NHL’s three stars for January: Kuznetsov, Crawford, Letang

AP
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The NHL rolled out another stars list on Monday, this time naming the top three for the month of January.

First star: Evgeny Kuznetsov

The league summarizes a blistering month for the Washington Capitals’ other unstoppable Russian forward.

Kuznetsov helped solidify his all-star credentials with four goals and 12 assists in 10 games during January, becoming the Capitals’ leading scorer for the season with 49 points (15 goals). He went on a scoring binge in five games prior to the break, scoring two goals and 11 points. It started with a three-point game (two goals, one assist) against the Vancouver Canucks in a 4-1 win on Jan. 14 and also featured seven assists over the course of two games, a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers on Jan. 17 (three assists) and a 6-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 19 (four assists).

Second star: Corey Crawford

He didn’t make the All-Star Game, but many noted that he probably should have.

This past month was a testament to how he’s developed into an increasingly important piece for Chicago: he went 9-2-0 with a fantastic .952 save percentage to help the Blackhawks pass the Dallas Stars and become the West’s (and Central Division’s) top team.

Third star: Kris Letang

The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman showed how explosive he can be when he’s reasonably healthy, generating Erik Karlsson-type numbers: three goals and 11 assists for 14 points in 10 games.

As much as the Penguins’ turnaround has been about Mike Sullivan taking over and Sidney Crosby returning to form, it’s probably no accident that they’re thriving with No. 58 back in the lineup.

More monthly/weekly awards announced on Monday

John Scott’s ride continues with first star of the week honor

Louis Domingue named the rookie of the month