Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl and Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the month of January.
FIRST STAR – ALEX OVECHKIN, LW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Ovechkin led the NHL in goals (13) and ranked fifth in points (15) in January as he surpassed four Hockey Hall of Fame members on the NHL’s all-time goals list to move within five goals of 700 in his career and help the Capitals (35-12-5, 75 points) maintain their position as the League’s No. 1 team for a second straight month. The 34-year-old recorded three straight multi-goal games for the first time in his career (Jan. 13-18) and also netted 11 goals in five games for the first time (Jan. 13-31). He scored a hat trick on both Jan. 16 and Jan. 18 to become the third player in NHL history – and just the second in the past 98 years – to record consecutive hat tricks three times in his career, joining Wayne Gretzky (3x) and Joe Malone (4x). A total of five multi-goal games in January helped him score 13 or more goals in a calendar month for the first time since April 2013 and fifth time in his career. On track to become the second-fastest player in NHL history to reach the 700-goal mark (behind Gretzky), Ovechkin begins February with a share of the League lead in goals in 2019-20 (37). The eight-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner needs three goals to join Gretzky (12) as the second player to hit the 40-goal mark in 11 seasons.
SECOND STAR – LEON DRAISAITL, C, EDMONTON OILERS
Draisaitl led the NHL with 1.89 points-per-game in January (min. 3 GP), tallying 6-11—17 in nine games to boost his 2019-20 totals to 29-50—79 (51 GP), overtaking teammate Connor McDavid (27-50—77 in 51 GP) for the NHL lead in points and helping the Oilers (27-18-6, 60 points) post the best points percentage among Pacific Division clubs last month (.778). Draisaitl recorded at least one point in all nine games in January to extend his overall point streak to 10 contests dating to New Year’s Eve (7-11—18), his second-longest run of the season (13 GP from Oct. 24-Nov. 19). The 24-year-old is the first Oilers player in 31 years to record multiple double-digit point streaks in a single season (Jimmy Carson in 1988-89). A native of Cologne, Germany, Draisaitl paces all players with 24 multi-point games in 2019-20 (including seven in January) as he aims to become the first German player to lead the League in points at the end of a season.
THIRD STAR – ANDREI VASILEVSKIY, G, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Vasilevskiy led the NHL in wins (9), goals-against average (1.58) and save percentage (.948; tied), posting a 9-0-1 record across 10 games to help the Lightning (31-15-5, 67 points) register a League-high 10 wins in January (10-2-1; .808 P%) to move within five points of first place in the Atlantic Division. Vasilevskiy allowed two or fewer goals in seven of ten appearances including the fourth set of back-to-back shutouts of his career (Jan. 9 and Jan. 11). The 25-year-old became the eighth goaltender in NHL history to record zero regulation losses in a calendar month multiple times in his career (min. 10 GP in each; 9-0-2 in February 2019). A native of Tyumen, Russia, Vasilevskiy leads the NHL with 26 wins in 2019-20 – after topping the League with 39 victories last season – and carries an active 15-game point streak into February (13-0-2 dating to Dec. 17). His 15-game point streak is the second-longest in franchise history (Nikolai Khabibulin: 12-0-4 from Feb. 15 – April 2, 2003) and third-longest in the NHL over the past five seasons (Tuukka Rask: 19 GP in 2017-18 and Sergei Bobrovsky: 16 GP in 2016-17).
Blackhawks’ Kubalik Named NHL ‘Rookie of the Month’ for January
Chicago Blackhawks left wing Dominik Kubalik, who led all rookies in goals (10) and points (14) in 10 games, has been named the NHL’s “Rookie of the Month” for January. Kubalik’s 10 goals matched the franchise rookie record for goals in a calendar month (Alex DeBrincat in November 2017) and placed him in a tie for second among all NHL players in January behind Alex Ovechkin (13).
Kubalik edged Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (8-2-0, 1.72 GAA, .948 SV%, 3 SO), Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov (6-0-0, 1.69 GAA, .944 SV%, 1 SO), New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (1-8—9 in 10 GP), Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (3-5—8 in 9 GP) and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (3-5—8 in 11 GP) for the honor.
Kubalik began January with a three-assist showing in Vancouver to jumpstart a six-game point streak that spanned Jan. 2-14 (7-3—10). It was the longest point streak by a Chicago rookie since Artemi Panarin had an equal run in 2015-16 en route to winning the Calder Trophy; it also matched the longest point streak by an NHL rookie in 2019-20.
Kubalik’s point streak concluded with back-to-back two-goal games, at home Jan. 11 against the Anaheim Ducks and Jan. 14 at the Ottawa Senators. Those performances were part of a five-game goal streak, the longest by a Blackhawks rookie since Jeremy Roenick in 1989-90 and tied for the second-longest such run by a rookie in franchise history.
The 24-year-old had at least one point in eight of 10 outings in January to become the first rookie to reach the 20-goal mark in 2019-20, doing so with his third multi-goal performance of the month Jan. 18 in Toronto – in highlight-reel fashion during his 47th NHL game. He also became the first rookie in the 93-season history of the franchise to register three multi-goal games in a span of four contests.
The native of Plzen, Czech Republic leads all rookies in goals (21) and ranks fourth in points (32) across 49 contests overall in 2019-20. A seventh-round pick (191st overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in 2013, Kubalik was acquired by the Blackhawks in January 2019.