February 23, 2009
No. 1 star, Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose Sharks:
After the Sharks returned from a recent 1-1-3 road trip, the team wanted to get back to their stingy ways. A three-game winning streak at home pointed them in the right direction for a four-game trip, and that started off on the right foot Monday night when Evgeni Nabokov made sure it was defense first again for the best team in the NHL. Nabokov stopped 29 shots for his fifth shutout of the season and the 45th of his career. He had to wait a while for that one goal of support, but when it came in the third period it meant Nabokov was headed for a seventh straight regular-season victory in Dallas.
No. 2 star, Devin Setoguchi, San Jose Sharks:
Monday's game was starting to look like a replay of Game 6 of a second-round series between the same two teams last spring – a series decider that was not only scoreless through three periods but wasn't decided until 9:03 of the fourth overtime in favor of the Stars. Devin Setoguchi made sure the Sharks would not come up empty again, scoring 7:55 into the third period to break a scoreless tie and provide all the offense the visitors would need. A strong individual effort that included a burst of speed, strength to get a shooting angle on a defender and the skill to wrist a shot in close, Setoguchi contributed three hits during 14:08 of skating on San Jose's top line.
No. 3 star, Marty Turco, Dallas Stars:
No Sergei Zubov, no Brenden Morrow, no Mike Modano and no Brad Richards. Marty Turco felt as if he needed to step up his game, and he has consistently since an atrocious start to the season. Turco kept the visitors at bay as long as he could, surrendering only one goal on 24 shots faced.
Honorable mention: Sharks coach Todd McLellan saw his starting lines weren't getting enough done and made some changes on the fly that helped provide a third-period spark. … Mike Ribeiro logged a forward-leading 23:13 of ice time and won 10 of 20 draws for Dallas. … Linesman Brad Lazarowich skated his 1,500th career game. … The Sharks are the first team to crack the 90-point barrier this season.
Did you know?: The 25 goals by San Jose's Setoguchi are most by a second-year player in the league.
Dishonorable mention: Rangers' fans are passionate and knowledgeable, but they could have shown more class than to vocally call for Tom Renney's firing the last couple of home games. Anyone remember where the Rangers were before Renney took over? … The Stars are 0-4 and have been outscored 12-4 in their season series against the Pacific Division-rival Sharks.