NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider and St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott have been named the NHL 'Three Stars' of the week.
FIRST STAR -- SIDNEY CROSBY, C, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Crosby made a sensational return to the NHL after a 61-game absence, tallying nine points (two goals, seven assists) and a League-high +7 rating in four games. The Penguins' captain tallied four points (two goals, two assists) and a +3 rating in his 2011-12 NHL debut, a 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders Nov. 21. He scored on his first shot 5:24 into the game, led all players with eight shots on goal and won 14 of 21 face-offs in 15:54 of ice time. Crosby went on to post a +1 rating in a 3-2 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues Nov. 23; tally three assists in a 6-3 win over Ottawa Senators Nov. 25, and add two assists in a 4-3 overtime victory over Montreal Canadiens Nov. 26. In taking seven of the eight available points, the Penguins (14-6-4) ended the week atop the NHL overall standings.
SECOND STAR -- CORY SCHNEIDER, G, VANCOUVER CANUCKS
Schneider posted a 3-0-0 record with a 0.67 goals-against average, .978 save percentage and two shutouts, helping the Canucks (13-9-1) climb within two points of the first-place Minnesota Wild in the Northwest Division. Schneider started the week with consecutive shutouts, stopping 24 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Nov. 23 and 22 more in a 5-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Nov. 25. He won his fourth consecutive game by making a season-high 43 saves in a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks Nov. 26. The 25-year-old Marblehead, Mass., native improved his season record to 6-4-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and two shutouts in 12 appearances.
THIRD STAR -- BRIAN ELLIOTT, G, ST. LOUIS BLUES
Elliott extended his winning streak to six games and improved his season record to 10-1-0 by posting three consecutive victories with a 0.98 goals-against average, .963 save percentage and one shutout. Elliott began the week by stopping 31 of 33 shots in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Nov. 23. He recorded his third shutout of the season by making 24 saves in a 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames Nov. 25 and stopped 23 shots in a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Nov. 27. Elliott leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.31) and save percentage (.951), is tied for the League lead in shutouts (three) and is the first NHL goaltender in more than 70 years to allow two goals or fewer in each of his first 11 starts of a season. Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Brimsek of the Boston Bruins began the 1938-39 season with a streak of 12 such starts.