No. 1 Star: Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres
He wasn't given the captaincy, but Vanek led by example in the Sabres' season-opening win over the Anaheim Ducks in Helsinki. He opened the scoring on the power play at 4:02 of the first period. In the second, after Nate Guenin cut the Buffalo lead to 2-1, Vanek did solid work in the offensive zone that led to captain Jason Pominville's goal 1:13 later. Vanek's second power-play goal of the game iced it, scoring off the skate of Cam Fowler. Sabres won, 4-1.
No. 2 Star: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars
Lehtonen was brilliant in Coach Glen Gulutzan's debut with the stars, stopping 37 shots and missing a shutout by just 14 seconds in the Stars' 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. He helped the Stars kill three power plays in the second period as Chicago peppered him with 22 shots. Alex Gologoski and glass-shattering Jamie Benn had the goals; Nick Leddy scored for the Blackhawks.
No. 3 Star: Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings
In a game played in Stockholm, Richards led the Kings' rally for a 3-2 win over that other Richards and the New York Rangers. At 15:01 of the third period, Richards fought through a Michael Del Zotto check to deflect a puck past Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game. At 4:08 of the overtime, and with Ryan McDonagh in the box for tripping, Richards helped feed Jack Johnson for the game-winner. Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik scored for the Rangers; Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist for the Kings.
Honorable mention: Pekka Rinne stopped 32 shots and Matt Halischuk's insurance goal proved to be the game-winner in the Nashville Predators' 3-2 in at the Columbus Blue Jackets. Rick Nash scored his first of the year, and Jeff Carter had two assists in a losing effort. … Wild one for the Detroit Red Wings at home, as they scored the first five goals of the game and then gave up three straight in the third period, holding on for the 5-3 win over Paul MacLean's Ottawa Senators. Cory Emmerton, Nicklas Lidstrom and Ian White were among the goal-scorers; Milan Michalek had two for the Sens and Mika Zibanejad picked up his first NHL point. … The Tampa Bay Lightning scored five straight goals after Jeff Skinner opened the scoring, routing the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-1. Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist. Vinny Lecavalier scored on a baseball swing:
Did you know? Jeff Carter took 31 faceoffs for the Blue Jackets and won 24 of them.
Dishonorable mention: Craig Anderson gave up five goals for the Sens, but the first four were on plays in which his defense allowed Detroit players to waltz in on him. … The Red Wings and Columbus were both 0-for-5 on the power play. … Carolina ended its season with an embarrassing loss to the Lightning on home ice and then opened this season in the same manner — also embarrassing. … Finally, the Rangers' Hobbit Wizard was given a $2,5000 fine for a boarding penalty against the Kings.