NEW YORK – Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, Detroit Red Wings right wing Gustav Nyquist and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Jan. 26.
FIRST STAR – KARI LEHTONEN, G, DALLAS STARS
Lehtonen went 3-1-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and two shutouts to help the Stars (24-20-8, 56 points) move within sixth points of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. He made 19 saves in a 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators Jan. 20 before picking up three consecutive victories, recording 18 stops in a 4-0 shutout of the Minnesota Wild Jan. 21, 24 saves in a 7-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Jan. 23 and 24 stops in a 3-0 shutout of the Pittsburgh Penguins Jan. 25. The 30-year-old Helsinki native has played in 43 games this season, compiling a 20-14-8 record with a 2.52 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and three shutouts. Lehtonen also now has 25 blank sheets in his NHL career, 11 of which have come in a Dallas uniform. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is just the third goaltender to reach double-figures in shutouts since the franchise relocated to Texas in 1993, joining Marty Turco (40) and Ed Belfour (27).
SECOND STAR – GUSTAV NYQUIST, RW, DETROIT RED WINGS
Nyquist recorded 4-2—6, scoring in all four games to help the Red Wings (23-18-11, 57 points) pick up five out of a possible eight points and move into the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He posted the team’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues Jan. 20. Nyquist then collected 1-1—2 in consecutive games: a 5-4 shootout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Jan. 22 and a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens Jan. 24. He closed the week by scoring his ninth goal of the season in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers Jan. 26. The 24-year-old Halmstad, Sweden, native has 9-8—17 in 27 games this season, including 4-3—7 and a +4 rating during a five-game point streak.
THIRD STAR – ANDREJ SEKERA, D, CAROLINA HURRICANES
Sekera posted 1-5—6 and a +8 rating to power the Hurricanes (23-19-9, 55 points) to three consecutive victories, moving them within one point of the No. 3 spot in the Metropolitan Division. He opened the week by earning the primary assist on Jiri Tlusty’s tiebreaking goal in a 3-2 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 22. Sekera then posted a career-high three points (1-2—3), including his first game-winning goal since March 6, 2009, in a 5-3 victory over his former team, the Buffalo Sabres, Jan. 23. He capped the week with his sixth two-assist performance of the season in a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators Jan. 25. The 27-year-old Bojnice, Slovakia, native has played in 49 games this season, leading all Hurricanes blueliners in goals (8), assists (22) and points (30).