St. Louis Blues left wing Alexander Steen, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and San Jose Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the month of October.
FIRST STAR – ALEXANDER STEEN, LW, ST. LOUIS BLUES
Steen led all players with 11 goals, scoring in nine of 10 games and on 35.5% of his shots on goal, to help the Blues pick up 16 out of a possible 20 points (7-1-2). He posted five multi-point games, including 1-3—4 versus the New York Rangers Oct. 12, and also tied for second in the League with four power-play goals. Steen scored two game-winning goals, both in the final minute of regulation: Oct. 9 versus the Chicago Blackhawks (19:38 of the 3rd period) and Oct. 29 against the Winnipeg Jets (19:00). He has found the back of the net in each of his past five games, totaling 7-1—8 in that span. The 29-year-old Winnipeg native leads the Blues and ranks fifth in the NHL with 16 points (11-5—16) in 10 games.
SECOND STAR – SIDNEY CROSBY, C, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Crosby paced the NHL with 21 points (8-13—21) in 13 games to lead the Penguins to first place in the Metropolitan Division (9-4-0, 18 points). He opened 2013-14 with points in each of his first eight games (7-10—17), his longest stretch to begin a season. Crosby also had six multi-point efforts, including his eighth career regular-season hat trick Oct. 12 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning (3?1—4) and three-point performances against both the Edmonton Oilers Oct. 15 and Vancouver Canucks Oct. 19. The 26-year-old Cole Harbour, N.S., native finished the month with points in 11 of 13 games; the Penguins went 9-2-0 in games in which he recorded a point, versus 0-2-0 when he failed to do so.
THIRD STAR – ANTTI NIEMI, G, SAN JOSE SHARKS
Niemi posted a 9-1-2 record with a 1.72 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and two shutouts in helping the Sharks earn a League-best 22 points (10-1-2). He allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his 12 appearances, including shutout victories over the Detroit Red Wings Oct. 21 (24 saves) and Montreal Canadiens Oct. 26 (22 saves). Niemi shared the NHL lead in wins and shutouts, while also placing in the top three in goals-against average and minutes (730:44). The 30-year-old Vantaa, Finland, native is playing in his fifth full NHL season and fourth with the Sharks after backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 2010.