Eric Staal tops NHL's 'Three Stars of the Week'
FIRST STAR - ERIC STAAL, C, CAROLINA HURRICANES
Prior to serving as captain of Team Staal at the 2011 NHL All-Star celebration in Raleigh, Staal tallied four points in a pair of victories during an abbreviated week to help the Hurricanes (25-19-6) close within one point of a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Staal tallied one assist in a 6-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Jan. 24 and recorded three points (two goals, one assist) and a +2 rating in a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders Jan. 26. His second goal of the contest was his sixth game-winner of the season, tying him for the League lead. Staal closed the week by notching a pair of third-period goals and firing a game-high eight shots in Team Staal's 11-10 loss to Team Lidstrom at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game at the RBC Center Jan. 30.
SECOND STAR - JONATHAN QUICK, G, LOS ANGELES KINGS
Quick registered a pair of victories heading into the All-Star break, helping the Kings (27-22-1) gain valuable points and momentum in the tight race for playoff berths in the Western Conference. Quick began the week by making 34 saves in a 2-0 victory over the Boston BruinsJan. 24, collecting his career-high fifth shutout of the season. He then turned aside 22 of 24 shots through overtime and stopped all four shootout attempts as the Kings defeated theSan Jose Sharks 3-2 Jan. 26. Quick improved to 5-0 in shootouts this season, stopping 87% of attempts. The 25-year-old Milford, Conn. native ranks third among NHL goaltenders in goals-against average (2.15) and tied for third in shutouts (five).
THIRD STAR - MICHAEL GRABNER, RW, NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Grabner headed into the All-Star break by figuring in both Islanders goals (one goal, one assist) in a 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 26. One of 12 rookies to earn a trip to the 2011 Honda NHL SuperSkills at All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, Grabner was selected to represent Team Staal in the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater competition. The 23-year-old Villach, Austria native edged Edmonton Oilers rookie Taylor Hall in his opening heat, completing one lap of the ice in 14.061 seconds, and again topped Hall in the event finale, 14.238 seconds to 14.715, to win the crown.