The NHL awards the Art Ross Trophy annually "to the player who leads the League in scoring points at the end of the regular season." During a 21-year stretch from 1981-2001, the award was dominated by Wayne Gretzky (10-time winner), Mario Lemieux (6) and Jaromir Jagr (5), one of whom captured it each season. No player has won the Art Ross more than once since, but Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins, who claimed it in 2009, has the opportunity to change that -- he's locked in a three-way battle with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers heading down the stretch.
Here's an up-to-date look at the race:
Evgeni Malkin (87 points)
ART ROSS TROPHY SCORING RACE
|Evgeni Malkin (PIT)
|Steven Stamkos (TBL)
|Claude Giroux (PHI)
-- The Penguins continued their recent run of dominance with an 11th straight victory Saturday by dismantling New Jersey at Prudential Center in a game that could have been worse than the 5-2 scoreline if not for strong work from Martin Brodeur. Malkin extended his lead in the scoring race with a pair of points. He won a faceoff back to James Neal in the first period, who scored Pittsburgh's first goal, and then Malkin finished a pretty cross-ice one-timer from Sidney Crosby on the power play for his 40th goal of the season. Malkin and the Penguins play Claude Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Arena in a Sunday matinee on NBC.
Steven Stamkos (84 points)
-- Stamkos and the Lightning faced the best team in the League at goal prevention Saturday, and the Blues were able to keep the likely Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner off the scoresheet in a 3-1 victory against Tampa Bay. Brendan Mikkelson
had Tampa Bay's lone goal early in the third period. Stamkos and the Lightning next play Monday at home against Buffalo.
Claude Giroux (82 points)
-- Giroux did not factor in either of Philadelphia's two goals in a 3-2 shootout loss Saturday to the Boston Bruins. He did beat Tim Thomas during the shootout, but all three Bruins scored and Tim Thomas stopped Danny Briere to secure the victory. Giroux and the Flyers welcome Malkin and the Penguins to Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. He has no goals and three assists in the first three meetings between the two rivals this season.