NEW YORK – Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom and Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 24.
FIRST STAR – ALEX OVECHKIN, LW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Ovechkin led the NHL with five goals and eight points in four games, stretching his season-long scoring streak to five games (6-3—9). He scored in a 2-1 loss to the Penguins March 19, Ovechkin’s 14th goal in his last 12 regular-season visits to Pittsburgh. He then totaled five points in back-to-back games at Winnipeg, posting 1-2—3 in a 4-0 victory March 21 and two goals in a 6-1 win March 22. Ovechkin capped the week with one goal and one assist, plus the opening goal in the shootout, in a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers March 24. The 27-year-old Moscow native leads the Capitals with 16 goals in 32 games this season and ranks second on the club with 31 points.
SECOND STAR – NIKLAS BACKSTROM, G, MINNESOTA WILD
Backstrom posted a 3-0-0 record, 1.00 goals-against average, .972 save percentage and one shutout in three starts to help the Wild extend its winning streak to a season-high five games. He made 35 saves in a 3-1 triumph at Vancouver March 18 to lead Minnesota to its first victory at Rogers Arena since Jan. 31, 2009 (0-9-2). Backstrom then recorded a season-high 36 stops in a 4-2 victory at Detroit March 20. He closed the week with 33 saves in a 2-0 win over San Jose March 23 to pick up the 27th shutout of his NHL career and his first since Feb. 19, 2012. The 35-year-old Helsinki native ranks second in the League with 16 wins this season and has a 2.23 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 25 appearances.
THIRD STAR – NAZEM KADRI, C, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Kadri ranked second in the NHL with seven points in the three games, also tying for second in both goals (three) and assists (four). He collected a career-high three assists and posted a +3 rating in a 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay March 20. Kadri recorded his third three-point performance of the season the following evening, totaling 2-1—3 in a 5-4 shootout loss at Buffalo March 21. He then scored his 14th goal of the season in a 3-2 win over Boston March 23. The 22-year-old London, Ont., native leads the Maple Leafs with 34 points in 32 games this season and is tied for first on the team in goals (14) and assists (20).
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