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NHL Three Stars: Kopecky’s hat trick powers Panthers; Holtby blanks Canes

Sean Leahy
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No. 1 Star: Tomas Kopecky, Florida Panthers

A wild game ended in 6-4 in favor of the Panthers over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Florida built up a 4-1 lead before allowing Pittsburgh to come back and tie it; but in the end it was Kopecky's first career hat trick that helped power the Panthers to the win. He also added an assist for a 4-point night. Brian Campbell and Tomas Fleischmann each chipped in a goal and two assists, while Scott Clemmensen stopped all 15 shots he faced in relief of Jose Theodore.

No. 2 Star: Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

The pre-game story might have had to do with Alex Semin's visit, but Holtby was the man for the Caps making 33 saves in a 3-0 shutout of the Carolina Hurricanes. The shutout was the fifth of Holtby's career. Nicklas Backstrom scored a goal and added an assist for Washington.

No. 3 Star: Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets

Kane extended his point streak to eight games with two goals and an assist in Winnipeg's 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. His goal in the second period gave the Jets a 2-0 lead and his second of the evening would eventually stand as the game-winner just 20 seconds after Taylor Pyatt cut the Winnipeg lead to a goal midway through the third period. Olli Jokinen would score a pair of his own as the Jets finished their road trip 4-1-0

Honorable Mention: Florida's power play cashed in on four of their six opportunities ... Is Cam Ward's save on Joel Ward the new front-runner for "Save of the Year"? ... The Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets alternated goals, but it was Loui Eriksson's overtime winner that gave the visitors the 5-4 win:

Tyler Myers' goal early in the third period was the difference as the Buffalo Sabres won for the first time under interim head coach Ron Rolston 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ryan Miller made 30 saves. Cody Hodgson scored a goal and assisted on another. Thomas Vanek chipped in a pair of helpers giving him 27 points on the year ... Steven Stamkos scored his league-leading 14th goal for the Lightning. It was his sixth straight game with a goal ... Zach Parise scored on the power play 27 seconds into overtime to give the Minnesota Wild a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. Niklas Backstrom made 20 saves ... Mikkel Boedker, Kyle Chipchura and Antoine Vermette each had two points as the Phoenix Coyotes downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Mike Smith finished with 29 saves ... Tuukka Rask made a season-high 36 saves and the Boston Bruins received goals from Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, and Gregory Campbell in the 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders ... Patrick Marleau's goal in the fourth round of the shootout was the game-deciding tally as the San Jose Sharks got by the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Antti Niemi made 25 saves as the Sharks picked up their second win in four games. Semyon Varlamov made 39 saves in the loss, including this glove save on Joe Thornton in OT:

Speaking of Jumbo Joe, check out his no-look pass to set up Logan Couture's goal 25 seconds into the game:

Did You Know? Paul Bissonnette has assists in each of his last three games, the longest point streak of his career.

Dishonorable Mention: The Rangers have dropped four straight ... Facing his old mates, Tomas Vokoun was pulled after allowing four goals in 22 shots ... Carolina has lost four of their last five and is 0-5 against the Southeast Division this season ... Tampa's power play went 0-for-5 ... Will Charlie Coyle get a call from Brendan Shanahan for this head to the head of Matt Stajan?

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