Lightning winger Ondrej Palat named NHL rookie of month

Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat had five goals and 11 assists in January, which was good enough to earn him the league's monthly honor.

Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning is also a member of the Czech Republic team at the upcoming Olympics.

John E. Sokolowski / USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ondrej Palat has been recognized for a notable January.

On Tuesday, the NHL named the Tampa Bay Lightning winger its rookie of the month. He led all rookies in scoring with 16 points (11 assists) in 15 games during the stretch.

Palat, 22, earned points in his first five games of the month, extending his point streak to eight games. He also had points in five consecutive games to close January.

Named to the Czech Republic team for the Sochi Games, he leads NHL rookie forwards in plus-minus rating (plus-20), and he's second in average ice time per game (17:14). He ranks third among rookies in assists with 20 and fourth in points with 31.

Palat beat out Lightning center Tyler Johnson, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Minnesota Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper and Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen for the award.

The Lightning close a four-game road trip against the Wild on Tuesday night. They return for a two-game, pre-Olympic break homestand starting against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.  

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