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Montreal winger Alex Kovalev, centre, won the NHL's first star for the week ending April 5. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))

The Montreal Canadiens are flying right now, especially their veteran forward Alex Kovalev, who was rewarded for his recent play by being named Monday as the NHL's first star for the week.

Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was the second star and David Backes of St. Louis finished third.

Kovalev amassed nine points in three games, including a four-point night against Toronto on Saturday. Montreal was 3-0-0 for the week and 5-0-1 in the last six. The Habs only need four points in their next four games to clinch a playoff spot.

Kovalev is second on the team in scoring with 63 points (24 goals, 39 assists).

Second star-winner Khabibulin shut out Columbus on Sunday and stopped 61 of 63 shots in three games, all wins for the Blackhawks.

Backes had five goals and one assist for the Blues this week, including a four-goal game in a 5-4 win over Detroit on Thursday.