SPEZZA, RINNE AND MALKIN NAMED NHL 'THREE STARS' OF THE WEEK
NEW YORK (December 19, 2011) --
Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne
and Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Dec. 18.FIRST STAR -- JASON SPEZZA, C, OTTAWA SENATORS
Spezza tallied eight points (three goals, five assists), highlighted by multiple-point games in each start, as the Senators (15-14-4) ended the week one point from a top-eight position in the Eastern Conference. Spezza notched two assists in a 3-2 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres Dec. 13, figured in both Ottawa goals (one goal, one assist) in a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins Dec. 14 and finished the week with a season-high four points (two goals, two assists) and +4 rating in a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Dec. 16. The second overall pick in the 2001 draft leads the Senators in scoring and ranks seventh in the NHL overall with 36 points (12 goals, 24 assists), just three behind League leader Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs (19-20--39). With 568 career points in 559 NHL games, Spezza's 1.02 points-per-game average ranks fourth among active players with at least 500 career games (Washington's Alex Ovechkin, 1.26; Philadelphia's Jaromir Jagr, 1.25 and Anaheim's Teemu Selanne, 1.06).SECOND STAR -- PEKKA RINNE, G, NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Rinne posted a 3-0-0 record, 1.62 goals-against average and .957 save percentage, helping the Predators (17-11-4) extend their winning streak to five games and climb to seventh place in the Western Conference. He made at least 35 saves in each start, beginning with 35 in a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames Dec. 13. He turned aside 37 shots in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings Dec. 15 and matched his season high with 39 saves plus three shootout stops in a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues Dec. 17. Rinne improved his season record to 15-9-4 with a 2.42 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and three shutouts. He leads all NHL goaltenders in appearances (29), shots faced (891) and saves (823).THIRD STAR -- EVGENI MALKIN, C, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Malkin led all NHL players in points and goals last week (5-3--8), earning points on 62% of the Penguins' tallies. He began the week by recording Pittsburgh's only goal in a 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings Dec 13. He tallied one goal and one assist in a 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators Dec. 16 and finished the week by recording five points, including the seventh hat trick of his NHL career, in an 8-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Dec. 17. Malkin leads the Penguins in scoring and ranks fourth in the NHL overall with 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 26 games. He has 12 points during a five-game scoring streak.