01:08 PM ET
NEW YORK (April 9, 2007) – New York Islanders’ goaltender Wade Dubielewicz, Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic and Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending April 8.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR – WADE DUBIELEWICZ, G, NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Dubielewicz backstopped the Islanders to four consecutive victories and the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. He made 36 saves through overtime and three in the shootout as the Islanders defeated the New York Rangers 3-2, April 3. On April 5, he made 28 saves in a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and stopped 28 of 30 shots in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, April 7. On April 8, he blocked 22 of 24 shots and then two of three in the shootout as the Islanders clinched a playoff position with a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils.
SECOND STAR—JOE SAKIC, C, COLORADO AVALANCHE
Sakic led all scorers with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in four games as the Avalanche (44-31-7, 95 points) finished one point behind eighth-place Calgary in the Western Conference playoff race. Sakic opened the week with one goal and three assists in a 4-3 victory over the Flames, April 3. He was held pointless in a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on April 5 and notched two assists in a 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators, April 7. On April 8, he closed the season out by recording one goal and two assists in a 6-3 victory over Calgary bringing his season totals to 100 points (36 goals, 64 assists) for the sixth time in his 18-year career. With 1,589 career points he is ninth on the all-time NHL points list, one behind Phil Esposito.
THIRD STAR – NIKLAS BACKSTROM, G, MINNESOTA WILD
Backstrom posted a 3-0-0 record, 0.33 goals-against average, .986 save percentage and two shutouts as the Wild (48-26-8, 104 points) finished the regular season second in the Northwest Division and seventh in the Western Conference. On April 3, Backstrom made 25 saves as the Wild recorded a 3-0 shutout victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Two nights later he made 22 saves in recording his fifth shutout of the season as the Wild again defeated Edmonton 3-0. He finished the week by stopping 24 of 25 shots in a 5-1 decision over the St. Louis Blues, April 7. Signed as a free agent by Minnesota last June and making his NHL debut in 2006-07, the 29-year-old Helsinki, Finland native improved his season record to 23-8-6. He led all NHL goaltenders with a 1.97 goal-against average and a .929 save percentage.
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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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