Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller and Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending March 25.
FIRST STAR – EVGENI MALKIN, C, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Malkin led the League with nine points (five goals, four assists) in four games as the Penguins (47-22-6, 100 points) kept within one point of first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. He began the week with two goals and three assists, his fourth five-point game of the season, in an 8-4 victory against the Winnipeg Jets March 20. Malkin then scored twice in a 5-1 win against the Nashville Predators March 22 and recorded a goal and an assist in a 5-2 victory against the New Jersey Devils March 25. The 2008-09 Art Ross Trophy winner leads the NHL with 46-51—97 in 68 games and is on pace to break his career high in goals (47, set in 2007-08).
SECOND STAR – RYAN MILLER, G, BUFFALO SABRES
Miller led the NHL with four wins, posting a 1.26 goals-against average and .956 save percentage as the Sabres (37-29-10, 84 points) won four consecutive games to keep pace with the Washington Capitals in the race for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. He made 24 stops in a 7-3 victory at the Tampa Bay Lightning March 19, recorded his career-high sixth shutout of the season in a 3-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens March 21, stopped 26 shots in a 4-1 triumph at the New York Rangers March 23 and closed the week with 24 saves in a 3-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild March 24. The 2009-10 Vezina Trophy winner is 29-18-7 with a 2.48 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 56 appearances.
THIRD STAR – ALEX OVECHKIN, LW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Ovechkin led the League with six goals and added one assist as the Capitals (38-30-8, 84 points) earned six out of a possible eight points to maintain the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. He recorded two goals in a 5-3 victory at the Detroit Red Wings March 19, scored 26 seconds into a 2-1 shootout loss at the Philadelphia Flyers March 22, tallied two goals in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Winnipeg Jets March 23 and finished the week with a goal and an assist in a 3-0 victory against the Minnesota Wild March 25. The two-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner is tied for fourth in the NHL with 36 goals in 72 games and has scored in five straight contests dating to March 18 (seven total goals). Ovechkin has 10 goals in March, the 12th time in his career that he has reached double-figures in one calendar month.