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Toskala Is The NHL's Defensive Player Of The Week

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
San Jose goaltender Vesa Toskala, who led the Sharks to three victories with a 1.66 goals-against average, .946 save percentage and one shutout, is the League’s Defensive Player of the Week. Fellow goaltenders Cristobal Huet of the Montreal Canadiens (3-1-0, 2.03 GAA) and Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders (2-0-1, 1.97 GAA) were runners-up for the defensive award.

“He’s been awesome,” said defenseman Kyle McLaren. “He’s proven the last few months that he can get the job done and we have total confidence in to win games. He’s proven he can carry the load and he is hot. He never gives up on a shot and gives 100 percent effort every time out there.”

Toskala began the week by recording his first shutout of the season and third of his NHL career, making 33 saves in a 6-0 victory at St. Louis March 21. The 28-year-old Tampere, Finland native turned aside 24 of 25 shots in a 5-1 victory at Minnesota March 25 and made 30 saves in a 5-4 overtime victory at Chicago March 26.

Toskala improved to 16-6-3 with a 2.69 goals-against average and .898 save percentage in 28 games this season. The Sharks (36-24-10, 82 points) have climbed to eighth place in the Western Conference playoff race.

Anaheim right wing Teemu Selanne, whose League-leading 10 points (four goals, six assists) in four victories propelled the Mighty Ducks to fifth place in the Western Conference standings, has been named the NHL’s Offensive Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday, March 26.

Mighty Ducks center Andy McDonald (4-4--8 in four games), Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic (4-4--8 in four games), New York Rangers right wing Jaromir Jagr (5-2--7 in four games) and Washington Capitals left wing Alexander Ovechkin (4-3--7 in four games) were runners-up for offensive honors.

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