MILLER, KOVALCHUK, NIEDERMAYER NAMED NHL THREE STARS OF THE MONTH
NEW YORK (Nov. 1, 2006) - Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, Atlanta Thrashers left wing Ilya Kovalchuk and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' of the month for October.
FIRST STAR - RYAN MILLER, G, BUFFALO SABRES
Miller posted an 8-0-1 record with a 2.36 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in nine appearances. He opened the season with a shootout victory over the defending Stanley Cup-champion Carolina Hurricanes and went on to post victories over Montreal twice, Detroit, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, New York Islanders and Carolina again before a shootout loss to Atlanta Oct. 28. The Sabres (10-0-1) tied an NHL record by winning their first 10 games of the season, matching the mark set by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs, and have yet to lose a game in regulation time.
SECOND STAR - ILYA KOVALCHUK, LW, ATLANTA THRASHERS
Kovalchuk tied for second among NHL scorers with 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) and recorded a League-leading 67 shots. Kovalchuk has an active eight-game point streak (9-6-15), equaling his career high, and has tallied goals in six consecutive contests, one shy of matching the team record and career high he set from Jan. 1-13, 2006. The Thrashers (8-2-3) are off the best start in franchise history and hold a seven-point lead over Washington, Carolina and Florida in the Southeast Division.
THIRD STAR - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER, D, ANAHEIM DUCKS
Niedermayer led the Ducks in scoring with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 12 games, putting him on pace for a 75-point campaign (he had a career-high 63 points last season). In addition, Niedermayer led the club in average ice time per game (27:39), logging over 30 minutes on three occasions, and shared the club lead in plus-minus (+6). The Ducks (9-0-3) earned points in each of their first 12 games, becoming the first NHL team to accomplish the feat since the 1996-97 Florida Panthers (8-0-4), and join the Sabres as the only NHL clubs without a loss in regulation time this season.
Also considered for Three Star selection were Minnesota Wild goaltender Manny Fernandez (8-2-0, 1.80 goals-against average, .942 save percentage), New York Rangers right wing Jaromir Jagr (3-15-18 in 11 games), Atlanta Thrashers right wing Marian Hossa (10-7-17 in 13 games) and Buffalo Sabres right wing Maxim Afinogenov (6-11-17 in 11 games).