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NHL Three Stars: Kessel leads happy homecoming for Carlyle; Avs win in OT

Toronto Maple Leafs v Anaheim Ducks
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ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 10: Paul Ranger #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal with Phil Kessel #81 and Tyler Bozak #42 Toronto Maple Leafs take a 3-0 lead over the Anaheim Ducks during the second period at Honda Center on March 10, 2014 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Let’s begin with an obvious nod to the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets medical staffs for their proactive and immediate reaction to Rich Peverley’s health scare that postponed the teams’ game on Monday night.

No. 1 Star: Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs star had a goal and two assists in their 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks in Randy Carlyle’s return to Anaheim. He had a secondary helper on Tyler Bozak’s goal and scored his 34th in the first; he then assisted on Paul Ranger’s second-period goal. Jonathan Bernier had 43 saves in the win.

No. 2 Star: Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche

Duchene scored at 2:33 of overtime to give the Avs a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. He schooled Dustin Byfuglien with a spin move in the corner, fired the puck off Tobias Enstrom and then collected the rebound for his 21st of the season.

No. 3 Star: Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins

Kunitz opened and closed the scoring for the Penguins in their 3-2 win at the Washington Capitals. He caught Mike Green flat-footed just 46 seconds into the game, and then tallied his 31st goal of the year at 12:40 of the second. Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists in the win.

Honorable mention: The New York Islanders scored seven third-period goals, including four in 5:08, to rally and beat the Vancouver Canucks, 7-4. Kyle Okposo had three assists. … The Los Angeles Kings scored the first three goals of the game and then held off a Calgary Flames’ rally for a 3-2 victory. Anze Kopitar had the game-winner. … Seth Jones collected a rebound of a Ryan Ellis breakaway shot at 3:49 of overtime in the Nashville Predators’ 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky had three point games in the loss. … Radim Vrbata scored the lone goal of the shootout as the Phoenix Coyotes topped the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3. Ondrej Palat had two goals and an assist. …

Did You Know? The Islanders tied an NHL record for road goals in a period with 7.

Dishonorable mention: Shea Weber and Roman Josi were a minus-3. … Craig Anderson was pulled after stopping 26 of 29 shots, following a collision with Milan Michalek. … The Canucks took three minor penalties in the third and gave up three power-play goals on seven times shorthanded.

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