NEW YORK --
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton
, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending March 9.
|San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton celebrates with teammates Brian Campbell (51) after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, Mar. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) |
Thornton, who was named the NHL’s third star, finished second among NHL scorers with seven points (two goals, five assists) and posted a +6 rating in four games as the Sharks extended their winning streak to a franchise-record nine games.
“Our confidence level is as high as it could possibly be right now,” explained Thornton during an NHL conference call on Monday. “Everybody is playing really great. We don’t have necessarily one thing that’s going incredibly well, we’re just playing every game really well and getting production of our second, third and fourth lines.”
Over the past week, the 2006 Hart Memorial and Art Ross Trophy winner notched a season-high four points (two goals, two assists) in a 6-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens Mar. 3, recorded one assist in a 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators Mar. 5 and tallied two assists in a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Mar. 7. Thornton ranks fourth in the NHL scoring with 81 points (19 goals, 62 assists) and is tied for the League lead in assists with Boston's Marc Savard.
The Sharks (40-21-8, 88 points) are second in the Pacific Division, trailing the Dallas Stars by one point with three games in hand.
“It’s a really tough division we’re in but we want to get up as high as we can and get a home series for sure,” added Thornton. “It is a battle in the Pacific Division, but I like our chances.”
Ovechkin, who earned the NHL’s first star, reached the 50-goal mark for the second time in his three NHL seasons Mar. 3, scoring a hat trick and adding two assists in Washington's 10-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. He reached the milestone in his team's 67th game of the season, the fastest since the Pittsburgh Penguins' Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux (59th game) and the Buffalo Sabres' Alexander Mogilny (63rd game) in 1995-96.
Ovechkin later scored a pair of goals in a 3-1 victory over the Sabres Mar. 5, tallied one assist in a 2-1 loss to the Bruins Mar. 8 and finished the week with two assists in a 4-2 loss to the Penguins Mar. 9. Ovechkin leads the NHL scoring race with 95 points (54-41--95) in 70 games.
The NHL’s second star was awarded to Brodeur who posted a 3-0-0 record with a 0.98 goals-against average and .972 save percentage as the Devils (40-23-6, 86 points) moved into first place in the Eastern Conference.
New Jersey’s netminder stopped 41 of 42 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Mar. 4, made 21 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Mar. 7 and closed the week with a 42-save effort in a 2-1 victory over Toronto Mar. 8.
Brodeur ranks second among NHL goaltenders with 38 victories and is among the League leaders in goals-against average (third, 2.12) and save percentage (second, .922). He is two victories shy of posting his NHL-record seventh 40-win season and becoming the first goaltender in League history to post three consecutive 40-win campaigns.