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Greg Wyshynski

Sunday’s Three Stars: Gaborik’s trick, Vokoun king of January

Greg Wyshynski
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No. 1 Star: Marian Gaborik(notes), New York Rangers

Rangers goalie Chad Johnson(notes), who earned his first NHL win in the 3-1 victory against the Colorado Avalanche, said it best: "All it takes sometimes is one guy to kind of lead the team, pick'em up and put them on his shoulders, and Gabby was unbelievable tonight." Gaborik's 10th career hat trick, and first since 2007, powered New York to break its five-game losing streak. Gaborik leads the Rangers in points (65), goals (33) and assists (32); now the hockey world waits to see if he'll get a little help.

No. 2 Star: Tomas Vokoun(notes), Florida Panthers

Vokoun posted his fourth shutout in January, making 33 saves to blank the New York Islanders, 2-0. The Panther goalie posted 13 saves in the third period, as goals by Jordan Leopold(notes) and Keith Ballard(notes) held up. Special tap of the stick to David Booth(notes), back in the lineup for the first time since October and picking up an assist on Florida's first goal.

No. 3 Star: Alex Ovechkin(notes), Washington Capitals

The Capitals weren't emotionally engaged during every moment of their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, but their captain gave them a jolt when they needed it. Ovechkin's 35th goal of the season in the third period -- a shot from the slot that beat Mike Smith(notes) (28 saves) -- ended up giving the Capitals their 10th straight victory to tie a franchise record, topping the Bolts 3-2. Nicklas Backstrom scored his 23rd, while Steven Stamkos(notes) scored his 29th for Tampa.

Honorable mention: Peter Mueller(notes) and Shane Doan(notes) both had a goal and two assists in the Phoenix Coyotes' 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. Radim Vrbata's(notes) 17th of the season was the game-winner in Dave Tippett's successful return to Big D. Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) made 38 saves. The Coyotes were without Scottie Upshall(notes), who'll need surgery on his ACL and is out indefinitely. ... Sidney Crosby(notes) scored his 34th goal and then again in the shootout; but it was Evgeni Malkin's(notes) plodding attempt against a very good Jimmy Howard(notes) (46 saves) that clinched the 2-1 shootout win on national television. Here's the full shootout:

Did you know? Crosby's goal was the Penguins' first at home against Detroit during the regular season since Rico Fata's(notes) on Oct. 18, 2003. (AP, and seriously?)

Dishonorable mention: Having learned nothing from Game 7 against the Hurricanes last postseason, the New Jersey Devils surrendered a lead and the game to the Los Angeles Kings in the last 1:46 of the third period. Wayne Simmonds(notes) scored to tie the game; Andy Greene(notes) took a tripping penalty and Drew Doughty(notes) scored past a well-screened Martin Brodeur(notes) (19 saves) for the 3-2 victory. The comes after blowing a two-goal lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the previous game. Good win for the Kings, however. ... Stephane Robidas(notes) was a minus-3 for the Stars. ... The Rangers and Avs were a combined 0-for-12 on the power play.

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