BUDAJ, THORNTON, LECAVALIER NAMED NHL'S THREE STARS OF THE MONTH
FIRST STAR -- PETER BUDAJ, G, COLORADO AVALANCHE
Budaj posted a 10-0-2 record with a 2.24 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 13 games as the Avalanche remained in the Western Conference playoff chase by earning points in 13 of 14 contests. The 24-year-old native of Banska Bystrica, Slovakia allowed three goals or fewer in 11 of 13 games, including his fifth career shutout in a 2-0 victory at Boston March 6, and tied the franchise record for goaltender wins in a month set by Daniel Bouchard with the Quebec Nordiques in February, 1981. Budaj improved his season record to 29-15-6 with a 2.70 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and three shutouts.
SECOND STAR -- JOE THORNTON, C, SAN JOSE SHARKS
Thornton led all NHL scorers in March with 24 points (5 goals, 19 assists) in 14 games, moving into second place in the League scoring race with 109 points (21 goals, 88 assists). Thornton also posted a +17 rating, helping the Sharks go 10-2-2 and set a franchise record for wins in a season, a mark that has reached 49. Thornton had seven multiple-point games, highlighted by a one-goal, three-assist performance against Phoenix March 15, and posted a 10-game point streak from March 6-24 (5-17--22). Thornton needs just two assists to become the third player in NHL history to post consecutive 90-assist seasons, joining Wayne Gretzky (1980-81 through 1991-92) and Mario Lemieux (1987-88 and 1988-89).
THIRD STAR -- VINCENT LECAVALIER, C, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Lecavalier finished second among all NHL scorers with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 14 games as the Lightning (43-32-4, 90 points) moved closer to clinching a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. He recorded seven multiple-point games, including consecutive three-point efforts to close the month. He notched his League-leading 50th goal of the season, a career first, and added two assists in a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 March 30 and tallied a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals March 31. Lecavalier ranks third in NHL scoring with a career-best 106 points (51 goals, 55 assists) in 79 games.