NEW YORK – Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell, New York Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot and Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 15.
FIRST STAR – SCOTT HARTNELL, LW, COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Hartnell led the NHL with five goals and shared second in the League with five points to power the Blue Jackets (30-35-4, 64 points) to three wins in four starts. He scored twice, his fifth multi-goal game of the season, in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes March 10. Hartnell then notched his first game-winning goal of the campaign in a 3-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings March 12 and reached the 20-goal milestone for the eighth time in his 14 NHL seasons in a 5-4 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers March 13. He closed the week by recording the tying goal in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes March 15. The 32-year-old Regina, Sask., native has scored in four consecutive games for the second time in his career (also Dec. 2-13, 2011: 6-2-8 in 6 GP w/ PHI). He ranks third on the Blue Jackets with 21-27-48 in 64 games this season, including 7-2-9 in his past eight outings.
SECOND STAR – CAM TALBOT, G, NEW YORK RANGERS
Talbot went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .969 save percentage to backstop the Rangers (44-17-7, 95 points) to the No. 1 overall position in the NHL standings. He made 29 saves in a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders March 10, followed by 28 stops in a 3-1 triumph over the Washington Capitals March 11. He then matched a career high with 38 saves in a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers March 15, his sixth consecutive decision with at least one point (5-0-1). The 27-year-old Caledonia, Ont., native has appeared in 29 games this season, compiling a 17-6-4 record with a 2.19 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and five shutouts. He has earned at least one point in 15 of his last 16 appearances (12-1-3), yielding one goal or fewer through regulation in six straight games.
THIRD STAR – ANDREW HAMMOND, G, OTTAWA SENATORS
Hammond posted a 3-0-0 record with a 1.30 goals-against average and .957 save percentage to pull the Senators (33-24-11, 77 points) within five points of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He made 27 saves in a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens March 12. Hammond followed that performance with 34 stops in a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders March 13. He capped the week by denying 27 shots – as well as all three attempts he faced in the shootout – in a 2-1 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers March 15. The 27-year-old White Rock, B.C., native has gone 10-0-1 since making his first NHL start Feb. 18, allowing two goals or fewer in all 11 games. He is the second goaltender in League history to achieve that feat; Frank Brimsek yielded two goals or fewer in each of his first 12 career starts for the Boston Bruins in 1938-39.