NEW YORK - Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 5.
FIRST STAR - NIKITA KUCHEROV, RW, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Kucherov led the NHL with 5-4-9 in four games to power the Lightning (30-26-8, 68 points) to three wins. He opened the week with his second career hat trick and fourth career four-point effort (3-1-4), including the decisive goal, in a 5-1 triumph over the Ottawa Senators Feb. 27. Kucherov then registered 1-2-3, including the primary assist on the overtime winner, in a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes March 1. He added one goal in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins March 3 before closing the week with one assist - as well as a highlight-reel goal to clinch the shootout - in a 2-1 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres March 4. The 23-year-old Maykop, Russia, native, who has 7-7-14 during a six-game point streak, ranks in the top 10 in the NHL in goals (t-10th; 28), points (10th; 63), power-play goals (t-3rd; 12) and power-play points (8th; 23) through 57 contests this season.
SECOND STAR - SERGEI BOBROVSKY, G, COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Bobrovsky turned aside 87-of-88 shots, going 2-0-1 with a 0.33 goals-against average, .989 save percentage and two shutouts to guide the Blue Jackets (41-17-6, 88 points) to five out of a possible eight standings points. He made 29 saves in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens Feb. 28. Bobrovsky then posted consecutive shutouts (a first in his NHL career), stopping all 38 shots he faced in a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild March 2 and all 20 shots he saw in a 3-0 triumph against the New Jersey Devils March 5. The 28-year-old Novokuznetsk, Russia, native has appeared in 51 games this season, ranking in the top five in the League in wins (t-2nd; 34), goals-against average (3rd; 2.09), save percentage (5th; .929) and shutouts (t-4th; 5). His 34 victories are a single-season franchise record, breaking the mark set by Steve Mason in 2008-09 (33 W in 61 GP).
THIRD STAR - CAREY PRICE, G, MONTREAL CANADIENS
Price went 3-0-0 with a 0.66 goals-against average, .974 save percentage and one shutout to propel the Canadiens (37-21-8, 82 points) to a perfect 4-0-0 week. He earned his 39th career shutout with 26 saves in a 1-0 overtime victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets Feb. 28. Price then allowed only one goal in each of his next two starts, making 24 saves in a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators March 2 and 26 saves in a 4-1 triumph against the New York Rangers March 4. The 29-year-old Anahim Lake, B.C., native owns a 29-16-5 record, 2.31 goals-against average, .922 save percentage and three shutouts in 50 outings this season.