Hiller Named One of the NHL Three Stars for December
Hiller was named third start after he posted a 9-0-1 record with a 1.96 goals-against average and .929 save percentage to help the Ducks (29-8-5, 63 points) go 11-1-1 and move into the top spot in the Pacific Division. He allowed two or fewer goals in nine of 10 appearances, highlighted by a season-high, 49-save performance Dec. 3 versus the Los Angeles Kings. Hiller closed the month with nine consecutive victories, a personal high, and is undefeated in regulation in 11 straight dating to Nov. 30. He also started eight contests during the team’s franchise-record, 10-game winning streak Dec. 6-28 and recorded his 150th NHL victory Dec. 28 versus the Phoenix Coyotes (23 saves). The 31-year-old Felben Wellhausen, Switzerland, native has played in 27 games this season, compiling an 18-4-4 record with a 2.42 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and two shutouts.
Kane earned “First Star” honors for the second consecutive month after posting a League-leading 16 assists, 23 points (tied) and +14 rating, helping the Blackhawks earn points in 11 of 14 games (8-3-3) to maintain first place in the Central Division (28-7-8, 64 points). He recorded at least one point in 13 of 14 outings, stretching his career-long point streak to 14 games (8-17—25) before being held off the scoresheet in the final contest of 2013. It marked Kane’s second such stretch of 10 or more games this season (8-9—17 during 12-game point streak Nov. 3-27). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first player to record multiple point streaks of 10 or more games in the same season since 2005-06, when Jaromir Jagr posted a pair of 12-game streaks. The 25-year-old Buffalo native and reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner has played in 43 games this season, ranking in the top five in the NHL in goals (3rd: 23), points (2nd: 53), power-play goals (3rd: 9) and game-winning goals (t-2nd: 6).
Crosby tied Kane for the League lead in points (23), tallying nine goals and 14 assists to power the Penguins (29-12-1, 59 points) to 11 victories in 14 games and the top spot in the Eastern Conference despite a series of injuries to key personnel. He registered at least one point in 13 of 14 outings, beginning the month with a 10-game point streak (7-11—18) before being held off the scoresheet Dec. 23 versus the Ottawa Senators.
Crosby also posted seven multi-point performances, including a trio of three-point efforts: Dec. 5 versus the San Jose Sharks (0-3—3), Dec. 21 against the Calgary Flames (1-2—3) and Dec. 29 at the Columbus Blue Jackets (1-2—3). The 26-year-old Cole Harbour, N.S., native leads the NHL with 59 points in 42 games this season while also ranking in the top five in goals (t-4th: 22) and assists (2nd: 37).