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NHL Three Stars: Ward nets hat trick vs. Flyers; Pominville’s pair leads Wild

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

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No. 1 Star: Joel Ward, Washington Capitals

Ward tallied his first career hat trick during a 7-0 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers. He netted a pair during a six-goal second period as the Capitals put the game out of hand quickly. Ward complete the trick 5:23 into the third period, which during the next shift saw a major line brawl between the two teams that featured a scrap between Braden Holtby, who posted a 30-save shutout, and Ray Emery.

No. 2 Star: Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders

Fighting back from a 4-2 deficit, the New York Islanders recovered against the Ottawa Senators and beat them 5-4 after a shootout. Frans Nielsen scored early in the third period to tie the game and the netted the only goal in the shootout. Thomas Vanek, playing in his 600th NHL game, recorded his first assist with the Islanders in lovely fashion:

No. 3 Star: Jason Pominville, Minnesota Wild

After giving the Wild a 2-1 lead midway through the second period, Pominville added his second of the night and ninth of the season with 5:28 left in the third period to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Over his last three games, Pominville now has five goals.

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Honorable mention: Jason Chimera scored for the fourth straight game and finished with a four-point night. Mikhail Grabovski recorded a hat trick of assists, while Nicklas Backstrom finished with two goals and a helper ... In his first game since February, Manny Malhotra played 8:52 and was also 15-for-20 in the dot ... With 37 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury and three second period goals, the Pittsburgh Penguins doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 ... Kari Lehtonen's save on John Mitchell should go in the "save of the year" candidate pile ... Brian Elliott made 31 saves for his 22nd career shutout as the St. Louis Blues shutout the Florida Panthers 4-0. Alex Steen improved his goal scoring streak to six games with his NHL-leading 12th of the season ... Behind Ben Bishop's 31 saves and goals from Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn, the Lightning shutout the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. The shutout was Bishop's third of his career, two of which have come against Carolina ... Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, and Niklas Kronwall each recorded two points as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 ... The Dallas Stars came back from falling behind 2-0 to the Colorado Avalanche, but it was Paul Stastny who scored his second of the night and ended their hopes for two points with the overtime winner:

Did You Know? "Ken Hitchcock earned win No. 613 tonight, tying him with former Blues coach Jacques Martin for 10th on the NHL's all-time wins list." (Blues)

Dishonorable mention: From a fight earlier in the game, Steve Downie suffered a concussion, while Vincent Lecavalier received a facial injury partaking in the line brawl. Both will miss an undetermined amount of time ... In their two meetings this season, the Panthers have been outscored by the Blues 11-0 ... Justin Peters is going to want this one back.

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