Dallas Stars: Craig Anderson
"It's a nice honor," Benn said after Monday's practice. "I had a good week and the biggest part is we got three out four wins."
Here's the press release from the NHL:
Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn, Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Joffrey Lupul and Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Jan. 8.
FIRST STAR -- JAMIE BENN, LW, DALLAS STARS
Benn sparked the Dallas offense with seven points (four goals, three assists), tallying multiple points in each of his appearances, as the Stars (23-16-1) won two of three starts. He notched a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings Jan. 3, tallied one goal and one assist in a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators Jan. 5 and scored two goals, including his fourth game-winner of the season, in a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 7. Playing in his third NHL season, Benn has recorded points in 10 of his past 11 games and leads the Stars in scoring with 13-28--41 in 40 contests. The 22-year old Victoria, B.C. native has matched the output of his rookie season two years ago and his 82-point pace would shatter his career high of 56, set last season.
SECOND STAR -- JOFFREY LUPUL, RW, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Lupul notched seven points last week (two goals, five assists), helping the Maple Leafs (21-15-5) post three consecutive victories. Lupul began the week with one goal and three assists, including the 300th point of his NHL career, in a 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Jan. 3. He became the fifth player from the 2002 NHL Draft class to reach the 300-point milestone, joining Rick Nash, Alex Semin, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Jarret Stoll. Lupul went on to record one assist in a 4-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets Jan. 5 and tally the game-winning goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings Jan. 7. Lupul increased his season points total to 47 (19 goals, 28 assists), ranking second on the Maple Leafs behind Phil Kessel and fourth in the NHL overall.
THIRD STAR -- CRAIG ANDERSON, G, OTTAWA SENATORS
Anderson posted a 3-0-1 record, 2.41 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in four appearances last week as the Senators (22-15-6) climbed to fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Anderson started the week by making 27 saves and tallying his fourth assist of the season -- tops among NHL goaltenders -- in a 3-2 overtime victory over the New Jersey Devils Jan. 2. He turned aside 35 of 36 shots in a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Jan. 5, stopped 36 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 7 and blocked 33 more in a 6-4 win over Philadelphia Jan. 8. Anderson improved his season record to 20-12-4 with a 3.13 goals-against average and .902 save percentage. He leads all NHL goaltenders in games (38), shots faced (1,120) and saves (1,010).
No. 1 goalie Craig Anderson, who missed 10 games with a knee injury, returned last night against the New York Rangers and played extremely well.
Budaj played well while Anderson was out, posting a 6-3-1 record, including a 31-save performance in Colorado's 5-0 win over the Stars in Denver two weeks ago. For the season Budaj is 7-3-1 with a 2.72 goals against average and .909 save percentage.
Are the Stars' playoff hopes officially extinguished? Last week, GM Joe Nieuwendyk said the team needed to win five of six on the homestand to have a realistic chance, and that's impossible now after losses to LA and Colorado. But coach Marc Crawford isn't ready to give up on his team's playoff chances.
"They're not over, not at all," Crawford said. "You just have to win the next game. You get two points, and you keep going. You don't try to win four (games); you try to win one."
Next up: First place San Jose on Tuesday night at 7:30 at the AAC.
Some other notes:
*The Stars marveled at the play of Colorado goalie Craig Anderson after he stopped 48 of 51 shots to steal the victory. Anderson was particularly good in the final two minutes, when the Stars had essentially a two-man advantage with a power play and a pulled goalie. "Their goalie was unbelievable," James Neal said. "We had traffic in front, we had shots coming in from everywhere. He stopped everything."
*The Stars are now 1-5-1 since the Olympic break. They've given up five or more goals in five of those seven games. The defense has been worse than the goaltending in most of those games, but goaltending was the culprit Sunday. Turco only stopped 14 of 18 shots, and Lehtonen stopped three of four.
*One big reason for the Stars' defensive struggles is poor penalty killing. Colorado scored on two of three power plays. Since the break, the Stars have killed only 16 of 23 penalties (.696).
*Crawford singled out Mike Ribeiro and Stephane Robidas for their stellar play Sunday. Ribeiro was 17 of 25 on faceoffs (68 percent) and Robidas dished out five hits and had a blocked shot.
Jamie Benn was best player on the ice in the first period. He showed some excellent stickhandling on one shift, carrying the puck through multiple Avs defenders before finally taking a shot that was kicked away by Anderson. Shortly thereafter, Benn scored the Stars' lone goal.
There were no power plays in the first period. The only penalties were five-minute fighting penalties to Steve Ott and Matt Hendricks.
It's a good sign for the Stars that they got 14 first-period shots despite no power-play opportunities. Colorado's defense is its weakness, and the Stars need to take advantage by firing lots of shots and getting traffic in front. So far, so good.
*Stars announcer Daryl Reaugh is covering the game from between the benches, like Pierre McGuire does for Versus and NBC. That's an interesting idea to spice up the radio broadcast for this non-televised game.
*The Avs' TV broadcast flashed a graphic showing that goalie Craig Anderson is tied for second place in franchise history with seven shutouts this season. First on the list is Patrick Roy with nine, and Roy is also tied for second with seven. Any time you can get your name on a list with Patrick Roy you're doing OK.
*Marty Turco is back in goal for the Stars, as expected. He played well Friday night and the Stars are going to keep playing to win until they're mathematically eliminated.
*The Avs will counter with Craig Anderson, who has started 22 in a row. Anderson is tied for the NHL lead with seven shutouts, including one Thursday night against Florida.
*The Stars have dropped to 11th in the West with 71 points. St. Louis passed Dallas for 10th with a win Saturday over Columbus. Detroit moved into eighth place with a 3-2 overtime over Buffalo on Saturday. With 78 points, Detroit is seven points of Dallas.
*There is no TV for today's Stars-Avs game, ending a streak of 1,101 locally televised games. You can listen to the game on the radio on KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket or follow it here on the blog. If you have Center Ice, you can watch the Avs' broadcast of the game.
Q: Give us a quick scouting report on the Panthers. They are near the bottom of the standings. Why are they struggling?
A: The problems associated with their slow start appear to be coming from several different areas: While adequate during a few games, the goaltending has been subpar. The presumed "stars" of the club (Steven Weiss, Nathan Horton, and David Booth - now out with a concussion) have not produced even close to their potential. And has the group tuned out coach Peter DeBoer, or have his strategies simply been ineffective?
Q: Steven Reinprecht appears to have started the season well, leading the team in goals and points. What makes him such a good player?
A: After a mere 10 games in a Panthers uniform, we're all still getting to know him. He was brought in as a second-line center; perhaps he's out to prove otherwise. In any case, he's been the most solid and adaptable player on the roster. A few more like him and fortunes could change quickly.
Q: Talk about the Panthers' lines. What can Stars fans expect to see from the top line? Which line has played the best lately?
A: Since last weekend -- when LW Booth and RW Radek Dvorak suffered injuries -- the lines have been experimental. In the one game since last Saturday in Philadelphia, Coach Pete has played mix-and-match, completely out of necessity (though one could argue few combinations were working effectively anyway prior to that). C Dominic Moore -- also battered with a broken nose in that infamous Flyers match one week ago -- will be undergoing nasal surgery, forcing the callup of Jeff Taffe from Rochester. Also up from the Amerks', Kendall McArdle and Michal Repik, who arrived several days ago and had a strong debut against Ottawa. Plug them in wherever you choose. Which line has played the best? That's up for debate, since none have found their groove yet, and with players transitioning in-and-out so frequently, it's not really a valid question at this point. Easy answer: they've all been lousy.
Q: Florida is near the bottom of the league in special teams. What has been the big issue on the penalty kill and power play?
A: Same as with the regular lines: they all appear snake-bitten. The strategies haven't looked all that solid, either, meaning the offense can't keep possession on the PP and the defense cannot force turnovers on the PK. None of the combinations have looked comfortable. Rookie Dmitry Kulikov, however, has been a bright spot, with four assists (all on the power play).
Q: Will the Stars see Tomas Vokoun in nets? Talk about his season so far.
A: As I write this, Florida's goaltender for this evening has not been publicly announced, but with another game on Saturday (St. Louis), Vokoun will certainly see a start at some point over the next 36 hours. He hasn't been "bad", just inconsistent. And when facing the insane number of shots which the Panthers seem organizationally obligated to allow, not many other netminders in this league could handle the weight of it. Craig Anderson was one. Roberto Luongo was another. Scott Clemmensen - the Cats' current "backup" - carried the torch for New Jersey during a healthy portion of last season, albeit facing a far less shot average each night. Bottom line: the lousy start can't be hung entirely at Vokoun's door.
Q: Are there any injuries to report?
A: Where to begin? As noted above, Booth is out at least a week -- though probably more -- with concussion symptoms. Dvorak is nursing a minor ligament tear in his knee. Moore's getting his nose reconstructed, and Nick Tarnasky has been out since the exhibition season with a broken orbital bone suffered in a fight. Oh, and D Bryan Allen is playing staggered games in an effort to ween him back into full-time duty after sitting out primarily all of last year following surgery. Other than that - and D/F Ville Koistinen not knowing what his role will be from night-to-night, everything's awesome.
Q: What Florida players should Stars fans keep an eye on tonight?
A: Reinprecht, for his recent dynamic play demands it. Kulikov is another: and keep in mind he turned 19 yesterday. Michal Repik is gaining a reputation (in the AHL) for highlight-reel moves, and he's just plain fun to watch. Michael Frolik is always dangerous.
Q: Anything else about the Panthers that Stars fans should know?
A: Each year Florida struggles to find that all-important "identity"; the search goes on. In light of recent injuries, this is not too surprising, but the rot began earlier than one week ago. A blown-lead 4-3 home loss to Ottawa on Wednesday evidently has much of the club hopeful about the future for some reason; whether that translates into success this weekend is anyone's guess. Your classic enigma.