NEW YORK -- Phoenix Coyotes right wing Lee Stempniak, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard and Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin have been named the NHL 'Three Stars' for March.
FIRST STAR -- LEE STEMPNIAK, RW, PHOENIX COYOTES Highlights
Stempniak scored a League-leading 13 goals in 14 games with the Coyotes following his acquisition from the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Mar. 3 trade deadline. He added three assists and a +7 rating with his new club, helping the Coyotes (47-25-6) post a nine-game winning streak, set franchise-record victory and point totals and secure their first berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2002. Stempniak scored just 6:13 into his Coyotes debut in 3-1 victory over Colorado Mar. 4 and went on to notch two-goal games in victories over the Vancouver Canucks (4-3, Mar. 10), Carolina Hurricanes (4-0, Mar. 13), Chicago Blackhawks (5-4, Mar. 20) and Avalanche (6-2, Mar. 27). The 27-year-old Buffalo native has matched his single-season career high in goals (27), set with St. Louis in 2006-07.
SECOND STAR -- JIMMY HOWARD, G, DETROIT RED WINGS Highlights
Howard posted a 12-2-1 record with a 2.24 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and one shutout as the Red Wings (40-23-13) climbed to sixth place in the Western Conference. Howard allowed two goals or fewer in nine of 15 starts, highlighted by 33 saves in regulation and overtime plus stops on 10 of 11 shootout attempts in a 1-0 victory at Nashville Mar. 27. Howard improved to 33-15-9 with a 2.27 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and two shutouts in 58 games, becoming just the fourth rookie in Red Wings history to post 30 wins in his rookie season (Terry Sawchuk, Roger Crozier, Glenn Hall). He has started 23 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Red Wings goaltender since Tim Cheveldae (29) in 1991-92 and tops by a Detroit rookie since Roy Edwards (23) in 1967-68.
THIRD STAR -- HENRIK SEDIN, C, VANCOUVER CANUCKS Highlights
Sedin led all NHL scorers in March with 24 points (four goals, 20 assists) as the Canucks (46-26-4) won nine of 15 starts and moved closer to clinching their second consecutive Northwest Division title. Sedin surged past his career high of 82 points with three assists in a 6-3 victory at Detroit Mar. 3 and collected eight points over the final three games of the Canucks' NHL-record 14-game road trip Mar. 7-10. Back home at GM Place, he passed Thomas Gradin to become highest scoring center in Canucks history with his 551st career point, an assist, in a 5-1 win over Ottawa Mar. 13. The following night he set a franchise record with his 416th career assist in a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. Sedin concluded the month with a five-game point streak, moving into first place in the NHL scoring race with 104 points (29 goals, 75 assists) in 76 games.