GLENDALE -- Darcy Kuemper provided elite goaltending for the Coyotes during the team's most critical stretch of the season last week, and the NHL noticed. The League on Monday named Kuemper its Third Star of the Week for the seven-day period that ended March 31.
Kuemper stopped 95 of 97 shots last week to help the Coyotes earn two wins and five of a possible six points in games vs. Chicago, Colorado and Minnesota, as all four teams jockeyed for position in the Western Conference standings.
"The team's playing great in front of me," Kuemper said after Sunday's 4-0 win over the Wild. "I'm just trying to contribute as well."
Kuemper started his remarkable week with a 31-save shutout of the Blackhawks on Tuesday at Gila River Arena. On Friday, he stopped of 25 of 27 shots in a shootout loss at Colorado, allwoing just two power-play goals. Kuemper then capped his week with a 39-save shutout of Minnesota on Sunday afternoon on home ice.
Video: MIN@ARI: Kuemper stops 39 for fifth shutout of season
"The confidence in him right now is unbelievable," forward Josh Archibald said. "He's the backbone of our team right now. He's made timely saves, he's made huge saves ... He's been a tremendous team guy for us. We can't thank him enough for everything he's done for us so far."
Kuemper has started 20 games in a row and has not allowed an even-strength goal in his last 188:14 of ice time dating to the team's game at the New York Islanders on March 24.
"I don't see fatigue," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said of Kuemper's workload. "I obviously don't want to see fatigue. I don't even ask him if he's playing, he knows he's playing. He's carrying the torch for us. He's doing a good job managing his rest. That's the key. The trainers are doing a great job making sure he's got his recovery. A lot of people are helping him to recover, which is big for us. This is something that's tested his mental aspect as a goalie, not to mention the physical aspect, and he's passing it great. He's keeping us alive."
Kuemper, who took over as the team's starting goalie after Antti Raanta suffered a lower-body injury in late November, already has set career-highs in games played (53), wins (26), and shutouts (five). He ranks first among NHL goalies who've played at least 50 games in goals-against average (2.34) and second in save percentage (.924).