NEW YORK – Calgary Flames center Jiri Hudler, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov and New York Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 8.
FIRST STAR – JIRI HUDLER, C, CALGARY FLAMES
Hudler paced the NHL with eight points and shared the League lead with four goals to help the Flames (36-25-5, 77 points) earn seven out of a possible eight standings points. He opened the week with 1-1—2, including the winning goal at 1:23 of overtime, in a 3-2 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers March 3. Hudler followed that performance with 1-1—2 in a 4-3 shootout win over the Boston Bruins March 5. He then recorded 2-0—2, including the game-winning goal, in a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings March 6. Hudler closed the week with a pair of assists in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators March 8. The 31-year-old Olomouc, Czech Republic, native has posted multiple points in four consecutive games for the first time in his career. He leads the Flames with 23-33—56 in 63 outings this season, including four game-winning goals (tied for second on the team).
SECOND STAR – SEMYON VARLAMOV, G, COLORADO AVALANCHE
Varlamov went 3-0-0 with a 0.69 goals-against average, .981 save percentage and one shutout to lead the Avalanche (30-25-11, 71 points) to three straight wins. He made 28 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins March 4. Varlamov then stopped all 44 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets March 7 to record his 18th career shutout and fifth of the season, including three that have featured at least 40 saves (also Oct. 30 vs. NYI: 40 SV and Jan. 6 at CHI: 54 SV). He capped his performance with 29 saves in a 3-2 triumph over the Minnesota Wild March 8, extending his shutout streak to 124:19 – just 5:04 shy of his career high set March 1-6, 2012 (129:23). The 26-year-old Samara, Russia, native has appeared in 46 games this season (including 22 consecutive starts), compiling a 22-17-7 record with a 2.56 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.
THIRD STAR – CAM TALBOT, G, NEW YORK RANGERS
Talbot posted a 2-0-1 record with a 0.99 goals-against average, .965 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Rangers (40-17-7, 87 points) to five out of a possible six standings points. He denied 25 shots in a 4-1 triumph over the Nashville Predators March 2. Talbot then made 29 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings March 4. He capped the week by stopping all 29 shots he faced in a 1-0 overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks March 8, becoming the first Rangers goaltender to post a shutout in Chicago since Dec. 25, 1966 (Ed Giacomin). The 27-year-old Caledonia, Ont., native has appeared in 26 games this season, going 14-6-4 with a 2.33 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and five shutouts. That includes points in 12 of his last 13 decisions (9-1-3) as well as a 5-1-1 mark in his last seven appearances (1.69 GAA, .943 SV%, 2 SO).