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Saturday’s Three Stars: Ward’s third period pair keeps Preds alive

Sean Leahy
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No. 1 Star: Joel Ward, Nashville Predators

Needing a win to stay alive, Ward came up big for Nashville scoring twice in the third period as the Predators hung on for a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Nashville now trails the series 3-2 as things shift back to Music City for Game 6 on Monday. Ward is now tied for the playoff lead in goals with seven and is tied for second in points with 12. He has points in nine of Nashville's 12 playoff games. His first goal came courtesy of a Mike Fisher cross-ice pass:

No. 2 Star: David Legwand, Nashville Predators

Legwand scored the other two goals for Nashville and each came early in the first and second periods. His second tied the game at two and was his fifth of the playoffs, while his first came shorthanded to open the scoring.

No. 3 Star: Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks

Despite the loss, it was another monster game for Kesler as he scored twice, led all players in hits with six and dominated in the faceoff circle winning 21 of 26 draws.

Honorable mention: Pekka Rinne made 31 saves ... Led by Kesler, Vancouver controlled faceoffs winning 47 of 76 ... Mike Fisher and Kevin Klein each had six blocked shots, while the Predators had 30 as a team ... Nashville held the Canucks to just two shots on their two power play opportunities.

Did you know? Nashville's win was the first in franchise history when facing elimination. They had previously been 0-5.

Dishonorable mention: Mikael Samuelsson left the game in the first period with a "lower-body injury" and did not return ... J.P. Dumont, playing for the first time since Game 2 against Anaheim, played just 7:49 and was a minus-2 ... The Sedins were a combined minus-7 and held pointless ... Alex Edler and Roberto Luongo are going to want Legwand's second goal back:

Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins; 3. Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks; 4. Ryane Clowe, San Jose Sharks; 5. Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins; 6. Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks; 7. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators; 8. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings; 9. Nathan Horton, Boston Bruins; 10. Joel Ward, Nashville Predators.

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