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Leafs captain Mats Sundin named NHL's first star of the week

NHL.com @NHL

NEW YORK - The NHL's points leader is the league's first star of the month for February.

Pittsburgh Penguins centre Evgeni Malkin led all players with 26 points (9-17) in 14 games. The Penguins had an 8-3-3 record during the month and climbed near the top of the Eastern Conference. Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco was given the second star while Buffalo Sabres winger Thomas Vanek was named the third star.

Turco had a 9-2-0 record in February with a 1.90 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. Vanek put up 20 points (13-7) in 15 games as the Sabres went 8-4-3.

Malkin, who has 88 points (37-51) in 67 games this season, was three points ahead of Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin entering Monday night's games.

Also Monday, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin was named the NHL's first star of the week. Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was the second star while Philadelphia Flyers winger Mike Knuble was the third star. Thomas was 3-0-0 with a 0.97 GAA and .962 save percentage and Knuble had eight points (3-5) in four games.

Sundin had eight points (4-4) in four games, raising his game level during an emotional week when he decided not to waive his no-trade clause before the trade deadline. It was a decision that was criticized by some but the Leafs star denied he was trying to prove a point with his performance.

"I don't know about silencing the critics," Sundin said Monday after practice in Toronto. "As I've said, it was decision that not everybody was going to like. And I understand that. Either way if I would have chosen to go there would have been people not liking it.

"I had to do what was right for me. I hope people respect me for that."

At 37, Sundin is playing some of the best hockey of his career.

"As my career as gone on, I actually maybe enjoy playing even more now at this stage," said Sundin. "I've said it before, I think maybe sometimes when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, I don't know... I just seem to be enjoy coming and playing every day."

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