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NHL Three Stars: Rookie Pageau tricks Habs; Couture’s 4-point night; Kunitz is OT hero for Pens

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

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No. 1 Star: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ottawa Senators

The Senators rookie tallied his first NHL hat trick, regular season and playoffs, during Ottawa's 6-1 rout of the Montreal Canadiens to take a 2-1 lead in the series. To top it all off, he also lost a tooth:

No. 2 Star: Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks

Both Couture and Joe Pavelski netted pairs of goals at important times during San Jose's 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Pavelski scored his two in the first and second periods to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead. Alex Burrows would cut the lead to one for the Canucks entering the final period, but then Couture stepped up and put home two on the power play within the opening 4:07, a span which saw San Jose score three times and change the complexion of the game. He would also add a pair of assists for a 4-point night. San Jose has never swept an opponent in the playoffs in franchise history.

No. 3 Star: Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins

Kunitz's overtime winner helped the Penguins survive Game 3 against the New York Islanders and take a 2-1 series lead with a 5-4 victory. The goal was his second of the night, assisted by Sidney Crosby, who finished with three assists and drew the penalty in overtime that led to the winning goal.

Honorable mention: Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Paul Martin each had two assists ... The Penguins scored on three of their five power plays ... Daniel Alfredsson finished with a goal and two assists ... Sergei Gonchar and Erik Karlsson each chip in two helpers ... Antti Niemi made 28 saves and has allowed just four goals in the opening three games of the series ... Jason Zucker has a knack for this overtime thing. Having scored three OT winners with the Houston Aeros this year, Zucker netted his latest to cut the Chicago Blackhawks series lead to 2-1 as the Minnesota Wild were victors 3-2. Zach Parise and Duncan Keith traded goals in the third period to force overtime, where Zucker pounced on a loose puck and beat an unsuspecting Corey Crawford.

Did You Know? Kyle Okposo's shorthanded goal was the first by an Islander in the playoffs since Tom Fitzgerald did so in 1993. [Isles]

Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues; 2. Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks; 3. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks; 4. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins; 5. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings; 6. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; 7. Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks; 8. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals; 9. Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks; 10. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks.

Dishonorable mention: The Canucks have not been swept out of the playoffs since 2001 (Colorado) ... Cory Schneider was in net for all five Sharks goals before being pulled with 5:53 left ... The third period of Habs-Sens devolved into a 20-minute penalty fest, with the featured moment coming via a line brawl. The penalty list was loooooong and saw 200 PIMs handed out in the final 20 minutes alone ... Paul MacLean and Michel Therrien talked about what happened during their postgame press conferences.

Therrien: "You never want to humiliate another team as a coach, and this is exactly what happened tonight. As far as I’m concerned, it was classless."

MacLean: "I feel bad for the referees, but they wouldn’t let me bring my players back to the bench so I can tell them what I wanted them to do. So my only recourse was to take the timeout because I didn’t want anyone to get hurt. It was already getting dumb enough as it was."

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