New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp, along with Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller and Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal, were recognized Monday as the NHL's top performers for the week ending Dec. 29.
Sharp led the league with six goals and tied for the second-most with seven points in only three games last week, helping the defending champions maintain their lead in the Central Division.
The 32-year-old became just the second player in NHL history (Pavol Demitra, 11/29/02) to celebrate a birthday with a hat trick, doing so in a 7-2 home rout of the Avalanche last Friday. He also scored twice in a win over New Jersey and once in a shootout defeat against St. Louis.
Miller went 2-0-1 with a 1.55 goals-against average and a .961 save percentage to help the woeful Sabres remain competitive. His best performance of the week came in a 2-1 shootout win against the Capitals, during which he stopped a career-best 49 shots.
Neal ranked first in the league with eight points (4G, 4A) over his club's three-game course. He struck for a goal and two assists in a 4-3 OT win against Carolina then capped the week with a hat trick and two assists in the Pens' 5-3 victory in Columbus on Sunday.