Kessel, Sykora and Vanek are Stars of the Week

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Boston Bruins right wing Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Petr Sykora and Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek have been named the NHL's Three Stars for the week ending Sunday, Dec 14.

FIRST STAR -- Phil Kessel, RW, Boston Bruins

Kessel tallied eight points (three goals, five assists) and extended his point streak to 15 games as the Bruins went 3-1-0, improving their Eastern Conference-leading record to 21-5-4. Kessel recorded one goal and one assist in a 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Dec. 8, notched an assist in a 3-1 loss at Washington on Dec. 10, tallied a goal and two assists in a 7-3 win at Atlanta on Dec. 12 and closed the week with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Thrashers on Dec. 13. Kessel's point streak is a career high, the longest in the NHL this season and longest by a Bruins player since Adam Oates recorded points in 20 consecutive games from Jan. 7 to Feb. 20, 1997. The 21-year-old Madison, Wisconsin native is second on the Bruins in scoring with 31 points (19 goals, 12 assists) in 30 games, ranks third in the NHL in goals, and already has matched his career high of 19 goals set last season.

SECOND STAR -- Petr Sykora, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins

Sykora recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) in four games, beginning with a pair of assists in a 4-3 loss against Buffalo on Dec. 8. He recorded his first career NHL hat trick and added an assist in a 9-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Dec. 11 and had two assists in a 6-3 loss at Philadelphia Dec. 13. The 13-year NHL veteran had entered the Islanders game with 282 career NHL goals, the most among active players who had not recorded a hat trick.

THIRD STAR -- Thomas Vanek, LW, Buffalo Sabres

Vanek notched a league-leading five goals, including two game-winning tallies, as the Sabres won three of four games. He scored the game-winning goal and became the first player to hit the 20-goal mark in a 4-3 win against Pittsburgh on Dec. 8, had two goals, including the game-winner, in a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay Dec. 10 and scored twicein a 4-2 win at New Jersey Dec. 13. Vanek leads the NHL in goals with 24, three more than Philadelphia's Jeff Carter, and has scored the highest percentage of his team's goals this season (24/81, 29.6%).

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


First Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington

Second Star -- C Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh

Third Star -- G Joey MacDonald, N.Y. Islanders


First Star -- LW Alexander Semin, Washington

Second Star -- G Henrik Lundqvist, N.Y. Rangers

Third Star -- D Shea Weber, Nashville

November -- G Steve Mason, Columbus

October -- C Derick Brassard, Columbus

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-12-15-08 1331EST