Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, Flames forward Jiri Hudler and Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk have been named the NHL’s three stars for the month of March.
Hammond went 10-1-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .930 save percentage to help the Senators (38-26-12, 88 points) complete an 11-3-2 March and climb within three points of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Hudler led all players with 13 assists and 23 points to power the Flames (42-28-7, 91 points) to a 9-3-3 March, helping the team jump from the outside of the playoff picture and into third place in the Pacific Division.
Dubnyk paced the NHL with 11 wins, compiling a 1.78 goals-against average and .942 save percentage to lead the Wild (44-25-7, 95 points) to an 11-3-0 March and the first Wild Card position in the Western Conference.
Plenty has already been said and written about the first and third stars — both are great stories that have received league-wide attention — but Hudler’s accomplishments have flown largely under the radar outside of Calgary. How many hockey fans know that the 31-year-old has 71 points, and that only six players in the entire league have more points than that?
Not bad for a $4 million cap hit.
Hudler’s career high before this season was 57 points in 82 games (2008-09, with Detroit).
The NHL’s rookie scoring leader is also its rookie of the month.
On Wednesday, the league announced that Calgary freshman Johnny Gaudreau took home the honors for March after putting up 16 points in 15 games, keeping the Flames afloat in the Western Conference playoff chase.
Gaudreau edged Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (4-11—15 in 16 GP), Boston Bruins teammates Ryan Spooner (7-7—14 in 15 GP) and David Pastrnak (3-10—13 in 15 GP), Carolina Hurricanes center Victor Rask (3-8—11 in 15 GP), and Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (6-2-0, 2.50 GAA, .918 SV%) for the honor.
Gaudreau, a fourth-round selection (104th overall) by the Flames in the 2011 NHL Draft, recorded at least one point in 10 of his 15 March appearances, highlighted by four multi-point efforts. Those included his fourth career multi-goal game in a 6-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks March 11 (2-0—2) and his fourth career game-winning goal in a 5-3 triumph over the Dallas Stars March 30 (1-1—2).
Gaudreau joins Tanner Pearson (October), Filip Forsberg (November), John Klingberg (January) and Anders Lee (February) as this season’s rookie of the month winners. He also looks to be a lock as one of this year’s three Calder Trophy finalists, along with Forbsberg and Aaron Ekblad.
The Ottawa Senators finally found a way to get the puck past Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek. And the timing could not have been better.
The Senators kept their playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 shootout win over the Red Wings on Tuesday. With the full two points, they managed to stay three points back of the Boston Bruins, who got a late goal to beat the Florida Panthers in regulation. Ottawa still has a game in hand on Boston.
Detroit held a lead for most of the game, thanks to an early first-period goal from Gustav Nyquist.
But Clarke MacArthur was finally able to beat Mrazek, who was sensational throughout the game, with 4:02 remaining in regulation.
Mark Stone scored the winner in the shootout, while Andrew Hammond — you know him better as The Hamburglar — made 16 saves for the road win, which puts him into some elite company.
Detroit forward Drew Miller left the game after taking a skate to the face in the first period.
According to numerous reports, Miller suffered two lacerations around his right eye, but no damage to the eye.