Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin, Los Angeles Kings goaltender Martin Jones and Nashville Predators goaltender Carter Hutton have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Dec. 15.
FIRST STAR – ALEX OVECHKIN, RW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Ovechkin led the NHL with five goals and tied for third with six points as the Capitals (18-12-3, 39 points) earned five out of a possible six points to maintain second place in the Metropolitan Division. He began the week by recording his third career four-goal game (and 13th career hat trick), including the tying marker with 32.4 seconds remaining in regulation, in a 6-5 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Dec. 10. After being held off the scoresheet in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers Dec. 13, Ovechkin posted 1-1—2, including the tying goal with 47.9 seconds left in the third period, in a 5-4 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers Dec. 15, the Capitals' second three-goal comeback of the week. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ovechkin has seven game-tying goals in the final minute of regulation during his NHL career; no other player has scored more than four such goals since he entered the League in October 2005. The 28-year-old Moscow native leads the NHL with 27 goals in 31 games this season and is tied for fifth with 37 points.
SECOND STAR – MARTIN JONES, G, LOS ANGELES KINGS
Jones posted a 3-0-0 record with a 1.00 goals-against average, .972 save percentage and one shutout to help the Kings (22-8-4, 48 points) move into second place in the Pacific Division and third in the League standings. He made 31 saves for his second consecutive shutout in a 6-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens Dec. 10. Jones then extended his shutout streak to 177:16 before allowing a second-period goal in a 3-1 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs Dec. 11. He capped the week by recording 37 saves in a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators Dec. 14, the second consecutive game in which he faced 39 shots. The 23-year-old North Vancouver, B.C., native made his League debut Dec. 3 and is 5-0-0 with a 0.99 goals-against average, .967 save percentage and two shutouts in his first five NHL games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first goaltender in League history to allow an average of less than one goal per game while winning each of his first five career appearances.
THIRD STAR – CARTER HUTTON, G, NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Hutton compiled a 3-0-0 record with a 1.33 goals-against average and .960 save percentage to lead the Predators (16-14-3, 35 points) to their second three-game winning streak of the season (also Nov. 16-21). He allowed one goal in both a 4-1 triumph over the New York Rangers Dec. 10 (28 saves) and a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars Dec. 12 (33 saves). Hutton then posted 36 saves, his second-highest total of the season, in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks Dec. 14. The 27-year-old Thunder Bay, Ont., native has appeared in 14 games this season, posting a 7-3-1 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.