Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dustin Tokarski has been named First Star of the Week by the NHL, the league announced Monday.
Tokarski went 2-1-1 in four games over the past week, stopping 128 of 137 shots for a save percentage of .934. His 27-save outing against Washington on Thursday marked his first NHL victory since Dec. 12, 2015. He pointed skyward after the final horn sounded, a nod to his late father.
“It was pretty incredible, to be honest,” Tokarski said that night. “I lost my dad a few years back, so that was my first NHL win since he’s passed. So, I was just pointing up to him for that special moment.
“And then all the guys were just awesome coming in, and there’s nothing better for a goalie than celebrating with your teammates after a win.”
Tokarski followed that victory by starting on back-to-back afternoons against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and Sunday, earning win No. 2 with a 34-save outing in the latter contest.
“That’s competitiveness and that’s drive and determination,” interim head coach Don Granato said Sunday. “All those intangibles are what push him through and pushes anybody through.
“… Usually there’s a little drop in focus, little subtleties maybe off in a second night. Maybe you’re off your angle a little bit or rebound control. But none of that tonight. You would have thought it was the same as last night or maybe even better.”
Tokarski ranks fourth in the league in total saves since the beginning of April (201). He entered the season having not played in the NHL since October 2016.