After winning all three of his starts and posting a 155 minute shutout streak while doing it, Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller has been named the NHL’s first star of the week.
Miller was huge for the Sabres as they vaulted themselves back into playoff contention with a tremendous Western road swing. He posted back-to-back shutouts against Anaheim (43 saves) and San Jose (39 saves) before stopping 32 of 35 shots in a 5-3 win over Vancouver. Buffalo is now just two points back of eighth-place Winnipeg in the Eastern Conference and have a chance to draw even with the Jets tonight, when the two meet at the MTS Center (8pm ET, NBCSN.)
Second star went to Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. With fellow blueliners Nicklas Lidstrom and Jonathan Ericsson out of the lineup, Kronwall stepped up to record 2G-5A-7PTS in three games against Columbus, Minnesota and Chicago. Kronwall scored the game-tying goal and set up Henrik Zetterberg’s winner against the Jackets, set up three of the first four goals in a 6-0 smashing of the Wild then scored the only goal in Detroit’s 2-1 loss to the ‘Hawks.
Third star went to Chicago netminder Ray Emery. He further staked his claim to the No. 1 gig by relieving nominal starter Corey Crawford in a 5-4 win over Toronto (stopping 23 of 24 shots), then posting back-to-back wins over Ottawa (25 of 26) and Detroit (23 of 24). As a result, the ‘Hawks now have 79 points and are clear of the intriguing battle for seventh and eighth in the Western Conference, a fight featuring Dallas (75 points), San Jose (73), Los Angeles (72), Colorado (72) and Calgary (70).