Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau, Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the month of December.
First Star – Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Calgary Flames
Gaudreau led the NHL with 12 goals and ranked second with 18 points in 13 games to power the Flames (18-18-2, 38 points) to a 9-4-0 December, helping the club set a franchise record with 11 consecutive home victories. He registered at least one point in nine of his 13 appearances, highlighted by four multi-goal performances and a pair of hat tricks: Dec. 4 vs. BOS (3-1-4) and Dec. 22 vs. WPG (3-0-3). In doing so, Gaudreau became the first Flames player to post multiple hat tricks in one calendar month since February 2003 (Jarome Iginla: 2). He also collected three game-winning goals, capping his first hat trick at 3:20 of overtime Dec. 4 vs. BOS. The 22-year-old Salem, N.J., native paces the Flames and ranks eighth in the NHL with 17-22-39 in 38 games this season. His three overtime goals are tied for second in the League, while his five game-winning goals share third place.
Second Star – Braden Holtby, G, Washington Capitals
Holtby went 9-0-1 with a 1.69 goals-against average, .947 save percentage and one shutout in 11 appearances to rank second in the NHL in wins and lead the Capitals (28-7-3, 59 points) to an 11-2-1 December as well as the top of the Eastern Conference standings. He allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his 11 outings, including a 31-save shutout Dec. 28 at BUF. The 26-year-old Lloydminster, Sask., native owns a 24-4-2 record in 31 games this season, pacing the NHL in wins while also ranking in the top five in goals-against average (2nd; 1.92) and save percentage (5th; .932). He has earned at least one point in 18 consecutive decisions dating to Nov. 12 (16-0-2), the longest such streak by any goaltender since Roberto Luongo posted a 21-game run with the Vancouver Canucks in 2010-11 (16-0-5).
Third Star – Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago Blackhawks
Kane again paced the NHL with 9-10-19, including five power-play goals, in 15 games to power the Blackhawks (23-13-4, 50 points) to a 9-5-1 December. He extended his point streak 26 games (16-24-40) before he and the team were shut out Dec. 15 vs. COL. In doing so, Kane set a franchise record as well as the longest point streak by a U.S.-born player in NHL history. Overall, he collected at least one point in 12 of his 15 December appearances, highlighted by a trio of three-point performances: Dec. 3 at OTT (1-2-3), Dec. 29 at ARI (1-2-3) and Dec. 31 at COL (1-2-3). The 27-year-old Buffalo native has recorded at least one point in 35 of 40 games this season, leading the League in points (57), assists (34) and power-play goals (t-12) while sharing second in overall goals (23).