Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/01/12 at 02:07 PM ET
NEW YORK (March 1, 2012) – Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the month of February.
FIRST STAR – MIKE SMITH, G, PHOENIX COYOTES
Smith went 11-0-0 and led the League in wins as Phoenix earned 23 out of a possible 24 points to climb to first place in the Pacific Division.
His 11-game winning streak is a franchise record and is tied for the longest in the NHL this season. Smith also was tied for first in February with a .952 save percentage and ranked second with a 1.42 goals-against average. He recorded back-to-back shutouts Feb. 11 against the Chicago Blackhawks and Feb. 16 at the Los Angeles Kings and posted a career-high 171:26 shutout sequence that ended Feb. 18 against the Dallas Stars. The Kingston, Ontario native is tied for fifth in the League with 29 wins and ranks in the top 10 in goals-against average (2.24), save percentage (.927) and shutouts (four) in 50 appearances this season.
SECOND STAR – ERIK KARLSSON, D, OTTAWA SENATORS
Karlsson had 7-11—18 and a +8 rating to help the Senators post a 7-3-2 record and pull within one point of the Boston Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division. He led all defensemen in goals and tied for the League lead among blueliners in points. Karlsson has points in eight consecutive games dating to Feb. 11, including the game-winning goal in three of Ottawa’s past seven contests (Feb. 14 at Tampa Bay Lightning, Feb. 20 at New York Islanders, Feb. 28 at Boston Bruins). The 21-year-old already has established single-season franchise records among defensemen for points (66), assists (51) and multi-point games (18) in 64 appearances.
THIRD STAR – STEVEN STAMKOS, C, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Stamkos led the League in goals (11) and points (22) to keep the Lightning in the Eastern Conference playoff race. He began the month with a five-game point streak, posting 4-4—8, including goals in four consecutive contests. Stamkos again scored in four straight games from Feb. 16 through Feb. 23, totaling six tallies. He had a season-high four points (two goals, two assists) in a 6-5 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks Feb. 16 and recorded his ninth game-winning goal, a franchise record, Feb. 18 against the Washington Capitals. The No. 1 pick in the 2008 NHL Draft leads the NHL with 44 goals and ranks second with 76 points in 63 games.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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