Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, New Jersey Devils right wing Lee Stempniak and St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Jan. 24.
FIRST STAR – SEMYON VARLAMOV, G, COLORADO AVALANCHE
Varlamov posted a 4-0-0 record with a 0.99 goals-against average and .972 save percentage to lift the Avalanche (26-21-3, 55 points) into the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. He made 30 or more saves in three of his four starts: 36 in a 2-1 triumph over the Winnipeg Jets Jan. 18, 33 in a 2-1 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues Jan. 22 and 42 in a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars Jan. 23. Varlamov also turned aside 27 shots in a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Jan. 20. The 27-year-old Samara, Russia, native owns a 19-12-3 record with a 2.59 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and one shutout in 35 appearances this season. That includes a 13-4-2 clip over his past 19 outings dating to Dec. 7.
SECOND STAR – LEE STEMPNIAK, RW, NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Stempniak shared the League lead with four goals in three games (4-1—5) to propel the Devils (25-19-5, 55 points) into the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He registered 1-1—2 in a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames Jan. 19 and scored again in a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators Jan. 21. Stempniak then capped the week with a pair of goals – his first multi-goal performance since April 4, 2015 – in a 3-1 triumph over his former team, the Winnipeg Jets, Jan. 23. The 32-year-old West Seneca, N.Y., native ranks second on the Devils with 14-22—36 in 49 contests this season; his 14 goals are one shy of his total from 71 appearances in 2014-15.
THIRD STAR – BRIAN ELLIOTT, G, ST. LOUIS BLUES
Elliott went 2-1-1 with a 1.48 goals-against average and .955 save percentage to backstop the Blues (28-16-8, 64 points) within one point of second place in the Central Division. He made 36 saves in a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Jan. 18, followed by 29 stops in a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings Jan. 20. Elliott then registered 40 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche Jan. 22 before closing the week with 23 stops in a 2-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Jan. 24. The 30-year-old Newmarket, Ont., native has compiled a 10-6-5 record in 24 outings this season, including at least one point in eight of his 10 appearances in January (5-2-3).