Stamkos, Ovechkin, Quick earn Three Star nods
Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning was named First Star, with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals the Second Star and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings the Third Star.
Two seasons ago, Stamkos tied Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the League lead with 51 goals, while Ovechkin finished one behind them.
SOG: 128 | +/-: 12
Stamkos scored twice, including the game-winning goal, as Tampa Bay beat Philadelphia, and tallied again during a comeback victory over Montreal. He saved his best performance for the last day of the calendar year, however, registering the hat trick Saturday night against Carolina. His third goal put the Lightning ahead to stay 43 seconds into the third period and gave Stamkos 5 game-winning goals this season, second in the League.
Ovechkin put together his best stretch of the 2011-12 season heading into the new year, as he extended his points streak to six games with 5 goals and 3 assists last week. He capped it off with consecutive two-goal performances in victories over Buffalo and Columbus, doubling the number of two-goal games he had all season and pulling off the feat for the first time since April 6-9, 2010.
In the Capitals' 3-1 win over the Sabres on Friday, Ovechkin both opened and closed the scoring and increased his career numbers against goalie Ryan Miller to 14 goals in 21 games. One night later against the Blue Jackets, he sparked the Caps' four-goal, third-period rally by getting them on the board at the 4:23 mark and then adding a power-play goal for insurance to finish it off.
Quick won all three of his starts last week as the Kings remained unbeaten in regulation since Darryl Sutter took over behind the bench. Over his final two starts, the 25-year-old goalie stopped 65 of 66 shots, including a 38-save shutout in Chicago against the Blackhawks, who currently lead in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. It was Quick's fifth shutout of the season, tops in the League.
Not to be outdone, Quick was nearly flawless again on New Year's Eve against the Vancouver Canucks, the Northwest Division leaders. Quick helped the Kings take over first place in the Pacific and improved to 5-0-1 over his last six starts.