NEW YORK – Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, New York Islanders center John Tavares and Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the month of January.
FIRST STAR – ALEX OVECHKIN, LW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Ovechkin led all players with 12 goals, six power-play markers and 59 shots on goal to power the Capitals (25-15-10, 60 points) to a 7-3-3 January and the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He registered points in nine of 13 contests (12-3—15), highlighted by six multi-point performances and nine games in which he found the back of the net. That included a trio of multi-goal outings (Jan. 16 at NSH, Jan. 20 vs. EDM and Jan. 28 vs. PIT) as well as a pair of game-winning markers (Jan. 12 vs. COL and Jan. 28 vs. PIT). Ovechkin opened the month with 1-1—2, including the primary assist on Troy Brouwer's tiebreaking goal with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation, in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and also picked up three assists for Team Foligno in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game. The 29-year-old Moscow, Russia, native leads the NHL with 31 goals, 14 power-play markers, six game-winning goals (tied) and 248 shots on goal in 50 appearances this season. He is the fifth player in NHL history to record at least 30 goals in each of his first 10 seasons, joining Mike Gartner (15), Wayne Gretzky (13), Mike Bossy (10) and Jari Kurri (10).
SECOND STAR – JOHN TAVARES, C, NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Tavares shared third in the NHL with 16 points (8-8—16) in 12 games to lead the Islanders (32-16-1, 65 points) to a 7-5-0 January and the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. He found the scoresheet in eight of 12 contests, including seven multi-point performances. Tavares notched a trio of game-winning goals: Jan. 2 at CGY, Jan. 9 at NJD and Jan. 19 vs. PHI. That included his seventh career overtime goal (a franchise record) and third this season in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils Jan. 9 in which he factored on all three of the club's goals (2-1—3). Tavares also scored four times for Team Toews in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, equaling an NHL All-Star Game record last achieved in 2003 (Dany Heatley). The 24-year-old Mississauga, Ont., native paces the Islanders with 23-25—48 in 49 contests this season. His 23 goals share eighth in the League, while his 48 points are tied for 11th overall.
THIRD STAR – TUUKKA RASK, G, BOSTON BRUINS
Rask went 7-1-3 with a 1.61 goals-against average, .949 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Bruins (27-16-7, 61 points) to an 8-1-3 January and the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He allowed two or fewer goals in nine of 11 appearances, highlighted by a 30-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers Jan. 15. Rask made a season-high 43 saves in a 5-2 triumph over the New York Islanders Jan. 29, improving to 8-0-0 in his career when registering at least 40 stops. He also posted a four-game winning streak from Jan. 7-15, his second such run of the season (also Nov. 1-10). The 27-year-old Savonlinna, Finland, native and reigning Vezina Trophy winner has appeared in 41 games this season, compiling a 22-11-7 record with a 2.31 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and two shutouts.