NEW YORK (November 2, 2009) -- Colorado Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov have been named the NHL 'Three Stars' for October.
FIRST STAR -- CRAIG ANDERSON, G, COLORADO AVALANCHE Anderson started all 14 games for Colorado in October and backstopped the Avalanche to first place in the Western Conference by posting a 10-2-2 record. He tied the NHL record for goaltender victories in October set by Detroit's Manny Legace in 2005 and matched the Colorado/Quebec franchise record for a single month. Dan Bouchard had 10 wins in February 1981, followed by Peter Budaj in March 2007. Anderson also led the League in save percentage (.939) and ranked third in goals-against average (2.04). He gave his club an early confidence boost by stopping 73 of 75 shots and one shutout as Colorado opened the season with a pair of home victories over San Jose (5-2, Oct. 1) and Vancouver (3-0, Oct. 3) and made a season-high 48 saves in a 3-1 victory over Detroit Oct. 24.
SECOND STAR -- ALEX OVECHKIN, LW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS Ovechkin led the NHL in goals (14), points (23), shots (85) and tied for second place in plus-minus (+10) as the Capitals went 8-2-3 and opened a seven-point lead in the Southeast Division. Ovechkin matched Mario Lemieux’s NHL record for October with six two-goal games and his 14 goals matched the most he has scored in a calendar month (March, 2008). The reigning NHL MVP became the third player in NHL history to tally at least three points in each of his first three games of a season, joining Guy Lafleur with Montreal in 1975-76 and Peter Stastny with Quebec in 1982-83. Ovechkin had five goals and four assists in that span.
THIRD STAR -- ILYA BRYZGALOV, G, PHOENIX COYOTES Bryzgalov posted an 8-3-0 record with a 1.78 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and three shutouts, helping the Coyotes finish the month in second place in the Pacific Division with a 9-4-0 mark. He led all goaltenders in goals-against average and shutouts and ranked third in save percentage. Bryzgalov allowed two or fewer goals in eight of 11 starts, including road shutout victories over the Pittsburgh Penguins (24 saves, Oct. 7), San Jose Sharks (26 saves, Oct. 12) and St. Louis Blues (32 saves, Oct. 29). He concluded the month by stopping 32 of 34 shots and all three shootout attempts in a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks Oct. 31.