Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang on Monday were named the NHL's three stars for the month of January.
Kuznetsov capped off his month with a goal for the Metropolitan Division in its 4-3 loss to the Atlantic Division on Sunday in one semifinal of the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Kuznetsov was named to the team as a replacement for Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
Kuznetsov helped solidify his all-star credentials with four goals and 12 assists in 10 games during January, becoming the Capitals' leading scorer for the season with 49 points (15 goals). He went on a scoring binge in five games prior to the break, scoring two goals and 11 points. It started with a three-point game (two goals, one assist) against the Vancouver Canucks in a 4-1 win on Jan. 14 and also featured seven assists over the course of two games, a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers on Jan. 17 (three assists) and a 6-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 19 (four assists).
Video: WSH@CBJ: Kuznetsov scores with great deke at the net
Crawford won his first eight appearances of the month en route to a 9-2-0 record with a .952 save percentage as the Blackhawks took over first place in the Western Conference. He had two shutouts, a 26-save performance Jan. 3 in a 3-0 win against the Ottawa Senators and a 25-save effort Jan. 24 in a 2-0 win against the St. Louis Blues. Overall, Crawford allowed two goals or fewer in nine of 10 appearances before a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in his final start prior to the break. Crawford leads NHL goalies with seven shutouts, is second with 28 wins and fourth with a .931 save percentage.
Letang had three goals and 11 assists in 10 games to help the Penguins move into the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. He had a three-assist game Jan. 2 against the New York Islanders in a 5-2 win and four other multipoint games in January, including a goal and an assist each against the Blackhawks in a 3-2 overtime loss on Jan. 5 and the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 5-4 overtime loss on Jan. 15. Letang ranks ninth in the NHL in scoring among defenseman despite missing 10 games this season.