-- Buffalo Sabres
left wing Thomas Vanek
, Minnesota Wild
goaltender Niklas Backstrom
and Dallas Stars
rookie left wing Fabian Brunnstrom
have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending October 19.
FIRST STAR – THOMAS VANEK, LW, BUFFALO SABRES Vanek video
The 24-year-old Vanek picked up eight points (six goals, two assists), in a week that saw Buffalo post a 3-0-1 record. Vanek has nine points (7-2--9) in his first five games and is off to the best start of his four-year career, posting at least one goal in each of Buffalo's first five games. Included in Vanek's League-leading goal total last week were shorthanded goals in consecutive games (Oct. 13 at NYI, Oct. 15 at NYR), and a power-play goal in Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss in Atlanta. Vanek also has a League-best 32 shots in his five games.
SECOND STAR – NIKLAS BACKSTROM, G, MINNESOTA WILD Backstrom video
Backstrom posted a 3-0-0 record with a 1.30 goals-against average, .952 save percentage and one shutout as the Wild won three consecutive road games. Backstrom turned aside 80 of 84 shots for the week, beginning with a 24-save performance in a 4-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers
on Oct. 14. He stopped 24 shots in a 6-2 victory over the Florida Panthers
on Oct. 16 and finished off the week by posting a shutout in a 32-save performance against Tampa Bay on Oct. 18. He has four wins on the season.
THIRD STAR – FABIAN BRUNNSTROM, LW, DALLAS STARS Brunnstrom video
In his NHL debut on Oct.15, Brunnstrom scored a hat trick against the Nashville Predators
, including the game-winning goal, becoming just the third player in NHL history to score three times in his NHL debut -- Alex Smart
scored three times in his debut for Montreal in 1943, and Real Cloutier
matched the feat with Quebec in 1979. Brunnstrom rounded out the week with a power-play goal against Colorado on Saturday.