The NHL has released the Three Stars for last week, and Alex Ovechkin has taken home the top spot once again. The Russian Machine notched his 28th career hat trick and totaled seven points on the week, taking him ahead of Connor McDavid and into second place in the league scoring race. His 19 goals in 22 games (at age-36 no less) have brought him within 145 of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record and has him just 17 behind Jaromir Jagr for third place. With four years left on his new extension and still 60 games left this season, it seems to be a matter of when, not if, Ovechkin will set the NHL record for goals.
Second and third place have been given to Tristan Jarry and Cale Makar respectively, after two more fantastic weeks. Jarry stopped 91 of 93 shots he faced to win all three games for the Pittsburgh Penguins, bringing his overall record to 10-4-3 on the year. The 26-year-old netminder has now played more minutes than any other goalie in the league and has a .936 save percentage on the year. Makar meanwhile is showing once again why he has been a Norris nominee through his first two seasons in the league, as the 23-year-old defenseman now has nine goals and 20 points in 16 games. That’s just two points behind John Carlson for the most by a defenseman, despite having played six fewer games so far and his 1.25 points-per-game rate ties him for sixth among all players (not just defensemen) that have suited up at least ten times.
- While Jarry has led the Penguins to a better record of late, he might be getting some help soon. Evgeni Malkin was on the ice at practice today in a non-contact sweater, and though there’s still no exact timeline for his return to action, it’s good to see him back with teammates. The 35-year-old hasn’t played yet this season after offseason surgery but would obviously be a huge boost to the Penguins when healthy. That’s especially true now that Bryan Rust has been listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. He’s not with the team on their current road trip, which starts tonight against the Calgary Flames and lasts through December 10.
- Speaking of teams that may soon receive help, the Avalanche could have Nathan MacKinnon back on Wednesday according to Peter Baugh of The Athletic, who tweets that though nothing is official, it’s “looking like” the superstar center will return against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Unfortunately, that news also comes with a bad injury update, as Ryan Murray is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury that the team is still evaluating. Murray lasted just 11 seconds before leaving the team’s game against Nashville on Saturday.