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Spezza, Rinne, Malkin named NHL's 'Three Stars'

Monday, 12.19.2011 / 12:00 PM / News

NHL.com

Two players who piled up the points and another who excelled at keeping the puck out of his own net have been honored as the NHL's Three Stars for this past week.

Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza is the League's First Star, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is the Second Star and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin is the Third Star.

Jason Spezza
Center - OTT
GOALS: 12 | ASST: 24 | PTS: 36
SOG: 101 | +/-: -4
Spezza extended his point-scoring streak to five games by contributing three multi-point efforts last week. It began when he set up a pair of goals, including the overtime winner by Jared Cowen, in Ottawa's 3-2 victory over Buffalo on Tuesday. One night later, Spezza factored in both of the Senators' goals, scoring one and assisting on the other, in a 5-2 loss to the Bruins.

He saved his best performance for a big 6-4 win over the Penguins on Friday, scoring once and picking up a pair of assists during a five-goal second period by the Senators and then adding an insurance goal in the third. Spezza ended the week with 3 goals and 8 points.

Rinne has won five consecutive starts after going 3-0-0 with a .957 save percentage last week for Nashville. A finalist last season for the Vezina Trophy, the fourth-year starter led the Predators to three one-goal victories: 2-1 over the Flames, stopping 35 of 36 shots; 4-3 over the Central Division-rival Red Wings, making 37 saves on 40 shots; and 2-1 over the surging Blues to cap off his week, facing 40 shots again and turning aside 39 of them.

Malkin also has a five-game points streak after exploding for 5 goals and 3 assists in three games last week. He had Pittsburgh's lone tally in a 4-1 loss to Detroit and struck for a goal and an assist in a 6-4 defeat against Ottawa. With the Penguins reeling and in need of a victory to turn the momentum back in their favor, Malkin stood front and center and responded with his first hat trick of the season and two assists in an 8-3 rout of the Sabres.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round