Earlier today, the NHL announced the league’s three stars of this past week.
Pittsburgh Penguins star center Evgeni Malkin once again tops the three (with Buffalo Sabres‘ netminder, Ryan Miller, and Washington Capitals‘ captain, Alexander Ovechkin, ranking second and third, respectively). It’s the seventh time that Malkin has been bestowed one of the the three stars for the week this season, but only the second time he’s earned the top honor.
Prior to the star and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby‘s return, many wondered if Malkin would continue playing at an elevated level that we’ve come to expect from him and there’s no question that he’s made a pretty solid case that he’s determined to do just that after only eight games since Crosby has been back on the ice. He continues to dominate with top-linemates James Neal and Chris Kunitz.
The Penguins had a single road game, which was also the only loss, they had out of the four games they played this week; in those games, Malkin tallied five goals and totaled nine points. He started out the week earning his fourth five-goal game for the season (a season- / career-high) against the Winnipeg Jets.
This is the league-high seventh time this season Malkin has been honored by the NHL. He was the ‘First Star’ for December and ‘Second Star’ of January. On four previous occasions he’s also garnered weekly NHL awards – ‘Second Star’ for the week ending Feb. 12; ‘First Star’ for the week ending Jan. 23; ‘Third Star’ for the week ending Jan. 15; and ‘Third Star’ for the week ending Dec. 18.
It appears if Malkin continues at this pace that he will have a career season and make a pretty convincing argument he’s the most deserving of the Art Ross trophy this season.