NHL names Binnington top rookie, Tarasenko third star for February

Two big reasons for the Blues' huge month: Vladimir Tarasenko and Jordan Binnington.
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ST. LOUIS — February was a good month for the St. Louis Blues, and two of their players were honored Friday for their individual contributions.

Goaltender Jordan Binnington was named the NHL rookie of the month and forward Vladimir Tarasenko was named the league’s third star for February, during which the Blues went 12-1-1 and rose to third place in the Central Division.

Binnington led all NHL goaltenders — rookie or otherwise — with 10 wins and four shutouts in 11 appearances last month. He went 10-1-0 with a 1.44 goals-against average and .945 save percentage during that span, lifting his season marks to 15-2-1 with a 1.61 GAA, .936 save percentage and five shutouts.

The 25-year-old found himself in some select company among rookie goaltenders by the end of the month:

• Ninth rookie goaltender in NHL history to earn 10-plus wins in a calendar month.

• Tenth to post a nine-game winning streak (Jan. 23 – Feb. 19).

• Fourth to win each of his first seven home starts (Jan. 10 – present).

Binnington yielded two or fewer goals in nine of his 11 February games. He pitched consecutive shutouts Feb. 14 at Arizona and Feb. 17 at Minnesota, then later blanked Nashville on Feb. 26 vs. Nashville. He is only the second goaltender in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) with five shutouts in his first 18 career starts. The other was Jacques Plante.

Tarasenko tallied 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in February, third most in the league. He collected points in 12 of his 14 appearances, including six multi-point games. He scored the overtime game-winner Feb. 10 in Nashville, giving him his fourth career hat trick and the 200th goal of his career. He had a league-high four game-winning goals in February.

Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov and Chicago forward Patrick Kane were named the NHL’s first and second star, respectively.