Capitals star Ovechkin named NHL’s first star for April after 14-goal month

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Alex Ovechkin has been named the NHL’s first star of the month for his pivotal role in leading the Washington Capitals to their fifth Southeast Division title in the last six years.

Ovechkin led all players in April with 14 goals and 22 points in 13 games as the Capitals posted an 11-1-1 record over the stretch.

He scored in nine of his 13 games, including four multi-goal efforts and his 12th career hat trick on April 6 at Florida. Ovechkin also had eight multi-point performances.

He recorded his 30th goal of the season April 20 at Montreal, becoming the ninth player in league history to score 30 or more goals in each of his first eight seasons. Ovechkin ended the abbreviated season with 32 goals, capturing the Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer.

He finished third in the league with 56 points.

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St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott was named second star, New York Rangers centre Derek Stepan took third-star honours while Edmonton forward Nail Yakupov was named rookie of the month.

Elliott posted an 11-2-0 record, 1.28 goals-against average, .948 save percentage and three shutouts in 13 games to help the Blues secure the fourth seed in the Western Conference.

Stepan had eight goals, 11 assists and a plus-14 rating in 14 games as the Rangers clinched their third consecutive playoff berth and the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Yakupov led all rookies with 11 goals and 15 points in 14 games in April. The 2012 first-overall pick scored in seven of his 14 games, including his first career hat trick in Edmonton’s season finale—a 7-2 win over Vancouver.

Yakupov, 19, finished first among rookies with 17 goals and 31 points in 48 games this season.