Evgeni Malkin Named NHL’s First Star, Penguins Still Atop Power Rankings

In what seems to be a weekly occurrence, Pittsburgh Penguins center and NHL points leader Evgeni Malkin was named the NHL’s first star of the week for the March 19 – March 25 time frame.

The 25-year-old recorded five goals and nine points in four games this week, stretching his points lead to 10 ahead of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and 11 over Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux.

Malkin’s five-point effort in the team’s 8-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets helped Malkin gain what now seems to be an insurmountable lead for the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer. His 46 goals are also second to Stamkos’ 52, though Malkin has played in six less games.

The Russian has scored eight times and added eight assists in his last eight games.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was given second star of the week honors while a surging Alex Ovechkin was named the league’s third star.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were also given the top spot in NHL.com’s Power Rankings.

At 47-22-6, the Penguins own the league’s third best record and second best goal differential and have won ten consecutive home games. As noted by NHL.com:

Marc-Andre Fleury has one regulation loss since Feb. 15 and two regulation losses since Jan. 11. During that stretch, he is 22-2-2 and has allowed two goals or fewer 17 times.

Pittsburgh also ranks in the top three in penalty killing and top eight in power play efficiency.

The Penguins look to keep their phenomenal play going with a home-and-home series against the New York Islanders Tuesday and Thursday before taking on the red-hot Sabres on Friday.

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