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Backes Named NHL First Star of the Week

by Staff Writer / St. Louis Blues

NEW YORK – St. Louis Blues center David Backes, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov and Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Jan. 11.

FIRST STAR – DAVID BACKES, C, ST. LOUIS BLUES
Backes led the NHL with five goals and eight points in three games, posting three consecutive multi-point performances to power the Blues (26-13-3, 55 points) to a trio of victories. He opened the week by scoring four straight goals in a 6-0 triumph over the Arizona Coyotes Jan. 6. It marked Backes’ second career four-goal game and first in nearly six years (also April 2, 2009 at DET). Backes also became the first player to register four consecutive goals in one game – for any team – since Nov. 11, 2005 (Ilya Kovalchuk) and just the second player in Blues history to accomplish that feat (Red Berenson: Nov. 7, 1968). Backes followed that performance with two more multi-point games: 1-1—2 in a 7-2 win over the San Jose Sharks Jan. 8 and 0-2—2 in a 5-4 shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Jan. 10. The 30-year-old Minneapolis, Minn., native ranks sixth on the Blues with 14-13—27 in 41 appearances this season, including 7-7—14 in his past 12 outings.

SECOND STAR – SEMYON VARLAMOV, G, COLORADO AVALANCHE
Varlamov went 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average, .962 save percentage and one shutout to lead the Avalanche (18-16-8, 44 points) to three consecutive wins. He stopped all 54 shots he faced to earn his 16th career shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Jan. 6. With that performance, Varlamov set an NHL record for saves in a regular-season road shutout as well as a franchise record for saves in a regular-season shutout. Varlamov made 36 saves in his next start, a 5-2 triumph over the Ottawa Senators Jan. 8. He followed that with 37 stops – his 12th 30-plus save performance of the season – in a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars Jan. 10. The 26-year-old Samara, Russia, native owns a 10-8-5 record with a 2.77 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and three shutouts in 23 appearances this season, including a 6 2-0 mark since returning from injury Dec. 23.

THIRD STAR – JONATHAN HUBERDEAU, LW, FLORIDA PANTHERS
Huberdeau shared second in the NHL with five points (3-2—5) in three outings to help the Panthers (20-11-9, 49 points) complete a perfect three-game trip through Western Canada and move within one point of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He opened the week by notching 2-1—3, including the primary assist on Aleksander Barkov’s tiebreaking goal, in a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Jan. 8. It marked Huberdeau’s fourth career performance of three or more points and first since April 27, 2013 (0-3—3). Huberdeau rounded out the week with 1-1—2 in a 6-5 win over the Calgary Flames Jan. 9 before being held off the scoresheet in a 4-2 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 11. The 21-year-old Saint-Jerome, Que., native and 2012-13 Calder Trophy winner ranks fourth on the Panthers with 7-15—22 in 37 contests this season.

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