-- Montreal Canadiens
right wing Alex Kovalev
, Chicago Blackhawks
goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin
and St. Louis Blues
center David Backes
have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Apr. 5.
FIRST STAR -- ALEX KOVALEV, RW, MONTREAL CANADIENS Kovalev highlights
Kovalev led all NHL scorers with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in three games as the Canadiens (41-27-10) moved closer to clinching an Eastern Conference playoff berth by posting a 3-0-0 record. Kovalev notched one goal and one assist in a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks
Mar. 31, recorded three assists in a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders
Apr. 2 and closed by the week by tallying four points (one goal, three assists) in a 6-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs
Apr. 4. Kovalev ranks second on the Canadiens in scoring with 63 points (24 goals, 39 assists) in 74 games.
SECOND STAR -- NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN, G, CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS Khabibulin highlights
Khabibulin stopped 61 of 63 shots in posting a 3-0-0 record with a 0.66 goals-against average, .968 save percentage and one shutout as the Blackhawks (43-24-11) clinched their first playoff berth since 2001-02. He began the week by recording 17 saves in a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues
Apr. 1, stopped 25 shots in a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators
Apr. 3 and recorded his second shutout of the season with 20 saves in a 1-0 overtime victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets
Apr. 5. Khabibulin improved his season record to 23-8-6 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 39 appearances.
THIRD STAR -- DAVID BACKES, C, ST. LOUIS BLUES Backes highlights
Backes led all NHL goal-scorers with five and added one assist, helping the Blues (38-31-10) maintain their surge for a Western Conference playoff berth. Backes turned in one of the top single-game performances by an NHL player this season, notching four goals, a +2 rating and a game-high nine shots in a 5-4 victory at Detroit Apr. 2. He tallied the game's first two goals in the second period, gave the Blues a 3-2 lead early in the third frame and scored the game-winner with just over four minutes left in regulation. Backes concluded the week by tallying a goal and an assist in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars
Apr. 4. Backes ranks second on the Blues in goals with a career-high 31, one behind leader Brad Boyes