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NHL Three Stars: Vanek leads Sabres; Stastny’s quick goals boost Avs; Vokoun blanks Rangers

Sean Leahy
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No. 1 Star: Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres

Vanek continued his torrid start with his eight career hat trick and two assists as the Sabres dispatched the Boston Bruins 7-4. Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville each had a goal and two assists as the Sabres snapped a four-game losing streak. Vanek's five points now give him 54 in 46 games versus Boston.

No. 2 Star: Paul Stastny, Colorado Avalanche

Stastny picked a great time to score his first two goals of the season. With the game tied 3-3 late in the third period, Stastny cashed in on a power play opportunity and added another just 1:29 later to help the Avalanche over the Calgary Flames 6-3. John Mitchell and P.A. Parenteau each scored twice and chipped in an assist as Colorado snapped a three-game losing streak. J.S. Giguere made 25 saves in his first start of the season.

No. 3 Star: Tomas Vokoun, Pittsburgh Penguins

Vokoun's 28 saves helped the Penguins improve their road record to 4-1 with a 3-0 shutout of the New York Rangers. The shutout was Vokoun's 49th of his career and second win over the Rangers this season. Simon Despres and Evgeni Malkin each had a goal and an assist.

Honorable Mention: The St. Louis Blues scored three times in the opening 13:22 to pace themselves to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. David Backes tallied a goal and an assist and Brian Elliott made 24 stops. Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored his fifth of the young season off of a wonderful individual effort:

Break up the Islanders! Brad Boyes' goal 2:01 into overtime gave the Islanders a 5-4 win over the New Jersey Devils. John Tavares scored twice and assisted on Boyes' winner, giving him 11 points on the season. Waiver sensation Keith Aucoin scored his fourth of the season for the Islanders and was 8-for-10 in the faceoff dot ... The Florida Panthers scored five times from five different goal scorers in the third period to double up the Winnipeg Jets 6-3 to end a five-game losing skid. Tomas Fleischmann assisted on three goals and Tomas Kopecky added three points. Rookie Jonathan Huberdeau took to creative ways to tally his second of the season to give the Panthers a two-goal lead late in the third:

Down 2-1 in the third period, Nikolai Kulemin and Matt Frattin scored 2:13 apart to boost the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Washington Capitals 3-2. Frattin's goal was his third goal in two games ... John Scott threw down with Shawn Thornton early in Sabres-Bruins ... Brad Marchand scored twice in the loss, including this lovely effort:

Michal Handzus and Dan Boyle were the only scorers in the shootout as the San Jose Sharks fought off an Edmonton Oilers comeback with a 3-2 win. Logan Couture tallied his fifth of the season as the Sharks improved their franchise-best start to 7-0-0 ... Sergei Kostitsyn's goal in the eighth round of the shootout was the difference as the Nashville Predators beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Brandon Yip an Dustin Brown were the only goal scorers in regulation.

Did You Know? Vanek has two career five-point games. Both have come within the past 11 days.

Dishonorable Mention: New Jersey has lost three straight in overtime ... Scottie Upshall laid a big (clean?) hit on Zach Redmond and injured his leg while fighting James Wright:

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