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Sean Leahy

Friday's Three Stars: Halak saves Habs; Red Wings, Canucks win

Sean Leahy
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No. 1 star: Jaroslav Halak(notes), Montreal Canadiens

The Client was given an early two-goal lead and unlike Game 2, the Canadiens were able to hold on for a 2-1 win and force a Game 6 Sunday. Halak made 37 saves after sitting for Game 4. Mike Cammalleri and Travis Moen(notes) each scored within the first seven minutes and despite an Alex Ovechkin(notes) goal to cut the lead to one, Halak and Canadiens stayed alive for one more game.

No. 2 star: Jimmy Howard(notes), Detroit Red Wings

After being down 2-1 in their series with the Phoenix Coyotes, Howard has now posted back-to-back brilliant starts as Detroit put themselves a win away from advancing with a 4-1 victory Friday night. Howard stopped 30 shots and Pavel Datsyuk(notes) scored his third goal of the playoffs and recorded an assist in the win. With the score 1-1 heading into the third period, the Red Wings blitzed Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) with three in the final period including two in a 1:10 span from Tomas Holmstrom(notes) and Datsyuk. Howard has stopped 59 of 60 shots on goal in the last two games, including this nifty one on Martin Hanzal(notes):

No. 3 star: Mikael Samuelsson(notes), Vancouver Canucks

Scoring his playoff-leading sixth and seventh goals, Samuelsson led the offensive charge as Vancouver routed Los Angeles 7-2 to take a 3-2 series lead. Steve Bernier(notes) also scored twice, while Pavol Demitra(notes) contributed three points as the Canucks won their second straight game. As win any Vancouver victory, the Sedins were involved with Henrik recorded two helpers and Daniel scoring a goal and adding an assist. Roberto Luongo(notes) made 24 saves.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Miller(notes) made 34 saves with 20 of them coming in the third period as Buffalo forced a Game 6 with a 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins. Jason Pominville(notes) and Tyler Ennis(notes) each had two points ... Some chippy play at the end of the Canucks-Kings game saw Rick Rypien(notes) make sure that Rich Clune didn't fight him the rest of the series:

Dishonorable Mention: Through five games in the series and 29 shots, Washington's Alexander Semin(notes) remains goalless and has recorded only one assist ... Jonathan Quick(notes) did not have his game tonight against Vancouver allowing five goals on 26 shots before being pulled in the third period ... Despite being given an instigator penalty from an end-of-game scrum between Buffalo and Boston, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara(notes) will not be suspended for Game 6 on Monday after the NHL reviewed the incident.

Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Sidney Crosby(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Detroit Red Wings; 3. Mikael Samuelsson, Vancouver Canucks; 4. Nicklas Backstrom(notes), Washington Capitals; 5. Joe Pavelski(notes), San Jose Sharks; 6. Drew Doughty(notes), Los Angeles Kings; 7. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings; 8. Daniel Sedin(notes), Vancouver Canucks; 9. Brian Boucher(notes), Philadelphia Flyers; 10. Evgeni Malkin(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins

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