NEW YORK (Dec. 30, 2019) – Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington and Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Dec. 29.
FIRST STAR – VICTOR HEDMAN, D, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Hedman shared the League lead with six assists and paced all skaters with 2-6—8 in three contests, including back-to-back games with at least three points, to help the Lightning (20-13-4, 44 points) to a perfect 3-0-0 week. Hedman opened the week by recording 2-1—3, his sixth career multi-goal game, in a 6-1 win over the Florida Panthers Dec. 23. He followed that up by establishing a career high with four assists – his third career four-point game – in a 5-4 victory against the Montreal Canadiens Dec. 28. In doing so, he registered consecutive games with at least three points for the second time in his career (also Jan. 23-25, 2014) – no other Lightning defenseman has posted back-to-back three-point showings. He capped the week with one assist in a 2-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings Dec. 29, his third point of the week on a game-winning goal (1-2—3). A 29-year-old native of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, Hedman ranks third in scoring among defensemen with 9-28—37 in 35 games, an average of 1.06 points-per-game.
SECOND STAR – JORDAN BINNINGTON, G, ST. LOUIS BLUES
Binnington started all three games for the Western Conference-leading Blues (26-8-6, 58 points) while posting a perfect 3-0-0 record with a 1.96 goals-against average and .929 save percentage to help St. Louis extend its season-high win streak to eight games. He started the week with 29 saves in a 4-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings Dec. 23. Binnington returned from the holiday break with consecutive 25-save wins over the Winnipeg Jets, first a 5-4 overtime win Dec. 27 and then a 4-1 victory Dec. 29. Binnington shares the NHL lead with 19 wins in 2019-20 (19-6-4 in 29 GP) – including an active six-game winning streak – and ranks among the top 10 in goals-against average (4th; 2.39) and save percentage (6th; .921) among goaltenders with at least 20 appearances. The 26-year-old native of Richmond Hill, Ont., is set to close the 2019 calendar year as the League leader in regular-season wins (43), the most ever in a calendar year by a Blues goaltender (besting Mike Liut’s mark of 40 set in 1980).
THIRD STAR – JOHN TAVARES, C, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Tavares ranked second in the NHL with 2-5—7 in three games, posting a three-point game on either side of the holiday break, to help the Maple Leafs (21-14-5, 47 points) claim five of a possible six standings points (2-0-1). He started the week by factoring on each of Toronto’s first three goals in an 8-6 win against the Carolina Hurricanes Dec. 23, collecting all three points (1-2—3) within the first 5:10 of the game to establish a franchise record for fastest three points from the start of a game. The Maple Leafs captain again had 1-2—3 in a 5-4 overtime victory over the New Jersey Devils Dec. 27, the seventh set of back-to-back three-point games in his NHL career. He closed the week with one assist in a 5-4 overtime defeat against the New York Rangers Dec. 28. The 29-year-old native of Mississauga, Ont., has had at least three points in a regular-season game 58 times; only six players have more such performances since 2009-10.