NEW YORK ---Jaroslav Halak has been named the NHL's first star of the week.
Halak became the first Canadiens goaltender in four years to post shutouts on back-to-back days when he blanked the Flyers 1-0 in Philadelphia Friday, then came right back with a 3-0 home victory against Buffalo the next night. The two victories put the Canadiens alone in sixth place in the East, four points clear of the ninth-place New York Rangers, with one week left in the season. The two victories also helped earn Halak First Star honors from the NHL Monday.
The back-to-back shutouts, in which he stopped all 64 shots he faced, are a continuation of his superb play since the Olympic break -- he's 9-2-1 in 12 starts, allowing just 20 goals in that span. Halak has lowered his goals-against average from 2.56 at the break to 2.31 while carrying the Canadiens within sight of clinching another playoff berth. Second Star, Saku Koivu
-- Koivu is singlehandedly keeping the Ducks' flickering playoff hopes alive. He had a goal and 3 assists in a win against eighth-place Colorado, scored a sixth-attacker goal against Vancouver that earned the Ducks a point, then got another one Saturday against Los Angeles -- and this time, he scored the deciding goal to give the Ducks a shootout win. He scored on half of his eight shots on goal last week, set up four other goals for an 8-point week, and was plus-5.Third Star, Tuukka Rask
-- If the Boston Bruins could score just a few more goals, Rask's performance in goal would have long since assured them a playoff berth. Rask allowed just two goals in three games last week, including a 1-0 overtime shutout at New Jersey in which he out-dueled Martin Brodeur.See also:The playoff raceHabs this week – April 5, 2010 Vote for the play of the week - April 5 HALAK-NOPHOBIA Canadiens blank Sabres