NEW YORK (Mar. 5, 2007) - Atlanta Thrashers goaltender Kari Lehtonen, Florida Panthers center Olli Jokinen and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Mar. 4.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League's top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR - KARI LEHTONEN, G, ATLANTA THRASHERS
Lehtonen posted a 3-0-0 record, 1.67 goals-against average and .940 save percentage as the Thrashers (34-23-10, 78 points) moved into a tie for first place in the Southeast Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lehtonen made 22 saves as the Thrashers recorded a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins, Feb. 26. He made 21 saves in a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators, March 2 and finished the week by stopping 35 of 36 shots in a 3-1 decision over the Carolina Hurricanes, March 4. The 23-year-old Helsinki, Finland native improved his season record to 28-19-8 with a 2.84 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and four shutouts.
SECOND STAR - OLLI JOKINEN, C, FLORIDA PANTHERS
Jokinen tied for the League lead with five goals and added one assist in three games. He opened the week with three goals in a 6-5 overtime win over the Washington Capitals on Feb. 27. On March 1, he tallied one goal and one assist in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars and registered one goal in a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, March 3. Jokinen leads the Panthers and ranks tied for 19th in overall in League scoring with 67 points (30 goals, 37 assists) in 66 games. Florida (27-26-13, 67 points) has moved to within five points of the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference
THIRD STAR - PETER BUDAJ, G, COLORADO AVALANCHE
Budaj posted a 3-0-0 record, 1.97 goals-against average and .926 save percentage as the Avalanche improved to an overall record of 32-29-5 for 69 points, ninth in the Western Conference playoff race. Budaj, 24 a native of Banska Bystrica, Slovakia made 21 saves as Colorado recorded a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, Feb. 27. He made 23 saves in a 6-1 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks, March 1 and finished the week by stopping 31 of 34 shots in a 4-3 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings, March 4. In 43 appearances this season, Budaj has posted a record of 21-15-4, 2.81 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and two shutouts.