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Saturday’s Three Stars: Blues clinch playoff berth; Bowman leads Canes over Wild

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Chad LaRose calls his friends to rescue him from prison during a game of capture the flag.

No. 1 Star: Drayson Bowman, Carolina Hurricanes

Bowman had two goals and an assist in Saturday's win over the Minnesota Wild. He opened the scoring only a minute in, and after the Wild tallied three straight to take a two-goal lead in the second, Bowman helped the Hurricanes claw back into it, scoring his second late in the middle frame, and assisting on the game-tying tally early in the third. Carolina wound up rattling off 4 straight goals in the game's final 25 minutes to secure the 5-3 victory. Brandon Sutter picked up a goal and an assist.

No. 2 Star: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins definitely looked like the team to beat Saturday versus the New Jersey Devils, outshooting them 44-14 and outscoring them 5-2. Crosby had another 3 assist in the game, setting up Evgeni Malkin's 40th of the season and two more for Matt Cooke, giving Crosby 17 points on the season and putting him on pace for 34. By the by, if it wasn't apparent that Cooke's sudden offensive outburst isn't the result of Crosby using him like the walls of a putt-putt course, consider the following evidence:

No. 3 Star: Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche

Varlamov stopped 41 of 42 shots he faced as the Colorado Avalanche kept their playoff push alive with a 3-1 win over the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers. As as example of how integral Varlamov's performance was to the win, Henrik Lundqvist, Varly's counterpart at the other end, only faced 19 shots. Gabriel Landeskog's 21st of the season stood as the game-winner.

Honorable mention: Matt Read had a goal and an assist on a late, game-tying goal for the Philadelphia Flyers, but Tim Thomas made the only save in the shootout as the Boston Bruins' held on to win 3-2, snapping a four-game losing streak and retaking top spot in the Northeast division... Kyle Brodziak contributed a goal and 2 assists in the Wild loss... 19-year-old Jaden Schwartz scored his first-career goal against 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson. It stood as the game-winner in the St. Louis Blues' 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Blues became the first team to 100 points and the first to clinch a playoff berth with the win.. Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators... Josh Bailey scored the shootout winner and Frans Neilsen picked up a goal and an assist as the New York Islanders knocked off the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Mark Streit scored on a sweet end-to-end rush:

Not to be outdone, Alex Edler perpetrated an end-to-end rush of his own in the Vancouver Canucks' 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets:

Both Sedins had two-point nights, and Jack Johnson had a goal and an assist in the loss... Dmitry Kulikov scored the shootout winner and Tomas Fleischmann notched his 30th assist in the Florida Panthers' 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. With the win, the Panthers remained two points out of 2nd in the Conference... Dwight King's 4th of the year was the deciding goal in the Los Angeles Kings' 4-2 win over the Nashville Predators... After the Detroit Red Wings came back from down two goals to the San Jose Sharks to send the game to overtime, Martin Havlat scored the 3-2 winner to salvage the two points...

Did you know? Shane Doan was fined $2500 for boarding Calgary Flames' defenceman Mark Giordano on Friday.

Dishonorable mention: I mean, I understand the Penguins are playing really well right now, but 14 shots, New Jersey? I know you were wearing throwback jerseys, but you aren't supposed to play like the mid-1980s Devils... The Rangers' loss, their 6th in the last 10 games, gives the surging Penguins a window to take over the Conference lead... Erik Karlsson and Ben Bishop combined for the own-goal of the night:

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

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