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Blues' Steen, Penguins' Crosby and Sharks' Niemi named NHL stars for October

St. Louis Blues center Alex Steen in Denver on Nov. 26, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Zalubowski

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St. Louis Blues center Alex Steen in Denver on Nov. 26, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Zalubowski

NEW YORK, N.Y. - St. Louis forward Alex Steen, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby and San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi have been named the NHL's three stars for October, while Sharks centre Tomas Hertl as been awarded the league's rookie of the month honour.

Steen took first star honours, leading all players with 11 goals in the opening month of the season. He scored in nine of 10 games with a 35.5 shooting percentage as the Blues took 16 of a possible 20 points in October.

He posted five multi-point games, including a four-point performance against the New York Rangers on Oct. 12. The Winnipeg-born Swede is also tied for second in the league with four power-play goals.

Crosby was named the second star for October, scoring eight goals and adding 13 assists for a league-high 21 points.

His excellent start helped the Penguins to first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The native of Cole Harbour, N.S., has six multi-point games this season, including his eighth career regular-season hat trick Oct. 12 versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Finnish goaltender Niemi was named third star, posting a 9-1-2 record with a 1.72 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and two shutouts in helping the Sharks earn a league-best 22 points in October.

He allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his 12 appearances, including shutout victories over the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 21 and Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 26.

Niemi finished the month with a share of the NHL lead in wins and shutouts, while also placing in the top three in goals-against average and minutes.

Hertl led all rookies in October with eight goals and 11 points in 13 games.

The 19-year-old Czech had his best game on Oct. 8, scoring four times in a 9-2 win over the New York Rangers.

Calgary centre Sean Monahan, Edmonton centre Mark Arcobello, Dallas right-wing Alex Chiasson, Nashville defenceman Seth Jones and Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen were also considered.

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