NEW YORK (Dec. 15, 2008) -- Boston Bruins right wing Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Petr Sykora and Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Sunday, Dec 14.
FIRST STAR -- PHIL KESSEL, RW, BOSTON BRUINS
Kessel tallied eight points (three goals, five assists) and extended his point streak to 15 games as the Bruins went 3-1-0, improving their Eastern Conference-leading record to 21-5-4. Kessel recorded one goal and one assist in a 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay Dec. 8, notched an assist in a 3-1 loss at Washington Dec. 10, tallied a goal and two assists in a 7-3 win at Atlanta Dec. 12 and closed the week with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Thrashers Dec. 13. Kessel's point streak is a career longest by a Bruins player since Adam Oates recorded points in 20 consecutive games from Jan. 7 to Feb. 20, 1997. The 21-year-old Madison, Wisconsin native is second in Bruins scoring with 31 points (19 goals, 12 assists) in 30 games, ranks third in the NHL in goals and already has matched his career high of 19 goals set last season. SECOND STAR -- PETR SYKORA, RW, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Sykora recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) in four games, beginning with a pair of assists in a 4-3 loss against Buffalo Dec. 8 (Aftermath
). He recorded his first career NHL hat trick and added one assist in a 9-2 victory over the New York Islanders Dec. 11 (Aftermath
) and recorded two assists in a 6-3 loss at Philadelphia Dec. 13 (Aftermath
). The 13-year NHL veteran had entered the Islanders game with 282 career NHL goals, the most among active players who had not recorded a hat trick.
THIRD STAR -- THOMAS VANEK, LW, BUFFALO SABRES
Vanek notched a League-leading five goals, including two game-winning tallies, as the Sabres won three of four games. He scored the game-winning goal and became the first player to hit the 20-goal mark in a 4-3 win against Pittsburgh Dec. 8, notched two goals, including the game-winner, in a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay Dec. 10 and scored twice more in a 4-2 win at New Jersey Dec. 13. Vanek leads the NHL in goals with 24, three more than Philadelphia's Jeff Carter, and has scored the highest percentage of his team's goals this season (24/81, 29.6%).