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NHL Three Stars: Howard, Quick toss shutouts; Rangers survive sweep

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Tom Cruise watched top gun and legend Anze Kopitar, far and away their best forward, make it rain, man, and help push the Sharks into oblivion as the Kings won this war of the worlds with their eyes wide shut. [NHL Video]

No. 1 Star: Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings goalie made 28 saves for his second career shutout, as Detroit won Game 4 over the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-0. He was especially good in the third period as the Blackhawks turned on the offense. Detroit leads the series, 3-1.

No. 2 Star: Derek Stepan, New York Rangers

The Rangers needed someone to make a play. Stepan did, twice. He stripped Zdeno Chara of the puck and scored to tie the Boston Bruins in the third period, 2-2. After Tyler Seguin’s goal gave Boston the lead again, Stepan set up Brian Boyle for another tying goal on the power play, where the Rangers were the worst team left in the postseason. New York won Game 4, 4-3 in overtime, on a Chris Kreider goal. Here’s the Stepan strip-and-score, helping the Rangers stay alive in the postseason.

No. 3 Star: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

Quick shut the door on the San Jose Sharks in Game 5, making 24 saves as the Kings won, 3-0. It was his seventh career shutout. His best work came when the Sharks pulled Antti Niemi with over 2 minutes left in the third, trailing by two goals. The Kings took a 3-2 series lead.

Honorable mention: Anze Kopitar, Slava Voynov and Jeff Carter had the Kings goals. … Jakub Kindl and Dan Cleary had the Wings goals. … Carl Hagelin had the Rangers’ other goal, while Nathan Horton and Torey Krug (his third) had the Bruins tallies. … Niemi (26 saves) and Corey Crawford (25 saves) had strong games in defeat.

Conn Smythe Watch: 1. David Krejci, Boston Bruins; 2. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins; 3. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings; 4. Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks; 5. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins; 7. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators; 8. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings; 9. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks; 10. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings.

Dishonorable mention: The Blackhawks saw their perfect penalty killing run end with the Kindl goal. … Jonathan Toews took three consecutive minor penalties in the second period, one of them leading to the Kindl goal. … This Tuukka Rask banana peel moment led to a Rangers goal. … Both Quick and Joe Thornton had their moments of embellishment in Game 5.

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