NEW YORK – Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec, Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Oct. 12.
FIRST STAR – TOMAS PLEKANEC, C, MONTREAL CANADIENS
Plekanec tied for the League lead with four goals (4-1—5), helping the Canadiens pick up a trio of road wins to open the season with a 3-0-0 record for the first time since 2005-06. He began the season with two goals, including the game-winner with 42.9 seconds remaining in regulation, in a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Oct. 8. Plekanec then scored Montreal's lone regulation goal in a 2-1 shootout win over the Washington Capitals Oct. 9. He closed the week with 1-1—2 in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Oct. 11, marking his first three-game goal streak since Oct. 25-29, 2010 (3-1—4). The 31-year-old Kladno, Czech Republic, native is playing in his 10th full NHL season and has compiled 180 264—444 over 682 regular-season games.
SECOND STAR – DARCY KUEMPER, G, MINNESOTA WILD
Kuemper stopped all 46 shots he faced in helping the Wild become the fifth team since 1943-44 to begin a season with consecutive shutouts (a feat also accomplished last week by the San Jose Sharks). He recorded 16 saves in a 5-0 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche Oct. 9 and then completed the home-and-home sweep with 30 stops in a 3-0 win Oct. 11. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 24-year-old Saskatoon, Sask., native is the youngest goaltender in NHL history to post shutouts in each of his team's first two games of a season. A sixth-round pick (161st overall) by the Wild in the 2009 NHL Draft, Kuemper has a 15-10-4 record with a 2.22 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and four shutouts in 34 career regular-season appearances.
THIRD STAR – SIDNEY CROSBY, C, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Crosby shared the League lead with six points (3-3—6) and four power-play points (2 2—4) in lifting the Penguins to a pair of victories to open the season. He posted 2-1—3 in a 6-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks Oct. 9, marking his third consecutive home opener with a goal and stretching his career totals in home openers to 7-6—13 (9 GP). Crosby then added 1-2—3 in a 5-2 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs Oct. 11. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Penguins player to record at least three points in each of the team's first two games of a season since 1995-96, when Ron Francis, Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux each did so. The reigning Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner, Crosby has compiled 277-498—775 in 552 regular-season games since being selected first overall by the Penguins in the 2005 NHL Draft.