PANARIN, LUNDQVIST AND STAAL NAMED NHL ‘THREE STARS’ OF THE WEEK
Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Dec. 18.
FIRST STAR – ARTEMI PANARIN, LW, CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Panarin paced the NHL with seven assists and 10 points in four games – all multi-point performances – to help the League-leading Blackhawks (22-8-4, 48 points) stretch their overall winning streak to five contests. He recorded assists on both goals in a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers Dec. 13. Panarin then posted consecutive three-point efforts, registering 2-1—3 in a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders Dec. 15 and 1-2—3 in a 6-4 triumph over the St. Louis Blues Dec. 17. He capped the week with another two-assist performance in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks Dec. 18. The 25-year-old Korkino, Russia, native and reigning Calder Memorial Trophy winner ranks fourth in the NHL with 14-20—34 in 34 outings this season.
SECOND STAR – HENRIK LUNDQVIST, G, NEW YORK RANGERS
Lundqvist went 3-0-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average and .967 save percentage to backstop the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers (23-10-1, 47 points) to six out of a possible eight standings points. He recorded 27 saves in a 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars Dec. 15, combining with Antti Raanta for the first joint shutout in franchise history. Lundqvist then earned back-to-back shootout victories, making 31 stops in a 2-1 triumph over the Nashville Predators Dec. 17 and 29 saves in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils Dec. 18. In doing so, the 34-year-old Are, Sweden, native – who owns a 15-8-1 record in 24 games this season (2.34 GAA, .920 SV%, 1 SO) – tied Dominik Hasek for the most wins by a European-goaltender in NHL history (389).
THIRD STAR – ERIC STAAL, C, MINNESOTA WILD
Staal shared the League lead with four goals (4-1—5) in three outings as the Wild (18-8-4, 40 points) extended their winning streak to seven games, their longest such run since March 14-27, 2013 (also 7-0-0). He scored once in a 5-1 triumph over the Florida Panthers Dec. 13, added two goals (including the winner) in a 5-2 victory against the Nashville Predators Dec. 15 and registered 1-1—2 in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes Dec. 17. The 32-year-old Thunder Bay, Ont., native – who signed with the Wild during the offseason – paces Minnesota in goals (t-10), assists (14) and points (24) in 30 appearances this season.
* Information provided via NHL Press Release