Niemi Named NHL's 3rd 'Star of the Week'
NEW YORK – Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo and San Jose Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 16.
FIRST STAR – SERGEI BOBROVSKY, G, COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Bobrovsky posted a 2-0-1 record with a 1.58 goals-against average and .950 save percentage to help the Blue Jackets (35-26-6, 76 points) gain five of a possible six points and move into third place in the Metropolitan Division. He began the week by making 39 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings March 11. Bobrovsky then turned aside 24 shots and denied 1-of-2 shootout attempts in a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks March 13. He capped the week by making 32 saves and stopping 2-of-4 shootout attempts in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild March 15. The 25-year-old native of Novokuznetsk, Russia, is 26-16-4 with a 2.46 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and three shutouts in 46 appearances this season, including an 18-5-2 mark with a 2.13 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and two shutouts in his last 25 outings dating to Nov. 29.
SECOND STAR – KYLE OKPOSO, RW, NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Okposo led all players with seven points (1-6—7), including three consecutive multi-point performances, to power the Islanders (26-34-9, 61 points) to a pair of wins in three outings. He matched a career high with three assists in a 7-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks March 10. Okposo then added two helpers in a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks March 14 before capping the week with 1-1—2, his 21st multi-point performance of the season, in a 4-1 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres March 15. The 25-year-old native of St. Paul, Minn., is tied for fourth in the NHL with 69 points in 68 games this season, and has already established single-season career highs in goals (27), assists (42) and points while leading the Islanders in each category.
THIRD STAR – ANTTI NIEMI, G, SAN JOSE SHARKS
Niemi picked up three wins in three starts, posting a 1.67 goals-against average, .950 save percentage and one shutout to help the Sharks (45-17-7, 97 points) extend their winning streak to six games and keep pace with the Ducks (45-16-7, 97 points) in the race for the Pacific Division crown. He began the week by making 19 saves in a 6-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs March 11. After posting 35 saves in a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders March 14, Niemi then stopped all 41 shots he faced in recording his 27th career shutout in a 1-0 triumph over the New York Rangers March 16. The 30-year-old native of Vantaa, Finland, is tied for the League lead with 34 victories this season and has compiled a 2.33 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and four shutouts in 54 appearances.