Penguins blueliner Kris Letang was named the NHL’s ‘Third Star’ of the week today following back-to-back three-point games.
The 28-year-old Letang finished the week ending Jan. 3 with six points (2G-4A) in three appearances, a total that led all league defensemen.
Only three NHL players – fellow teammate Evgeni Malkin, and Chicago’s Patrick Kane and the Kings’ Anze Kopitar – recorded more points than Letang. All three had seven points each.
Letang was a huge difference maker during Pittsburgh’s 5-2 comeback win from a 2-0 deficit on Dec. 31 in Detroit. He scored a power-play goal that tied the game at 2-2 in the second period, and later added another goal and an assist to polish off his first three-point game of the year (2G-1A).
Two days later, Letang helped Pittsburgh register a second-straight victory, the team’s second-consecutive Metropolitan Division win, by collecting three assists in a 5-1 defeat of the New York Islanders.
Letang leads Pittsburgh blueliners this season with 22 points (3G-19A) in 29 games. His average of 0.76 points per game is the sixth-best figure among NHL defensemen.
This season the Penguins have compiled a record of 18-8-3 (.672 pct.) with Letang in the lineup versus just a 1-7-1 (.167 pct.) mark without him.
Letang and the Penguins begin a home-and-home series with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at CONSOL Energy Center. Pittsburgh will enter that contest with a 4-1-1 record in its last six games.