Montreal Canadiens right wing Alex Kovalev, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and St. Louis Blues center David Backes have been named the NHL's 'hree Stars for the week ending Apr. 5.

FIRST STAR -- Alex Kovalev, RW, Canadiens

Kovalev led all NHL scorers with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in three games as the Canadiens (41-27-10) moved closer to clinching an Eastern Conference playoff berth with a 3-0-0 record. He had a goal and assist in a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on March 31, was credited with three assists in a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on April 2 and closed by the week with four points (one goal, three assists) in a 6-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 4. Kovalev ranks second on the Canadiens in scoring with 63 points (24 goals, 39 assists) in 74 games.

SECOND STAR -- Nikolai Khabibulin, G, Blackhawks

Khabibulin stopped 61 of 63 shots while posting a 3-0-0 record with a 0.66 goals-against average, .968 save percentage and one shutout as the Blackhawks (43-24-11) clinched their first playoff berth since 2001-02. He began the week with 17 saves in a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on April 1, stopped 25 shots in a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators on April 3 and recorded his second shutout of the season with 20 saves in a 1-0 overtime victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 5. Khabibulin improved his season record to 23-8-6 with a 2.39 GAA and .918 save pct. in 39 appearances.

THIRD STAR -- David Backes, C, Blues

Backes led all NHL goal-scorers with five and added an assist, helping the Blues (38-31-10) maintain their surge for a Western Conference playoff berth. He had one of the top single-game performances by an NHL player this season, with four goals, a +2 rating and game-high nine shots in a 5-4 victory at Detroit on April 2. Backes scored the game's first two goals, in the second period, and gave the Blues a 3-2 lead early in the third frame. He scored the game-winner with just over four minutes left in regulation. He concluded the week with a goal and assist in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on April 4. Backes ranks second on the Blues in goals with a career-high 31, one behind leader Brad Boyes.

March 30

First Star -- G Chris Mason, St. Louis Second Star -- LW Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Third Star -- G Cam Ward, Carolina

March 23

First Star -- G Cam Ward, Carolina Second Star -- C Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Third Star -- RW Shane Doan, Phoenix

March 16 First Star -- G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Second Star -- C Olli Jokinen, Calgary Third Star -- C Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh

March 9

First Star -- C Eric Staal, Carolina Second Star -- G Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Third Star -- LW Rick Nash, Columbus

March 2

First Star -- G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Second Star -- RW Jarome Iginla, Calgary Third Star -- LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta

Feb. 23

First Star -- C Mike Richards, Philadelphia Second Star -- G Tomas Vokoun, Florida Third Star -- G Cristobal Huet, Chicago

Feb. 16

First Star -- LW Zach Parise, New Jersey Second Star -- C Matthew Lombardi, Calgary Third Star -- LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta

Feb. 9

First Star -- G Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Second Star -- RW Marian Hossa, Detroit Third Star -- D Mike Green, Washington

Feb. 2

First Star -- RW Jamie Langenbrunner, New Jersey Second Star -- C Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Third Star -- D Mike Green, Washington

Jan. 26

First Star -- LW Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Second Star -- G Cam Ward, Carolina Third Star -- RW Ales Hemsky, Edmonton

Jan. 19

First Star -- C Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Second Star -- LW Mike Cammalleri, Calgary Third Star -- C Rich Peverley, Atlanta

Jan. 12

First Star -- LW Wojtek Wolski, Colorado Second Star -- RW Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Third Star -- C Gregory Campbell, Florida

Jan. 5 First Star -- LW Rick Nash, Columbus Second Star -- D Brian Rafalski, Detroit Third Star -- G Cam Ward, Carolina

Dec. 29

First Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington Second Star -- C Bryan Little, Atlanta Third Star -- G Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles

Dec. 22

First Star -- LW Loui Eriksson, Dallas Second Star -- C Jeff Carter, Philadelphia Third Star -- LW Patrik Elias, New Jersey

Dec. 15

First Star -- RW Phil Kessel, Boston Second Star -- RW Petr Sykora, Pittsburgh Third Star -- LW Thomas Vanek, Buffalo

Dec. 8

First Star -- G Pekka Rinne, Nashville Second Star -- C Jonathan Toews, Chicago Third Star -- C Jason Spezza, Ottawa

Dec. 1

First Star -- C Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Second Star -- G Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Third Star -- G Chris Mason, St. Louis

Nov. 24

First Star -- C Marc Savard, Boston Second Star -- C Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Third Star -- G Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago

Nov. 17

First Star -- C Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Second Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington Third Star -- G Dan Ellis, Nashville

Nov. 10

First Star -- G Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Second Star -- G Steve Mason, Columbus Third Star -- G Brent Johnson, Washington

Nov. 3

First Star -- C Ryan Getzlaf, RW Corey Perry and RW Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Second Star -- G Tim Thomas, Boston Third Star -- LW Simon Gagne, Philadelphia

Oct. 27

First Star -- RW Jarome Iginla, Calgary Second Star -- G Peter Budaj, Colorado Third Star -- RW Marian Hossa, Detroit

Oct. 20

First Star -- LW Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Second Star -- G Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Third Star -- LW Fabian Brunnstrom, Dallas

Oct. 13

First Star -- F Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Second Star -- LW David Booth, Florida Third Star -- G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey

March

First Star -- G Cam Ward, Carolina Second Star -- C Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Third Star -- LW Rick Nash, Columbus

February

First Star -- LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Second Star -- D Mike Green, Washington Third Star -- G Chris Mason, St. Louis

January

First Star -- RW Jamie Langenbrunner, New Jersey Second Star -- D Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim Third Star -- G Ryan Miller, Buffalo

December

First Star -- G Manny Fernandez and Tim Thomas, Boston Second Star -- C Jeff Carter, Philadelphia Third Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington

November

First Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington Second Star -- C Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Third Star -- G Joey MacDonald, N.Y. Islanders

October

First Star -- LW Alexander Semin, Washington Second Star -- G Henrik Lundqvist, N.Y. Rangers Third Star -- D Shea Weber, Nashville

March -- T.J. Oshie, C, St. Louis February -- Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville January -- Bobby Ryan, RW, Anaheim December -- Steve Mason, G, Columbus November -- Steve Mason, G, Columbus October -- Derick Brassard, C, Columbus

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