Saturday's 3 Stars: Anderson, Niemi post impressive shutouts

Sean Leahy

No. 1 star: Craig Anderson(notes), Colorado Avalanche

Don't look now, but the Colorado Avalanche are sitting atop the Western Conference. Sure, we're only two games in, but the Avs have already defeated two of top three seeds in the West from last season. On Saturday night, Anderson led the way with 35 saves and notching his eighth career shutout besting the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Through Colorado's first two games, Anderson has stopped 73 of 75 shots he's seen.

No. 2 star: Alexander Semin(notes), Washington Capitals

Highlighted by Alexander Ovechkin's(notes) goal 77 seconds into the game, the Washington Capitals hung on to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4 after leading by five goals heading into the third period. Piling on during the second period was Semin who scored twice (he also assisted on Ovechkin's goal) on four shots.

No. 3 star: Antti Niemi(notes), Chicago Blackhawks

Playing in front of his countrymen on Saturday, Niemi shutout the Florida Panthers 4-0 to end the two-game NHL Premiere series in Helsinki, Finland. In only his fourth NHL game, Niemi made 23 saves to help prove his case to be the permanent backup behind Blackhawks No. 1 goaltender Cristobal Huet(notes). Chicago will play in Detroit on Thursday before the Blackhawks home opening next Saturday night against Colorado.

Honorable mention: New York Rangers rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto(notes) scored his first NHL goal ... Vinny Prospal recorded his 600th NHL point with a goal in the second period of the Rangers 5-2 win over Ottawa ... Jacques Martin coached his 1100th NHL game ... The Bruins dedicated their television booth in the name of recently deceased broadcaster Fred Cusick ... Sidney Crosby(notes) opened the scoring in Pittsburgh's 4-3 victory against the New York Islanders. The Penguins captain would also score the game-winning goal in the shootout ... Islanders No. 1 overall pick John Tavares(notes) made his highly touted debut and scored a goal and an assist ...The Flyers have won two straight road games to open the season for the first time in their history ... Martin Brodeur(notes) played in his 1000th NHL game ... Earlier in the day Blue Jackets defenseman Rostislav Klesla(notes) inked a new four-year contract extension. He ended his night by scoring the game winning goal in Columbus' 2-1 win over Minnesota ... Chris Pronger(notes) and James van Riemsdyk(notes) were both plus-3 and notched two assists in the Flyers 5-2 win over New Jersey ... Benn Ferriero(notes) scored his first NHL goal in San Jose's 4-1 win over Anaheim ... Dan Ellis(notes) stopped 38 shots plus four in the shootout as the Nashville Predators defeated Dallas 3-2 ... James Neal's(notes) two power-play goals weren't enough for the Stars in defeat ... Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) and Rich Peverley(notes) both paced the Atlanta with 2 goals and an assist each during the Thrashers 6-3 win over Tampa Bay ... Radim Vrbata(notes) scored twice spoiling the home opener for the Los Angeles King ... Keith Tkachuk's(notes) pair of goals led the way as the St. Louis Blues swept the Detroit Red Wings in their NHL Premiere games in Stockholm, Sweden.

Did you know? With their 3-0 win over Vancouver, the Colorado Avalanche are now 2-0 for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

Dishonorable mention: Lightning rookie defenseman Victor Hedman(notes) was a minus-2 in his Tampa debut ... Mike Smith(notes) spotted Atlanta four goals before allowing two more in a 6-3 loss ... Vesa Toskala(notes) was pulled after allowing three first period goals to the Washington Capitals ... Cam Ward(notes) was pulled midway through the second period after allowing four goals ... Jimmy Howard(notes) did not help his cause to prove he's worthy of backing up Chris Osgood(notes) after giving up five goals on 32 shots against St. Louis. Howard has now allowed 26 goals in 10 career NHL games ... Rob Scuderi's(notes) debut with the Los Angeles Kings did not end well as he was minus-three in the team's 6-3 loss to Phoenix.