Ovechkin named NHL’s first star for April


After pacing the Capitals to their fifth Southeast Division title in the last six years, Washington captain Alex Ovechkin has been named the NHL’s first star for the month of April.

Ovechkin led the NHL with 14 goals and 22 points in 13 games as the Caps went an incredible 11-1-1 in April, securing the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

No. 8’s run also saw him clinch his third career Rocket Richard trophy as the league’s top goalscorer. His 32 tallies on the year were three more than last year’s winner, Steve Stamkos, who finished the season with 29.

Ovechkin also became the ninth player in league history to score 30 or more goals in each of his first eight seasons.

April’s second star went to St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott.

Elliott posted an 11-2-0 record with a 1.28 GAA and .948 save percentage as the Blues finished fourth in the Western Conference, making the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

He allowed one goal or fewer in 10 of his 13 appearances, including the final three games of the season, and posted three consecutive road shutouts in Detroit, Nashville and Minnesota.

Third star went to Rangers forward Derek Stepan.

Stepan finished second to Ovechkin for April points (19) and posted a plus-14 rating over New York’s final 14 games.

He was a key figure for the Rangers as they not only clinched a playoff berth, but jumped to sixth in the Eastern Conference with a season-ending 4-0 win over New Jersey — a game in which Stepan scored the game winner and assisted on Ryan Callahan’s insurance marker.