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Friday's Three Stars: Whitney's the main man in Carolina win

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No. 1 star: Ray Whitney, Carolina Hurricanes

Pretty nice symmetry for Whitney in Friday's 6-1 win over the Flames. He scored three goals, all three on the power play, the third of which was career goal No. 300. Not bad for a guy who, when recounting his own career highlights, recalls the fact that he's been waived twice and bought out twice. Whitney's first was into a yawning net, but his second and third goals were laser shots against Calgary backup Curtis McElhinney, who in truth didn't have much of a chance on a night the Flames came out flat on the second night of back-to-backs. Whitney, in his 17th season, now has 21 goals for his eighth-career 20-goal campaign.

No. 2 star: Tim Connolly, Buffalo Sabres

Connolly wasn't even sure he'd be wearing a Buffalo sweater after the trade deadline. The oft-injured center was the subject of all sorts of speculation, but he got an extension, not a ticket out of town, and has responded with five points in two games since the ink dried. Friday against Phoenix, Connolly tied a career-high with four points, scoring twice and assisting on two goals in a 5-1 win over the Coyotes. After a sluggish start, Connolly got Buffalo on the board with a goal on a deflection, then won a faceoff 70 seconds later that led directly to a Andrej Sekera goal. He led all Buffalo forwards with six shots and 19:26 of ice time.

No. 3 star: Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta Thrashers

The Thrashers won't make the playoffs, but they could have a say in who will fill the final four slots in the Eastern Conference. Friday they dealt Montreal a blow as Lehtonen made 25 saves in a 2-0 win on home ice. It was Lehtonen's second shutout of the season, and first since Jan. 8 when he blanked the Devils. As is typically the case in tight 1-0 games, Lehtonen did some of his best work in the final 20 minutes, turning aside 12 shots in the third period. He denied Tomas Plekanec twice in the waning moments before an empty-netter provided the final margin.

Honorable mention: Erik Cole scored a goal in his first game since re-joining the Hurricanes at the trade deadline. … Sabres goalie Patrick Lalime won't give way to newly acquired Mikael Tellqvist without a fight. Lalime has stopped 67 of 69 shots faced since the trade deadline and is 2-0 after besting Phoenix on Friday. … Blues forward Brad Boyes moved into a tie for second in the NHL with his ninth game-winning goal. Boyes and Andy McDonald combined for seven points in a 4-3 overtime win over the Lightning. … Marty Turco made 19 saves in the second period (36 total) in a 3-2 Dallas win over Anaheim.

Dishonorable mention: Pretty bad giveaway by Calgary defenseman Adam Pardy, whose cross-ice pass at his own blueline found its way to the stick of Sergei Samsonov, who skated in alone on a breakaway to beat McElhinney. … Montreal goalie Carey Price is 0-6-1 in his last seven starts.

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