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Friday’s Three Stars: Brouwer tricks Lightning; Hiller blanks Oilers

Sean Leahy
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Brouwer trick - AP

No. 1 Star: Troy Brouwer, Washington Capitals

On the back of Brouwer's first NHL hat trick, the Capitals hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning for their sixth straight win at Verizon Center. Scoring in each period, Brouwer completed his trick with an empty-netter to end the Lightning comeback:

No. 2 Star: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks

A new year, a new start for the Ducks. Hiller's 33 saves, Corey Perry's two goals and Ryan Getzlaf's four helpers paved the way for a 5-0 blanking of the Edmonton Oilers. It was Hiller's 100th career NHL win. Anaheim is now 4-0-1 in their last five games. The shutout was Hiller's second of the season and 13th of his career.

No. 3 Star: Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

After losing their last six games and not scoring more than a single goal in any of them, the Penguins rebounded with a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers. Fleury made 25 saves for his 20th victory of the season. James Neal scored his 22nd goal and added an assist, while Evgeni Malkin's 18th stood as the game-winner.

Honorable mention: Tomas Vokoun stopped 28 shots for his second straight win ... Steven Stamkos notched his league-leading 30th goal in the loss ... Derick Brassard set up Rick Nash's 15th to give Columbus their first lead of the game in the second period and then put home what would end up being the game-winning goal later on as the Blue Jackets edged the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3. The victory was the first for interim head coach Todd Richards after he took over for the fired Scott Arniel. Columbus rookies Tomas Kubalik and Ryan Russell each scored their first NHL goals, the second time a pair of Blue Jackets rookies have done so in the same game this season ... Lauri Korpikoski put up a 3-point night for the Coyotes in the loss ... Radim Vrbata scored his 22nd goal of the season for Phoenix ... Jason Pominville's go-ahead goal late in the second period stood as the winner during Buffalo's 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Paul Gaustad scored a goal and added an assist, while Ryan Miller stopped 24 shots to snap a two-game slide.

Did you know? Buffalo has lost seven straight road games in regulation to match a franchise worst. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: On his 39th birthday, Nikolai Khabibulin lasted just 30 minutes and allowed three goals on 14 shots before being pulled ... Lightning head coach Guy Boucher is not a fan of the NHL schedule: "I can't fault anything we've done. Our players have played hard in ridiculous situations where the other team waits for you at home while you go to bed at 4 o'clock and you played the last night. We can't ask more from our players."

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