NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin has vaulted up the list of All-Star Game vote-getters since returning from an injury, NHL officials said Tuesday.
Malkin has scored five goals and eight points in three games for the Pens since returning from a knee injury that had caused him to miss four contests. His fans have responded by giving him 31,152 votes last week, propelling him past Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and into third place among forwards, the NHL said.
Under new rules for this year's Jan. 30 All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C., the top three forwards, two defensemen and No. 1 goaltending vote-getters will guarantee themselves spots in a 42-player pool.
Two player captains will then choose up sides.
Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby remained the top vote-getter among all players with 464,832 votes and Chicago's Jonathan Toews was second among forwards.
Kris Letang of the Penguins and Chicago's Duncan Keith led among defensemen and Carey Price of Montreal remained the top goaltending pick.