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Stanley Cup Playoffs Three Stars: Rangers, Blackhawks strike first in Round 2

Brassard lifts Rangers by Penguins 3-2 in overtime
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New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) collects himself after allowing a goal to Pittsburgh Penguins' James Neal in the second period of Game 1 of a second-round NHL hockey playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

 

No. 1 Star: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

After the Minnesota Wild eradicated a two-goal lead early in the third period (which happens a lot lately) Kane went to work, restoring the two-goal lead with a couple of beautiful tallies. His game-winner in what turned out to be a 5-2 victory was a thing of beauty, as he danced across the blue line before faking a drop-pass, then cutting across the zone and beating Ilya Bryzgalov with a backhand:

No. 2 Star: Benoit Pouliot, New York Rangers

Pouliot opened the scoring in the Rangers' 3-2 OT win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, and technically, he closed it too, scoring the game-winner a little over three minutes into the overtime frame. But when it turned out Derick Brassard had actually scored a few seconds earlier, his second goal became his first assist. Either way, a two-point night for the New York forward.

No. 3 Star: Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

Hossa had three points in the Chicago win -- a goal and 2 assists.

Honorable mention: Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves for the Rangers, who were outplayed after the first period, but saved from themselves by their goalie and king... Dany Heatley picked up another point for Minnesota and appears to be finding his game at a crucial time... Like Kane, Bickell scored twice in the Blackhawks' win, and like Pouliot, it was the first goal and the last goal, as Bickell drew first blood for Chicago then sealed the win with the empty-netter.

Did You Know? The Blackhawks lost Andrew Shaw to an injury after this hit from Clayton Stoner:

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Andrew Shaw was injured on this hit.

Dishonorable mention: That second Penguins goal really shouldn't have counted. Malkin interfered with Lundqvist pretty blatantly, I thought.

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