Kovalev, Khabibulin, Backes named Three Stars

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. LouisSecond Star -- LW Daniel Sedin, VancouverThird Star -- G Cam Ward, Carolina

March 23

First Star -- G Cam Ward, CarolinaSecond Star -- C Evgeni Malkin, PittsburghThird Star -- RW Shane Doan, Phoenix

March 16First Star -- G Martin Brodeur, New JerseySecond Star -- C Olli Jokinen, CalgaryThird Star -- C Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh

March 9

First Star -- C Eric Staal, CarolinaSecond Star -- G Marc-Andre Fleury, PittsburghThird Star -- LW Rick Nash, Columbus

March 2

First Star -- G Martin Brodeur, New JerseySecond Star -- RW Jarome Iginla, CalgaryThird Star -- LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta

Feb. 23

First Star -- C Mike Richards, PhiladelphiaSecond Star -- G Tomas Vokoun, FloridaThird Star -- G Cristobal Huet, Chicago

Feb. 16

First Star -- LW Zach Parise, New JerseySecond Star -- C Matthew Lombardi, CalgaryThird Star -- LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta

Feb. 9

First Star -- G Jonathan Quick, Los AngelesSecond Star -- RW Marian Hossa, DetroitThird Star -- D Mike Green, Washington

Feb. 2

First Star -- RW Jamie Langenbrunner, New JerseySecond Star -- C Sidney Crosby, PittsburghThird Star -- D Mike Green, Washington

Jan. 26

First Star -- LW Dustin Brown, Los AngelesSecond Star -- G Cam Ward, CarolinaThird Star -- RW Ales Hemsky, Edmonton

Jan. 19

First Star -- C Pavel Datsyuk, DetroitSecond Star -- LW Mike Cammalleri, CalgaryThird Star -- C Rich Peverley, Atlanta

Jan. 12

First Star -- LW Wojtek Wolski, ColoradoSecond Star -- RW Bobby Ryan, AnaheimThird Star -- C Gregory Campbell, Florida

Jan. 5First Star -- LW Rick Nash, ColumbusSecond Star -- D Brian Rafalski, DetroitThird Star -- G Cam Ward, Carolina

Dec. 29

First Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, WashingtonSecond Star -- C Bryan Little, AtlantaThird Star -- G Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles

Dec. 22

First Star -- LW Loui Eriksson, DallasSecond Star -- C Jeff Carter, PhiladelphiaThird Star -- LW Patrik Elias, New Jersey

Dec. 15

First Star -- RW Phil Kessel, BostonSecond Star -- RW Petr Sykora, PittsburghThird Star -- LW Thomas Vanek, Buffalo

Dec. 8

First Star -- G Pekka Rinne, NashvilleSecond Star -- C Jonathan Toews, ChicagoThird Star -- C Jason Spezza, Ottawa

Dec. 1

First Star -- C Sidney Crosby, PittsburghSecond Star -- G Jonas Hiller, AnaheimThird Star -- G Chris Mason, St. Louis

Nov. 24

First Star -- C Marc Savard, BostonSecond Star -- C Henrik Sedin, VancouverThird Star -- G Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago

Nov. 17

First Star -- C Nicklas Backstrom, WashingtonSecond Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, WashingtonThird Star -- G Dan Ellis, Nashville

Nov. 10

First Star -- G Roberto Luongo, VancouverSecond Star -- G Steve Mason, ColumbusThird Star -- G Brent Johnson, Washington

Nov. 3

First Star -- C Ryan Getzlaf, RW Corey Perry and RW Teemu Selanne, AnaheimSecond Star -- G Tim Thomas, BostonThird Star -- LW Simon Gagne, Philadelphia

Oct. 27

First Star -- RW Jarome Iginla, CalgarySecond Star -- G Peter Budaj, ColoradoThird Star -- RW Marian Hossa, Detroit

Oct. 20

First Star -- LW Thomas Vanek, BuffaloSecond Star -- G Niklas Backstrom, MinnesotaThird Star -- LW Fabian Brunnstrom, Dallas

Oct. 13

First Star -- F Daniel Sedin, VancouverSecond Star -- LW David Booth, FloridaThird Star -- G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey

March

First Star -- G Cam Ward, CarolinaSecond Star -- C Henrik Sedin, VancouverThird Star -- LW Rick Nash, Columbus

February

First Star -- LW Ilya Kovalchuk, AtlantaSecond Star -- D Mike Green, WashingtonThird Star -- G Chris Mason, St. Louis

January

First Star -- RW Jamie Langenbrunner, New JerseySecond Star -- D Scott Niedermayer, AnaheimThird Star -- G Ryan Miller, Buffalo

December

First Star -- G Manny Fernandez and Tim Thomas, BostonSecond Star -- C Jeff Carter, PhiladelphiaThird Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington

November

First Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, WashingtonSecond Star -- C Evgeni Malkin, PittsburghThird Star -- G Joey MacDonald, N.Y. Islanders

October

First Star -- LW Alexander Semin, WashingtonSecond Star -- G Henrik Lundqvist, N.Y. RangersThird Star -- D Shea Weber, Nashville

March -- T.J. Oshie, C, St. LouisFebruary -- Pekka Rinne, G, NashvilleJanuary -- Bobby Ryan, RW, AnaheimDecember -- Steve Mason, G, ColumbusNovember -- Steve Mason, G, ColumbusOctober -- Derick Brassard, C, Columbus

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.