Monday's three stars: Crombeen tricks Preds in Blues' win

Greg Wyshynski
December 9, 2008

No. 1 star: B.J. Crombeen, St. Louis Blues

Coming into tonight, Crombeen had two points in nine games after joining the Blues. Now he has six in 10, after his hat trick and an assist in St. Louis's 6-3 win over the visiting Nashville Predators and red-hot goalie Pekka Rinne. He received some help on his four-point night: a turnover by the Predators' defense led to his first unassisted goal; his shot on Rinne on the power play deflected to Patrik Berglund for his ninth in the second period; and Alex Steen's inside-out move resulted in a nice pass to Crombeen for his second goal, which ended up being the game-winner. Crombeen then added an empty net to complete a career night. Nah, Dallas couldn't use this kid, right?

No. 2 star: Stephen Weiss, Florida Panthers

Missing David Booth, Nathan Horton, Rostislav Olesz, Cory Stillman and Richard Zednik, the Panthers needed an offensive hero in overtime. An exhausted Weiss probably didn't think it'd be him when he blasted a shot on Alex Auld from just inside the blue line in the final seconds of OT. But the puck found the back of the net, and the Panthers defeated the Ottawa Senators, 4-3, in a game that saw them erase three different Senators' leads -- within three minutes of Ottawa's goal on each occasion.

No. 3 star: Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres

Jason Pominville's nice feed in the Penguins' zone in the third period deserves just as much credit, but Vanek's NHL-leading 20th goal was the difference in the Sabres' come-from-behind victory at the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3.

Honorable Mention: Phil Kessel extended his point streak to 12 games with his 17th goal of the season in the Boston Bruins' 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Zdeno Chara had the game-winner; Paul Szczechura scored his first NHL goal for Tampa. ... Jason Blake had the game-winning goal and two assists against his former team, as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the New York Islanders, 4-2. ... Ryan Miller gave up three goals, but made several noteworthy stops against the Penguins; including a save with his mask on Sidney Crosby's partial breakaway and robbing Miro Satan in the third with his glove. ... Evgeni Malkin had two incredible assists on Ruslan Fedotenko goals in the loss. ... Craig Anderson had a rough go in Ottawa, but played very well in overtime during a 35-save effort.

Dishonorable Mention: The Penguins blew a two-goal lead and their power play was atrocious (1 for 8) in the loss, leading to this comment from Michel Therrien: "We tried to be cute. No traffic in front. We ask people to go in front of the net. They don't want to go. So we need the perfect shot." ... Finally, here's what Nate Thompson of the Islanders did during part of his whopping 2:55 of ice time last evening, as he spends some quality time with Ryan Hollweg.