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Flyers' Bryzgalov earns First Star for March

by Adam Kimelman

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov missed the team's final two games of the month, but what he did when he was healthy earned him recognition as the NHL's First Star for the month of March.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was named Second Star, and Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was named Third Star.

In 13 starts last month, Bryzgalov went 10-2-1 with a 1.43 goals-against average, .947 save percentage and four shutouts.

He started his month with seven straight wins, and shutouts in four of his first five games. His three straight shutouts from March 8-13 tied a club record, and he set the club mark for longest shutout streak with a run of 249:43.

He was named First Star of the Week for the first two weeks of the month, the first player this season to win the award in consecutive weeks.

Ilya Bryzgalov
Goalie - PHI
RECORD: 32-15-7
GAA: 2.46 | SVP: 0.910
Bryzgalov also had a run of 11 straight games allowing two goals or less. That run ended March 26 when he allowed four goals in a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, he was playing with what later was revealed to be a chip fracture in his right foot, suffered when he was hit in the foot in warm-ups that night. He sat out the Flyers' last two games of the month, but is expected to be back in net Tuesday when the Flyers host the New York Rangers.

Thanks to Bryzgalov's strong play, the Flyers won 11 games in March, the fifth time in team history they've been that productive in the last full month of the regular season.

Malkin finished March about as hot as he started. He had 11 goals and 12 assists in 15 games, and had points in each of the final five games of the month -- with four of them being two-point games.

He started the month running a point streak that started in February to eight games, and had a six-game streak in the middle of the month.

In 15 games, Malkin had at least a point in 13 of them, had eight multi-point games, and had his fourth five-point game of the season March 20 against Winnipeg.

Powered by Malkin, the Pens went 11-3-1 in the month to stay right on the tails of the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Miller was just as vital to his team staying in the playoff race. In 15 games, Miller went 10-3-2 with a 2.17 GAA, .930 save percentage and two shutouts.

He started his month by helping the Sabres complete a strong road trip to the West Coast. He followed that with wins in eight of his next 10 starts, while helping the Sabres pick up vital points in each game thanks to a pair of shootout losses.

Thanks to Miller's outstanding play, the Sabres went 10-4-2 in the month to enter the season's final week with a chance at a playoff berth.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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