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.
First Star -- G Chris Mason, St. LouisSecond Star -- LW Daniel Sedin, VancouverThird Star -- G Cam Ward, Carolina
First Star -- G Martin Brodeur, New JerseySecond Star -- RW Jarome Iginla, CalgaryThird Star -- LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta
First Star -- C Mike Richards, PhiladelphiaSecond Star -- G Tomas Vokoun, FloridaThird Star -- G Cristobal Huet, Chicago
First Star -- LW Zach Parise, New JerseySecond Star -- C Matthew Lombardi, CalgaryThird Star -- LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta
First Star -- RW Jamie Langenbrunner, New JerseySecond Star -- C Sidney Crosby, PittsburghThird Star -- D Mike Green, Washington
First Star -- LW Dustin Brown, Los AngelesSecond Star -- G Cam Ward, CarolinaThird Star -- RW Ales Hemsky, Edmonton
First Star -- C Pavel Datsyuk, DetroitSecond Star -- LW Mike Cammalleri, CalgaryThird Star -- C Rich Peverley, Atlanta
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
First Star -- RW Phil Kessel, BostonSecond Star -- RW Petr Sykora, PittsburghThird Star -- LW Thomas Vanek, Buffalo
First Star -- C Sidney Crosby, PittsburghSecond Star -- G Jonas Hiller, AnaheimThird Star -- G Chris Mason, St. Louis
First Star -- C Marc Savard, BostonSecond Star -- C Henrik Sedin, VancouverThird Star -- G Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago
First Star -- C Nicklas Backstrom, WashingtonSecond Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, WashingtonThird Star -- G Dan Ellis, Nashville
First Star -- G Roberto Luongo, VancouverSecond Star -- G Steve Mason, ColumbusThird Star -- G Brent Johnson, Washington
First Star -- RW Jarome Iginla, CalgarySecond Star -- G Peter Budaj, ColoradoThird Star -- RW Marian Hossa, Detroit
First Star -- LW Thomas Vanek, BuffaloSecond Star -- G Niklas Backstrom, MinnesotaThird Star -- LW Fabian Brunnstrom, Dallas
First Star -- F Daniel Sedin, VancouverSecond Star -- LW David Booth, FloridaThird Star -- G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey
First Star -- G Cam Ward, CarolinaSecond Star -- C Henrik Sedin, VancouverThird Star -- LW Rick Nash, Columbus
First Star -- LW Ilya Kovalchuk, AtlantaSecond Star -- D Mike Green, WashingtonThird Star -- G Chris Mason, St. Louis
First Star -- RW Jamie Langenbrunner, New JerseySecond Star -- D Scott Niedermayer, AnaheimThird Star -- G Ryan Miller, Buffalo
First Star -- G Manny Fernandez and Tim Thomas, BostonSecond Star -- C Jeff Carter, PhiladelphiaThird Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington
First Star -- LW Alex Ovechkin, WashingtonSecond Star -- C Evgeni Malkin, PittsburghThird Star -- G Joey MacDonald, N.Y. Islanders
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