CALGARY, Alberta — Artemi Panarin was named one of the NHL’s three stars of the month for December. Panarin, who leads the Rangers in scoring, joined the first star, Jonathan Huberdeau of the Panthers, and the second star, goalie Tristan Jarry of the Penguins, in earning the honor.
Panarin was tied with Huberdeau for the most points in the league in December with 22, and his total of 10 goals was one shy of the league lead for the month. He was the first Rangers player to record at least 20 points in consecutive months since Jaromir Jagr did it in November-December 2005. And he was the ninth Rangers player to have three three-point games, the last to do so being John Ogrodnick in February 1990.
Good news for Kakko
Finland beat the USA, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the World Junior Championship on Thursday. That result knocked two Rangers prospects — defensemen K’Andre Miller and Zachary Jones — out of the tournament, but it made Kaapo Kakko pretty happy. Said coach David Quinn, “He was beaming ear-to-ear when I congratulated him this morning.’’
Chris Kreider appeared in his 500th NHL game . . . D Jacob Trouba recorded his 200th NHL point with his five-on-three goal in the first period . . . Team president John Davidson was one of seven inductees to the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame. Davidson played his minor hockey in Calgary . . . Quinn stayed with the same lineup that lost to Edmonton, 7-5, on Tuesday, meaning F Micheal Haley was the lone healthy scratch . . . D Libor Hajek, out since suffering a right knee sprain Dec. 5, skated again and stayed on after everyone else had left the ice, getting extra work in. Quinn still wasn’t ready to reveal a timetable for Hajek’s return. “We’ll probably have a better idea once this trip ends,’’ he said. “He’s been skating a little harder now, and you need to see how it reacts to hard skate. Probably today was his hardest skate so far.’’