Tuesday’s Three Stars: Lehtonen stays hot; another Bryzgalov shutout

Sean Leahy
March 14, 2012

No. 1 Star: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars

The Stars extended their Pacific Division lead over the Phoenix Coyotes to four points with a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wild. Jamie Benn's 21st of the year was the only goal and Lehtonen stopped 25 shots for his second straight shutout. According to Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas, in his last nine games Lehtonen is 8-0-1 with a 1.29 goals-against average and .955-save percentage. As part of that run, the Stars are 10-0-1 in their last 11 games.

No. 2 Star: Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers

There is no netminder in the NHL hotter than Bryz. With 17 saves, Bryzgalov recorded his third consecutive shutout and fourth in five games as the Flyers blanked the New Jersey Devils 3-0. Danny Briere scored for the first time since recording a hat trick on Jan. 7 as Philadelphia won for the sixth time in seven games. Per the AP, the three straight shutouts tie a Flyers team record set by John Vanbiesbrouck in 1999.

No. 3 Star: Brad Richards, New York Rangers

The Rangers swept their four-game season series against the Carolina Hurricanes thanks to two second period goals from Richards (who also added an assist) in their 4-2 win. Marty Biron, filling in for a sick Henrik Lundqvist, made 27 saves, while Carl Hagelin and Marian Gaborik each recorded three points. Richards has now five goals and 13 points in 10 games, while Hagelin has four goals and six assists in his last 10 games and Gaborik has recorded 14 points over his last 11 games.

Honorable mention: Steven Stamkos scored goals No. 49 and 50 as the Tampa Bay Lightning put the hurt on the Boston Bruins 6-1. Rookie netminder Dustin Tokarski made 33 saves ... Behind Sean Bergenheim's two goals and Jose Theodore's 26 saves the Florida Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 to keep their lead in the Southeast Division over the Washington Capitals. Tomas Kopecky, Marcel Goc and Jason Garrison each chipped in a goal and an assist ... Speaking of the Capitals, they earned two points with a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the New York Islanders. Down 4-1 in the second period, Alex Ovechkin scored twice to help tie the game and Matt Hendricks beat Evgeni Nabokov with this nifty goal in the shootout to seal things:

John Tavares set career highs in goals and points with a 2-goal, 3-point night. Travis Hamonic also recorded three points in the loss. Matt Moulson reached the 30-goal mark for the third straight season with this incredibly wacky bank shot in the first period:

Down 3-1 after the first period, the Chicago Blackhawks scored in the second and third to force overtime and the shootout where Patrick Kane put home the only tally for a 4-3 comeback victory. Corey Crawford relieved Ray Emery after the first period and stopped all 18 shots he faced in regulation and overtime as well as three St. Louis shootout attempts ... Matt Stajan's goal 4:20 into overtime gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks for their fourth straight victory. Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves, Jarome Iginla chipped in two points and rookie Sven Baertschi netted his second career goal in the win. Iginla's goal helped him reach the 30-goal mark for the 11th straight season ... Jeff Carter, Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar each scored a goal and added an assist as the Los Angeles Kings downed the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Jonathan Quick made 22 saves and Dustin Brown extended his points streak to nine games with a pair of helpers.

Did you know? "Moulson has scored 30 goals in three consecutive seasons, the first time an Islanders player has done that since Ziggy Palffy (1996-98)." (AP)

Dishonorable mention: Marty Turco allowed three goals in the first 4:31 of the game before being pulled. He returned for the third period and allowed a fourth goal ... The Blues fell to 0-3-3 in their last six games at United Center and lost for the first time this season when scoring three or more goals (36-0-1).