NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard and Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 17.


Kucherov tied for the League points lead (2-5—7) in just two games, helping the Lightning (36-25-6, 78 points) defeat a pair of the top-ranked teams in the Eastern Conference to strengthen their hold on the first Wild Card berth. Kucherov began the week by recording his sixth career five-point game (1-4—5) in a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers March 14. In the process he reached the 70-assist mark for the third time in his career (also 83 in 2022-23 and 87 in 2018-19), joining Connor McDavid (six) as the only active players with 3+ 70-assist seasons. The 10-year Lightning star followed up with a one-goal, one-assist effort in a 5-3 win over the intra-state rival Florida Panthers March 16, reaching the 40-goal plateau for the third time. Only Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (six) has more 40-goal seasons in franchise history. Kucherov increased his season points total to 40-74—114 in 66 games, closing within two points of scoring leader Nathan MacKinnon (42-74—116) in his bid for a second career Art Ross Trophy. Kucherov swept the Art Ross, Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award honors in 2018-19.

NYR@TBL: Point wires one in top shelf off Kucherov's saucer


Bedard earned a share of the League points lead last week (2-5—7 in 3 GP), helping the Blackhawks post a pair of wins. The first overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft set several notable marks with a five-point performance (1-4—5) in a 7-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks March 12. His goal was his 20th of the season, joining Eddie Olczyk (20 in 1984-85) as just the second 18-year-old to score 20 in a campaign for the Blackhawks. His five-point game matched Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (0-5—5 on Nov. 19, 2011), Ilya Kovalchuk (1-4—5 on Jan. 19, 2002), Dale Hawerchuk (3-2—5 on March 13, 1982) and Jack Hamilton (4-1—5 on Dec. 4, 1943) as just the fifth by an 18-year-old in NHL history. Nugent-Hopkins and Kovalchuk are the only other 18-year-olds with a four-assist game. Bedard was held off the scoresheet in a 5-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings March 15 and ended the week by notching his 12th multi-point game of 2023-24 (1-1—2) in a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks March 17. The NHL's rookie scoring leader increased his season points total to 21-32—53 in 54 GP, with his points-per-game rate of .98 ranking sixth among all rookies in the past 20 seasons (min. 40 GP).

ANA@CHI: Bedard sets career high with five-point night


Fleury went 2-0-1 with a 0.97 goals-against average and .961 save percentage in three games, helping the Wild (33-27-8, 74 points) close within five points of a playoff berth in the Western Conference. He turned aside 22 of 23 shots in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes March 12 before recording the 75th shutout of his career (16 saves) in a 2-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks March 14. Fleury moved within one shutout of climbing into the top 10 in NHL history. He closed the week making 35 saves in a 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues March 16. Playing in his 20th NHL season, the League's active wins leader improved his career record to 560-326-95 in 1,019 appearances, ranking second all-time in wins (560), third in saves (26,456) and fourth in goaltender games (1,019) and minutes played (58,953:51). The Wild are 5-1-2 in March, tied for the most points (12) among all NHL teams since the start of the month.

ANA@MIN: Fleury blanks Ducks with 16 saves