NEW YORK - Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine and Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 4.
FIRST STAR - NATHAN MacKINNON, C, COLORADO AVALANCHE
MacKinnon led the NHL in goals (t-5), assists (6) and points (11) to propel the Avalanche (35-24-6, 76 points) to a 3-0-1 week and within one point of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. He posted 2-1-3, including the winning goal, in a 3-1 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks Feb. 26, followed by 1-1-2 in a 5-2 victory against the Calgary Flames Feb. 28. MacKinnon then registered 2-3-5, his second career five-point game (also Nov. 16, 2017 vs. WSH: 1-4-5), in a 7-1 win over the Minnesota Wild March 2. He closed the week with one assist in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators March 4. The 22-year-old Halifax, N.S., native paces the NHL with 1.35 points per game this season, ranking fifth overall with a career-high 31-46-77 in 57 outings. That includes a League-best 7-9-16 in eight contests since returning from injury Feb. 18.
SECOND STAR - PATRIK LAINE, RW, WINNIPEG JETS
Laine recorded multiple points in all three of his appearances, ranking third in the NHL with 4-3-7 to lift the Jets (39-17-9, 87 points) to a pair of victories. He collected two assists in a 6-5 loss to the Nashville Predators Feb. 27. Laine then scored twice, including the decisive goal, in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings March 2. He capped the week with 2-1-3, his third three-point performance of the season, in a 3-2 triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes March 4. The 19-year-old Tampere, Finland, native shares third place in the NHL with 35 goals in 65 contests this season (35-23-58), including a League-best 10 during an eight-game point streak dating to Feb. 16 (10-6-16). Laine's 71 career goals (in 138 GP) are the sixth-most by a teenager in League history.
THIRD STAR - ALEKSANDER BARKOV, C, FLORIDA PANTHERS
Barkov shared the League lead with five goals in four games (5-1-6) as the Panthers (32-25-6, 70 points) extended their winning streak to six contests and moved within one point of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He scored once in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs Feb. 27. Barkov then registered two goals, including the winner, in a 3-2 triumph over the New Jersey Devils March 1. He added one goal in a 4-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres March 2 and 1-1-2 in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers March 4. The 22-year-old Tampere, Finland, native leads Florida and ranks 19th in the NHL with a career-high 25-39-64 in 62 contests this season, including 5-5-10 during a six-game point streak.