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Staal named NHL's First Star for month of February

Wild center tied for the League lead in both goals and points, helping Minnesota to 9-2-2 record

by Dan Myers @DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- Wild forward Eric Staal has been named the NHL's First Star of the Month for February.

Staal tied for the League lead with 13 goals and 21 points and was a plus-11, helping Minnesota to a 9-2-2 record and a rise into third place in the Central Division standings.

"It is an honor. This is a great league with a lot of great players so to be recognized in that respect is nice for sure," Staal said. It [speaks] a lot to the guys that I'm playing with. We have a great team and a good thing going, especially over this last month. You want to continue to carry that and hopefully continue it here heading into March."



Staal tallied at least one point in 11 of 13 games last month, including his 14th career hat trick against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. It marked the first time he scored three goals in a game since Jan. 24, 2013 when he was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Video: STL@MIN: Staal notches hat trick in five-point game

In addition, Staal had two other multi-goal games (Feb. 2 against Vegas and Feb. 23 against the New York Rangers) and one other multi-point game (Feb. 6 at St. Louis). His five-point game to wrap the month against the Blues tied a career high, as he and Jason Zucker -- who also had five points that night -- became the third and fourth players in franchise history to reach five in a single game.

On the season, Staal ranks tied for fourth in the NHL with 33 goals and tied for 16th with 64 points. With a goal Feb. 22 at New Jersey, he became the 110th player in League history to notch 900 career points.

Video: Eric Staal named February First Star

"It's nice. I don't think it's going to change anything for me," Staal said of getting League-wide accolades. "I've been around for a long time. I've played a lot of games. I'm very fortunate to be able to do that.

"It's been great coming here to Minnesota. I've loved every minute suiting up for the Wild and playing in front of our fans. I keep wanting to do well to show these people that I'm a good player and that I can play. The biggest thing now is, as a group, continuing to get better. I think we're playing really good hockey right now and we've got to keep building. Just finish strong and then do well in the playoffs. That's what it's all about." 

It's the sixth time in team history a Wild player has been named an NHL Player of the Month, but the first time for a skater; each of the previous five honors were awarded to goaltenders.

Staal is the Wild's second-ever First Star of the Month, and the first since Devan Dubnyk in February of 2015.


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