Three Goalie Stars for November 8, 2010
With Tim Thomas’ resurgent reign of complete dominance finally slowing – for this week at least – InGoal Magazine had its closest vote of the season for the latest Three Goalie Stars selection.
And in the end it appears just as chicks once dug the long ball in baseball, goaltenders dig the shutout in hockey as new St. Louis Blues star Jaroslav Halak edged out Philadelphia’s Russian rookie Sergei Bobrovsky to take stop spot despite playing – and winning – one fewer game between Halloween and Nov. 7.
Of course that doesn’t explain how Mathieu Garon’s two shutouts were overlooked, even if he did lose his final start of the week (maybe goalies are really just all perfectionists?). And perhaps even more surprising was Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom finishing behind both Halak and Bobrovsky despite stopping more shots while posting an otherwise identical week to Halak with two wins and a shutout.
We’ll leave it for the voters to explain and you to figure out – and be sure to read all the way through to see who leads the overall standings through the first four weeks of the regular season.
First Star: Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues: After posting two shutouts last week to lock up the Third Star selection, Halak locked it down with a 25-save shutout of the offensively gifted San Jose Sharks to start this week, and then ran his shutout streak to 150:03 while stopping 33 of 34 and in a tight game against Boston, before adding two more saves (both off the post) in the shootout for a 2-1 win over the streaking Bruins.
Second Star: Sergei Bobrovsky, Philadelphia Flyers: The only goalie to post three wins last week, the fleet-footed Russian rookie is tied for the league lead with 8 wins after another solid week with Flyers No.1 Michael Leighton still out after back surgery. The 22-year-old stopped 26 of 28 in a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes, 20 of 21 in a 4-1 win over the rival New York Rangers, and 31 of 32 in a tighter-than-expected 2-1 win over the New York Islanders, finishing the week with a .950 save percentage.
Third Star: Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Wild: It’s a good thing Backstrom is used to being overlooked in Minnesota because the Finnish veteran deserves more attention that he’s received for his strong start to this season. With the trap-happy days of coach Jacques Lemaire long gone, Backstrom is proving he was more than just the product of a great defensive system. He stopped all 36 shots in a 1-0 win over fellow Finn Antero Niittymaki San Jose, and 33 of 34 in a 2-1 victory over another Finn, Miikka Kiprusoff, and the Calgary Flames. Backstrom is quietly 6-3-2 on the season after losing the first two games to Carolina in his native FInland, and has posted an impressive .941 save percentage and 1.80 goals-against average in 11 games.
We’ve been compiling the results and will continue to do so throughout the season so that we can award a season long top star. After four weeks the standings are:
1st star = 30 points, 2nd star = 20 points, 3rd star = 10 points
Full Results of this week’s fan voting: