Goalies Niemi, Hedberg, Oilers’ Hemsky named NHL three stars of the week

Goaltender Antti Niemi was named first star of the week in the NHL on Monday after allowing only three goals in three victories for the San Jose Sharks.

Goaltender Johan Hedberg of the New Jersey Devils was second star and forward Ales Hemsky was third star.

Niemi, who led the Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup last spring, went 3-0-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average and a .963 save percentage, stopping 78 of 81 shots for the week. He posted his fourth shutout of the season Wednesday against Colorado.

The Finnish goaltender signed with San Jose after the Blackhawks walked away from the $US2.75 million he was awarded in salary arbitration last summer. After a slow start, he is 20-15-3 in 39 games for the Sharks. He has started the last 15 games, going 11-2-1.

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Hedberg also went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and a 9.56 save percentage to help push the Devils’ record in the second half of the season to a league-best 15-1-2. He needed only 16 saves for his second shutout on Wednesday over the New York Rangers. He has won all six starts since Martin Brodeur sprained a knee Feb. 6 in Montreal.

Hemsky led all scorers for the week with four goals and three assists in three Oilers wins, including a goal and two assists in the third period of a 5-3 comeback win over Atlanta on Saturday. The Edmonton scoring leader with 40 points in 42 games has 11 points in his last eight.