Ovechkin leads 3 Stars of the Week

NEW YORK –Washington Capitals left wing Alex OvechkinBuffalo Sabers center Tage Thompson and Minnesota Wild right wing Mats Zuccarello have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Dec. 18.

FIRST STAR – ALEX OVECHKIN, LW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Ovechkin tallied 3-2–5 in three games, highlighted by his historic 800th career goal, as the Capitals (16-13-4, 36 points) earned four of six possible points and climbed within one point of the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Ovechkin opened the week by notching a hat trick and an assist in a 7-3 win at Chicago Dec. 13 — regular-season goals 798, 799 and 800 of his storied NHL career. He became just the third player in League history to reach the 800-goal milestone, joining Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801). The Washington captain’s 800th goal also was his 20th of 2022-23, making him the third player in NHL history to record 18 consecutive 20-goal campaigns, following Howe (22) and Brendan Shanahan (19). Ovechkin later recorded an assist in a 2-1 loss to Dallas on Dec. 15 and did not reach the scoresheet in a 5-2 victory over Toronto Dec. 17, the Capitals’ sixth win in their past seven contests. The Great Eight resumes his quest to tie Howe for second place on the all-time goals list tonight vs. the club synonymous with Mr. Hockey’s legendary career, the Detroit Red Wings.

Video: WSH@CHI: Ovechkin nets historic hat trick in 7-3 win

SECOND STARS – TAGE THOMPSON, C, BUFFALO SABRES

Thompson recorded eight points (four goals, four assists) in three games, including a pair of game-winning goals that bookended the week, as the Sabers (15-14-2, 32 points) went 3-0-0 and closed the gap on the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference to five points. Thompson recorded multiple points in each game, beginning with 2-1–3 in a 6-0 victory over Los Angeles on Dec. 13. The three-point night raised his season total to 23-21–44 in 29 games; the only players in Sabers history with more points before their 30th game of a campaign were team legends Pat LaFontaine (20-32–52 in 1992-93) and Gilbert Perreault (20-28–48 in 1974-75). Following a two-point effort (1-1–2) in a 4-2 win at Colorado Dec. 15, the Phoenix native enjoyed a successful homecoming to close the week, recording 1-2–3 in a 5-2 win over Arizona Dec. 17. Thompson notched his seventh three-point game this season – the only player with more is Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (nine). Thompson raised his season total to 25-24–49 in 31 games, ranking second League-wide in goals and third in points and shots (tie, 143).

Video: BUF@ARI: Thompson one-times puck into net for PPG

THIRD STAR – MATS ZUCCARELLO, RW, MINNESOTA WILD

Zuccarello (5-3–8) recorded a point in each of his four games, matching a career high by extending his point streak to 10 games. His performance helped the Wild (18-11-2, 38 points) sweep a four-game homestand, extend their overall winning streak to five games and rise to third place in the Central Division standings. Zuccarello tallied an assist in a 2-1 win vs. Edmonton on Dec. 12 and a goal in a 4-2 win vs. Detroit on Dec. 14 before notching four points (3-1–4), his second career hat trick, in a 4-1 win vs. Chicago on Dec. 16. Zuccarello (Oslo, Norway), whose first three-goal performance was more than seven years ago (Oct. 30, 2015 w/ NYR), became the first Norwegian-born player in NHL history with multiple hat tricks . Oslo native Espen Knutsen is the only other Norwegian-born skater with one (Jan. 24, 2002 w/ CBJ). Zuccarello finished with week with 1-1–2 in a 4-2 win vs. Ottawa on Dec 18. Zuccarello has recorded 16 points (7-9–16) during his 10-game point streak and ranks second on the Wild with 36 points (14-22–36) in 31 games this season.

Video: OCT@MIN: Zuccarello nets the puck off a pass

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