By Ian Oland
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was named the NHL’s First Star of the Month after having a historic and electric December.
Ovechkin, 37, had 13 goals and 22 points in 15 December games as the Capitals turned their season around. Ovechkin had two hat tricks in a span of 18 days — one against the Chicago Blackhawks on December 13, 2022, and another against the Montreal Canadiens on New Year’s Eve.
Historically speaking, Ovechkin hit the 800 goals milestone with his hatty against the Blackhawks and passed Gordie Howe for second on the NHL’s all-time goals list after scoring twice against the Winnipeg Jets on December 23. Ovechkin also became the NHL’s all-time shots leader, passing Ray Bourque.
How did Ovi’s numbers in December rank league-wide?
Ovechkin also managed to have a point in 11 of 15 December games, including a month-high four against the Blackhawks (3g, 1a).
With his big month, Ovechkin is also now among the league leaders in several categories. He’s tied for third in goals (26), third in shots on goal (169), and eighth in points (45). Ovechkin has 26 goals and 45 points in 39 games on the season.
Ovechkin’s 13 goals are the second-most goals he’s had in a single calendar month in his career and only the sixth time he’s had 13 or more goals in a month. The other months include: April 2013: 14g in 13 GP; Oct. 2009: 14g in 13 GP; March 2008: 14g in 14 GP; Jan. 2020: 13g, in 10 GP; Jan. 2008: 13g in 13 GP.
According to the Capitals, this is the tenth time in Ovechkin’s career that he has earned Player of the Month honors. The last time Ovi received the accolade was in Oct. 2021 when the team’s first line, including Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson, had a hot start.
During the month of December, Ovechkin won First Star of the Week honors twice (for the week ending Dec. 18 and the week ending Dec. 25). Those were the 20th and 21st times Ovechkin was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week in his 18-year career.
Connor McDavid and Tage Thomspon finished second and third respectively in voting.
Alex Ovechkin (@Capitals), Connor McDavid (@EdmontonOilers) and Tage Thompson (@BuffaloSabres) have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the month of December.#NHLStats: https://t.co/4QJxwQeVBz pic.twitter.com/Xq57KqbJFr
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 1, 2023
Here’s the full press release from the NHL:
Ovechkin, McDavid and Thompson Named NHL ‘Three Stars’ for December
NEW YORK (Jan. 1, 2023) – Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the month of December.
FIRST STAR – ALEX OVECHKIN, LW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Ovechkin tied for second in the NHL with 13 tallies in 15 games (13-9—22), highlighted by his 801st and 802nd career goals on Dec. 23 vs. WPG to overtake Gordie Howe for second place in League history, as the Capitals (21-13-5, 47 points) posted an 11-2-2 month to move into third in the Metropolitan Division standings. Ovechkin, who also ranked second in shots on goal (71), third in points (22) and tied for third in plus/minus (+12) during December, collected points in 11 of his 15 appearances. That included seven games with goals as well as seven multi-point outings, highlighted by a pair of hat tricks: Dec. 13 at CHI (3-1—4) and Dec. 31 vs. MTL (3-0—3). The first hat trick was capped by Ovechkin’s 800th career goal as well as his 20th of the season, the 18th consecutive campaign he has reached the plateau. The latter performance marked Ovechkin’s 30th career hat trick, making him the sixth player in NHL history to achieve the milestone. The 37-year-old Ovechkin, a nine-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner, now has 806 career goals (1,313 GP) – 88 back of Wayne Gretzky (894 G in 1,487 GP) for the most in League history. He also has compiled 26-19—45 in 39 total games this season, placing among the top performers in shots on goal (3rd; 169), goals (t-3rd) and points (8th).
SECOND STAR – CONNOR McDAVID, C, EDMONTON OILERS
McDavid led the League in goals (14), assists (t-17), points (31), power-play assists (t-12) and power-play points (18) across 15 contests (14-17—31) to propel the Oilers (20-16-2, 42 points) to a 7-6-2 December. He became the first NHL player with 30 or more points in a calendar month since Tampa Bay Lightning teammates Steven Stamkos (12-21—33 in 16 GP) and Nikita Kucherov (14-17—31 in 16 GP) both achieved the feat in April 2022. McDavid also became the third player in Edmonton history to record a 30-point month, following Wayne Gretzky (30x) and Jari Kurri (2x), and the first to do so since Gretzky in March 1988 (5-33—38 in 14 GP). McDavid, who found the scoresheet in all but his final outing of December, posted eight multi-point performances during the month, including his eighth career five-point effort (Dec. 30 at SEA: 1-4—5) as well as a trio of four-point games: Dec. 3 vs. MTL (2-2—4), Dec. 7 vs. ARI (2-2—4) and Dec. 13 at NSH (1-3—4). The 25-year-old McDavid, who became the fastest NHL player in 27 years to reach the 70-point milestone, currently paces the League in goals (32), assists (t-40), points (72), power-play goals (14), power-play assists (23) and power-play points (37) through 38 total appearances this season.
THIRD STAR – TAGE THOMPSON, C, BUFFALO SABRES
Thompson ranked second in the NHL with 13-9—22 in 11 games to lift the Sabres (18-14-2, 38 points) within six points of a playoff spot via an 8-2-1 December. He registered points in nine of his 11 outings (and goals in eight of those contests), highlighted by 5-1—6 (including 4-1—5 in the first period) Dec. 7 at CBJ. In doing so, Thompson matched the NHL record for goals in one period, set franchise marks for goals and points in any period, and tied the Buffalo record for goals in a game. He posted five other multi-point performances, including three-point efforts Dec. 1 vs. COL (1-2—3), Dec. 13 vs. LAK (2‑1—3) and Dec. 17 at ARI (1-2—3); scored the winning goal three times (Dec. 7 at CBJ, Dec. 13 vs. LAK and Dec. 17 at ARI); and potted a League-high seven power-play goals. The 25-year-old Thompson has played in 34 total games this season, sitting among the League leaders in goals (2nd; 27), power-play goals (3rd; 12), points (5th; 51), power-play points (t-5th; 22) and shots on goal (8th; 151).
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