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Wayne Simmonds is the NHL’s First Star of the Week

Wayne Simmonds

After scoring in four straight games and pushing Philly to within one point of hated rival Pittsburgh, Wayne Simmonds was named the NHL’s first star of the week.

Simmonds, 23, tallied five goals in games against the Lightning, Leafs, Senators and Penguins and did it while playing less than 15 minutes per game (he scored three points against Toronto in 13:06 of ice time.) The week capped off what’s been a career year for Simmonds, his first in Philadelphia -- he’s notched career highs in goals (27) and points (48) and is second on the team in fights, with 10.

Second star went to Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. He led all skaters with seven assists as the Bruins put together a great week, earning seven of a possible eight points while clinching their third straight Northeast Division title. The Boston captain had two multi-assist games -- three against Tampa, two against the Islanders -- and how has 40 on the year, a career-high.

Third star went to Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, his third such award of the season (he was named first star of the week on Feb. 13 and also received first star of the month for February.) Smith posted two shutouts as the Coyotes entered tonight’s play atop the Pacific Division -- a 38-save blanking of the Sharks and a stellar 44-save shutout of the Ducks on Saturday. Smith, 30, is now 35-18-10 on the year with a 2.29 GAA, .927 save percentage and seven shutouts, fourth-most in the NHL.

(Simmonds pic courtesy Dave Isaac)