NEW YORK -- Colorado Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov of the Phoenix Coyotes have been selected as the NHL's Three Stars for October.
Anderson started all 14 games for the surprising Avalanche, who rose to first place in the Western Conference with a 10-2-2 record. He tied the NHL mark for victories in October set by Manny Legace (Detroit) in 2005 and the Avs' team record for any month: Dan Bouchard, 10, February 1981; Peter Budaj, March 2007. He also led the NHL in save percentage (.939) and was third in goals-against average (2.04). Colorado began the season with a pair of home upsets of San Jose (5-2, Oct. 1) and Vancouver (3-0, Oct. 3). Anderson's season-high for save is his 48 in a 3-1 win over Detroit on Oct. 24.
Ovechkin led the NHL in goals (14), points (23), shots (85) and tied for second place in plus-minus (+10) as the Capitals (8-2-3) and took a commanding seven-point lead in the Southeast Division. He tied the NHL record for October of six two-goal games, set by Mario Lemieux, and his 14 goals equalled the most he has scored in any calendar month (March, 2008). The 2008-09 NHL MVP is now the third player in NHL history with at least three points in each of his first three games of a season. The otbhers are Guy Lafleur (Montreal, 1975-76) and Peter Stastny (Quebec, 1982-83).
Bryzgalov (8-3-0, a 1.78 GAA, .930 save pct.. three shutouts) backstopped the upstart Coyotes (9-4-0) to second in the Pacific Division. He led all goaltenders in GAA and shutouts and ranked third in save percentage. The stingy Bryzgalov allowed two goals or less in eight of his 11 starts, including road shutouts of Pittsburgh (24 saves, Oct. 7), San Jose (26 saves, Oct. 12) and St. Louis (32 saves, Oct. 29).
Kaberle led the NHL in scoring (2 goals, 10 assists) as Toronto squeezed out its lone win in a 1-0-3 week. He had a career-high five points (one goal, four assists) in a 6-3 win over the Anaheim on Oct. 26; two assists in a 4-3 OT loss to Dallas on Oct. 28 and an assist in a 3-2 OT loss to Buffalo on Oct. 30. In a 5-4 shootout loss to Montreal on Oct. 31, he scored a goal and tacked on three assists. Kaberle leads NHL defensemen in scoring (two goals, 15 assists) and ranks second in assists. His 450 career points with the Maple Leafs are eight behind Hall of Famer Tim Horton for second place among blueliners on the franchise's all-time scoring list.
Rinne (3-0-0, a 0.76 GAA, .968 save pct., shutout) stopped all 12 shots he faced in 38 minutes of relief of starter Dan Ellis as the Predators (6-6-1) rallied to beat Minnesota, 4-3, on Oct. 28. He made 22 saves for his eighth career shutout (2-0 over Chicago, Oct. 29) and made 27 in a 4-2 win over Dallas on Oct. 31. Rinne is 4-3-0 with a 2.63 GAA, .910 save pct. in eight games.
Nabokov (3-0-0, a 0.97 GAA, .963 save percentage) helped the first-place-in-the-Pacific Sharks (10-4-1) stretch their win streak to five games. He made 28 saves and stopped five of six shootout attempts in a 2-1 win over Los Angeles on Oct. 28. Two nights later, he made 24 saves in a 3-1 win over Colorado, and had a 25-save outing in a 5-1 victory over Carolina on Nov. 1. Nabokov is 9-3-1 with a 2.42 GAA and .915 save pct. in 14 appearances.