NEW YORK (January 3, 2006) -- Los Angeles Kings goaltender Mathieu Garon
, who led all goaltenders in victories with a 9-3-0 record, 2.40 goals-against average and .924 save percentage, has been named the NHL Defensive Player of the Month for December.
Garon edged goaltenders Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames (8-2-0, 2.41 goals-against average), Manny Fernandez of the Minnesota Wild (7-2-0, 2.09 gga), Antero Niittymaki of the Philadelphia Flyers (8-2-0, 2.38 gga) and Chris Osgood of the Detroit Red Wings (8-1-0, 2.46 gga) for the award.
Garon posted six of his nine victories on the road and won four of four against divisional opponents.
Appearing in 28 of the Kings' 42 games this season, Garon has posted an 18-8-0 record, 2.67 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. The 27-year-old native of Chandler, Quebec is tied for fifth in the NHL in victories. The Kings (26-14-2, 54 points) lead the Pacific Division and are fifth in the League's overall standings. RANGERS' JAGR NAMED NHL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE MONTH
NEW YORK (January 3, 2006) -- New York Rangers right wing Jaromir Jagr, who led all scorers with 22 points (4 goals, 18 assists) and posted a +6 rating in 13 games, has been named the NHL Offensive Player of the Month for December.
Jagr edged Minnesota Wild center Brian Rolston (8-13--21 in 16 games), San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (5-16--21 in 13 games), Florida Panthers center Olli Jokinen (8-12--20 in 15 games) and Phoenix Coyotes left wing Ladislav Nagy (5-15--20 in 13 games) for the award.
Named to the Czech Republic Olympic team Dec. 22, Jagr tallied points on 61% of Rangers goals in December (22 of 36) and had six multiple-point games, including one-goal, three-assist efforts in victories at St. Louis (5-4, Dec. 10) and Long Island (6-2, Dec. 28). He notched a goal and two assists in a 5-1 victory at Nashville Dec. 8 and had three assists in a 4-2 home victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning Dec. 22.
The NHL's leading scorer with 61 points (25 goals, 36 assists) in 39 games, Jagr is on pace to record 129 points this season, the second-highest total in his 15-year NHL career. CAPITALS' OVECHKIN NAMED NHL ROOKIE OF THE MONTH
NEW YORK (January 3, 2006) -- Forward Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who led all NHL rookies in scoring with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 12 games, has been named NHL Rookie of the Month for December.
Ovechkin edged Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (7-7--14 in 12 games), New York Rangers right wing Petr Prucha (12-1--13 in 13 games) and Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki (8-2-0, 2.38 goals against average, .920 save percentage) for the award.
Ovechkin recorded at least one point in nine of 11 contests, including a five-game goal-scoring streak from Dec. 22 to Dec. 31, the longest by a Capitals player since Peter Bondra in 1998. The 20-year-old Moscow, Russia native scored 23% of the Capitals' goals and earned points on 54% of them (19 of 35). He recorded six multiple-point games, including four-point outings against the New York Rangers Dec. 3 and Atlanta Dec. 22.
Named to the Russian Olympic team Dec. 22, Ovechkin leads the Capitals and all NHL rookies in scoring, and ranks 13th in NHL overall, with 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists).
Ovechkin joins Crosby (October) and Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf (November) as NHL Rookie of the Month winners in 2005-06.
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