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Stars align for Halak

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
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MONTREAL - It came as no surprise on Monday to discover that Halak's recent performances didn't go unnoticed by the NHL.

First star, Jaroslav Halak -- After going 3-0 and posting a 1.97 goals-against average the Slovak netminder was an obvious selection. Halak has certainly been busy of late, with the Habs' goalie being bombarded with 146 shots last week while still managing to post a staggering .959 save percentage.

Halak has lowered his goals-against average to 2.53 and improved his save percentage to .926 while posting a 10-5-0 record on a team that is 19-18-3 overall. He's making it increasingly difficult for Montreal coach Jacques Martin to keep him on the bench Now a virtual shoe-in to also protect the crease of homeland of Slovakia at the upcoming Olympics, Halak will look to continue his unbelievable run in Ottawa on Monday night.

Second star, Patrick Kane -- The Chicago Blackhawks enter the week on top of the overall NHL standings, and Kane is a major reason why. He scored goals in each of Chicago's four games and went 5-3-8 last week, capping the outburst by scoring the game-winning goal with just 44 seconds remaining to give the Hawks a 5-4 victory over Nashville Sunday night. Kane has climbed into the top 10 in the scoring race with 42 points.

Third star, Roberto Luongo
-- Thanks to the sharp play of Luongo, the Vancouver Canucks have faulted into a playoff position in the densely packed Western Conference. Luongo has allowed just three goals in his last three games, all wins, to carry the Canucks. He got the win in a 4-1 decision over the Nashville Predators on Dec. 22, took another win by an identical score against the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 26 and then allowed only a single goal in a 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames Sunday. For the season, Luongo is 19-12-2 with a 2.28 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

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