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Sunday’s Three Stars: Preds advance; OT thrills for Flyers, Hawks

Greg Wyshynski
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No. 1 Star: Nick Spaling, Nashville Predators

The Predators' center followed his 2-assist Game 5 with a 2-goal Game 6, including the game-winner in the third period, as Nashville defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 4-2. His first goal came on a centering pass from Jordin Tootoo; his goal in the third came on a rebound of a Tootoo rush to the net. Nashville won a playoff series for the first time in franchise history. The Ducks were eliminated.

No. 2 Star: Ville Leino, Philadelphia Flyers

At 4:43 of overtime, Leino scored his second of the playoffs off a Ryan Miller rebound, giving the Flyers a 5-4 victory and forcing a Game 7 on Tuesday night. Danny Briere had two goals, James van Riemsdyk scored his third of the playoffs and Scott Hartnell had the game-tying goal in the third.

No. 3 Star: Ben Smith, Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago rookie scored his third goal of the playoffs at 15:30 of overtime, sending the Blackhawks to a Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks with a 4-3 victory. Bryan Bickell, Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik (on a penalty shot) had the other goals. The Blackhawks had been down 3-0 in the series.

Honorable mention: Steve Sullivan and David Legwand had the other Predators goals; Teemu Selanne scored his sixth for the Ducks. … Nashville won 60 percent of its faceoffs. … Mike Richards assisted on the game-tying and winning goals. … Brian Boucher had one bad whiff on a Nathan Gerbe goal, but made 24 saves in relief. … Thomas Vanek had two goals for Buffalo. … Chris Pronger returned for the Flyers, playing 4:33, all on the power play. … Daniel Sedin scored his fifth for the Canucks. … Corey Crawford had 32 saves.

Did you know? The Flyers had never had three goalies start in one playoff series. The Canucks were the last team to start three, doing so against Calgary in 2004. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: The Canucks gambled by starting Cory Schneider over Roberto Luongo, saw Schneider get injured, and then watched Luongo give up the game-winning goal in OT. … Saku Koivu took an interference penalty, setting a pick in the neutral zone, with just 38 seconds left in the game and the Ducks down a goal. Corey Perry later took a slashing penalty and Selanne was given a misconduct after Legwand's empty netter. … Michael Leighton gave up three goals on eight shots for the Flyers. … Mike Weber was a minus-3 for the Sabres. … The Canucks lost Sami Salo to injury, limiting him to four shirts. … This Mike Richards hit on Tim Connolly earned him a boarding minor and knocked Connolly out of the lineup for the Sabres. Coach Lindy Ruff wanted the NHL to look into it:

Conn Smythe Watch 1. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings; 2. Michal Neuvirth, Washington Capitals; 3. Ryane Clowe, San Jose Sharks; 4. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks; 5. Mike Fisher, Nashville Predators; 6. Danny Briere, Philadelphia Flyers; 7. Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning; 8. Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins; 9. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres; 10. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks;

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