Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/26/07 at 04:55 PM ET
Backstrom, Savard and Richards Named NHL Three Stars Of The Week
FIRST STAR—NIKLAS BACKSTROM, G, MINNESOTA WILD
Backstrom posted a 3-0-0 record, 1.62 goals-against average and .933 save percentage as the Wild (35-23-5, 75 points) moved within two points of the Northwest Division-leading Vancouver Canucks. Making his ninth consecutive appearance in February after starting goaltender Manny Fernandez suffered a sprained knee Jan. 30, Backstrom made 23 saves as the Wild recorded a 2-1 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars Feb. 20. He made 28 saves in a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Feb. 22 and finished the week by stopping 19 of 20 shots in a 4-1 decision over the Edmonton Oilers Feb. 25. 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 13-7-4 and ranks third among NHL goaltenders in goal-against average (2.23) and save percentage (.923).
SECOND STAR—MARC SAVARD, C, BOSTON BRUINS
Savard tied for the League lead with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in four games. He recorded one goal and two assists in a 6-3 victory over Philadelphia Feb. 19, posted one assist in a 3-0 victory at Toronto Feb. 20, tallied three assists in a 6-2 victory at Tampa Bay Feb. 23 and registered one goal and one assist in a 7-2 loss at Florida Feb. 24. Savard leads the Bruins and ranks fourth overall in League scoring with 82 points (21 goals, 61 assists) in 61 games.
THIRD STAR—BRAD RICHARDS, C, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Richards tied for the League lead with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in four games as the Lightning (36-25-3, 75 points) went 3-1-0 for the week. Richards recorded one assist in a 3-2 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers Feb. 20, tallied a goal and two assists in a 5-4 overtime victory at Atlanta Feb. 22, earned an assist in a 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins Feb. 23 and tallied a goal and three assists in a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 25. Richards ranks third among Lightning scorers this season with 60 points (22 goals, 38 assists) in 64 games.
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