Dallas Stars' Kari Lehtonen Named NHL First Star of the Week

Ronald Martinez

You know -- Kari Lehtonen is kinda really good at his job...

Dallas Stars fans already know how amazing starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen is. This week, he earned a much deserved nod from the league as he was named the NHL's First Star of the Week. It comes on the heels of three outstanding performances for the big Finn -- he's allowed just one goal against in the past 180 minutes, backstopping his team to three resounding wins with his performance.

While the team defense in front of him deserves just as much credit for the current win streak, Lehtonen has provided the calm presence in net when needed. He's been a veritable brick wall, and fans hope he can keep it up with the Colorado Avalanche in town tonight.

In honor of his recognition, I present to you my favorite Kari Lehtonen save from this season so far -- "The Spider Monkey":

What is yours? Anything stand out in particular for you? Share with us your favorite Lehtonen moment so far this year -- there's plenty to choose from.

Here is the official release from Dallas Stars PR:

Jan. 27, 2014
For Immediate Release
Tom Holy, Greg Ramirez or Ben Fromstein
(214) 387-5633 or 5562
KARI LEHTONEN NAMED NHL'S FIRST STAR OF THE WEEK

NEW YORK, NY - Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, Detroit Red Wings right wing Gustav Nyquist and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Jan. 26.

FIRST STAR - KARI LEHTONEN, G, DALLAS STARS

Lehtonen went 3-1-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and two shutouts to help the Stars (24-20-8, 56 points) move within sixth points of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. He made 19 saves in a 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators Jan. 20 before picking up three consecutive victories, recording 18 stops in a 4-0 shutout of the Minnesota Wild Jan. 21, 24 saves in a 7-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Jan. 23 and 24 stops in a 3-0 shutout of the Pittsburgh Penguins Jan. 25. The 30-year-old Helsinki native has played in 43 games this season, compiling a 20-14-8 record with a 2.52 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and three shutouts. Lehtonen also now has 25 blank sheets in his NHL career, 11 of which have come in a Dallas uniform. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is just the third goaltender to reach double-figures in shutouts since the franchise relocated to Texas in 1993, joining Marty Turco (40) and Ed Belfour (27).

SECOND STAR - GUSTAV NYQUIST, RW, DETROIT RED WINGS

Nyquist recorded 4-2-6, scoring in all four games to help the Red Wings (23-18-11, 57 points) pick up five out of a possible eight points and move into the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He posted the team's lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues Jan. 20. Nyquist then collected 1-1-2 in consecutive games: a 5-4 shootout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Jan. 22 and a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens Jan. 24. He closed the week by scoring his ninth goal of the season in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers Jan. 26. The 24-year-old Halmstad, Sweden, native has 9-8-17 in 27 games this season, including 4-3-7 and a +4 rating during a five-game point streak.

THIRD STAR - ANDREJ SEKERA, D, CAROLINA HURRICANES

Sekera posted 1-5-6 and a +8 rating to power the Hurricanes (23-19-9, 55 points) to three consecutive victories, moving them within one point of the No. 3 spot in the Metropolitan Division. He opened the week by earning the primary assist on Jiri Tlusty's tiebreaking goal in a 3-2 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 22. Sekera then posted a career-high three points (1-2-3), including his first game-winning goal since March 6, 2009, in a 5-3 victory over his former team, the Buffalo Sabres, Jan. 23. He capped the week with his sixth two-assist performance of the season in a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators Jan. 25. The 27-year-old Bojnice, Slovakia, native has played in 49 games this season, leading all Hurricanes blueliners in goals (8), assists (22) and points (30).

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