NEW YORK – Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Dec. 7.
FIRST STAR – PAVEL DATSYUK, C, DETROIT RED WINGS
Datsyuk shared the League lead with seven points (3-4-7) in four games, including three multi-point performances, to help the Red Wings (17-6-5, 39 points) pick up a trio of victories and tie the Lightning (18-7-3, 39 points) for the most points in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. He opened the week with 1-1—2 in a 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers Dec. 2. Datsyuk then recorded his second consecutive 1-1—2 performance, including his 47th career game-winning goal, in a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars Dec. 4. After being held off the scoresheet in a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers Dec. 6, Datsyuk (1-2-3) factored on all three Red Wings goals, his second three-point game of the season, in a 3-1 triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes Dec. 7. The 36-year-old Sverdlovsk, Russia, native has recorded five multi-point performances in his last seven outings, totaling 7-4-11 in that stretch. Despite missing 11 games this season, Datsyuk is tied for first on the Red Wings with 12 goals and ranks second on the club with 22 points in 17 contests.
SECOND STAR – SERGEI BOBROVSKY, G, COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Bobrovsky posted a 3-0-0 record with a 1.62 goals-against average and .956 save percentage to backstop the Blue Jackets (9-15-2, 20 points) to their first three-game winning streak of the season. He stopped 24-of-25 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers Dec. 1. Bobrovsky then made a career-high and franchise-record 52 saves – and denied all four shootout attempts he faced – in a 4-3 triumph over the Panthers Dec. 4. He capped the week with 33 stops, his ninth 30-plus save performance of the season, in a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Dec. 6, helping the Blue Jackets secure their second all-time victory at Amalie Arena (2-5-2). The 26-year-old Novokuznetsk, Russia, native has appeared in 17 games this season, compiling an 8-8-1 record with a 2.77 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.
THIRD STAR – AARON EKBLAD, D, FLORIDA PANTHERS
Ekblad led all defensemen and tied for fourth in the NHL with six points (2-4—6) in four games to lead the Panthers (11-7-7, 29 points) to five out of a possible eight standings points. He scored the team's lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Dec. 1. Ekblad then recorded the game-winning goal in a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings Dec. 2 and collected one assist in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Blue Jackets Dec. 4. He closed the week with a career-high three assists/points in a 3-2 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres Dec. 6; Ekblad became just the second rookie defenseman in Panthers history to post three points in one game, following Dan Boyle Feb. 24, 1999 vs. PHI (1-2—3). The 18-year-old Windsor, Ont., native, the first overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, ranks third among rookies and paces all first-year blueliners with 4-13—17 in 25 games this season.