It will be several months until we know for sure if Evgeni Malkin wins the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player, but one thing that's set in stone right now: the Pittsburgh Penguins center has once again been named as the First Star for the past week's games.
Joining Malkin, who currently leads the race for the Art Ross Trophy, is Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who was awarded Second Star, and Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, the Third Star.
Malkin had 5 goals in four games this past week to give him 46 for the season, second only to Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos in the Rocket Richard Trophy race. He had 9 points total, increasing his season output to 97, which is 10 ahead of Stamkos and 11 in front of Philadelphia's Claude Giroux.
SOG: 314 | +/-: 18
Miller led the Sabres on a four-game winning streak that temporarily lifted them into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and has them poised to reclaim it with a win in Washington on Tuesday. Miller is now 7-0-2 over his last nine starts and 13-1-3 since Feb. 19 after defeating the Lightning (24 saves), Canadiens (a 34-save shutout), Rangers (26 saves) and Wild (24 saves), giving up just five goals total. He posted a .956 save percentage for the week.
Ovechkin has surged past his goal total from last season and could reach 40 for the sixth time in seven seasons if he continues on his current pace, which has the Capitals poised to get back to the playoffs. He's scored at least a goal in five straight games and six of his last seven, lighting the lamp nine times over that span. That includes 6 goals in four games last week. Ovechkin had 2-goal efforts against the Red Wings and Jets, as well as single tallies against the Flyers and Wild. He also added an assist Sunday as Washington blanked Minnesota.