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Greg Wyshynski

Sunday's Three Stars: Anderson, Niemi draw blanks

Greg Wyshynski
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No. 1 star: Craig Anderson(notes), Colorado Avalanche

Anderson's 51-save performance had an infamous finish that slightly obscured how remarkable the Colorado goalie's effort was against the San Jose Sharks. The Avs were outshot 51-17 for the game and 42-7 in the final two periods. The strange Ryan O'Reilly(notes)/Dan Boyle gaffe produced the lone goal in Colorado's 1-0 Game 3 victory, but Anderson's the only reason the Avs had a prayer of winning. He was awesome.

No. 2 star: Antti Niemi(notes), Chicago Blackhawks

Niemi's 2-0 blanking of the Nashville Predators was the first playoff shutout for the Blackhawks since Ed Belfour(notes) in 1996. He earned it with several sharp stops among the 23 saves he had against the Preds. Dave Bolland(notes) and Patrick Kane(notes) had the goals as the 'Hawks evened their series, 1-1.

No. 3 star: Sidney Crosby(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins' captain had an eventful two-point night in Pittsburgh's 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators to take a 2-1 series lead. Along with an assist on Bill Guerin's(notes) third period goal, he flattened Daniel Alfredsson(notes) with a check (video) and scored on this power move on the power play that provided a late second-period dagger:

Honorable Mention: Daniel Carcillo(notes) was left uncovered by the New Jersey Devils defense and cashed in a loose puck at 3:35 of overtime to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 3-2 win in Game 3. Brian Rolston(notes) scored twice for the Devils, who were overpowered in the final period by the Flyers' attack. Marty Brodeur made 31 saves in a strong effort. ... The Phoenix Coyotes had goals from Sami Lepisto(notes), Wojtek Wolski(notes), Petr Prucha(notes) and Radim Vrbata(notes) and outhustled the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe in a 4-2 victory in Game 3. Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) made 29 saves. The Wings had tallies from Valtteri Filppula(notes) and Johan Franzen(notes). ... Matt Cullen(notes) had a goal and an assist for the Senators, who were 2-for-4 on the power play.

Dishonorable Mention: Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) was a minus-3 for Detroit. ... The officiating in the Devils/Flyers game was some of the worst in the postseason, despite (or because of) Gary Bettman's presence at the game. ... Nashville was 0-for-5 on the power play. ... Finally, another reminder that history was made for San Jose on Sunday:

Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Mike Richards(notes), Philadelphia Flyers; 3. Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Detroit Red Wings; 4. Craig Anderson, Colorado Avalanche; 5. Nicklas Backstrom(notes), Washington Capitals; 6. Mikael Samuelsson(notes), Vancouver Canucks; 7. Drew Doughty(notes), Los Angeles Kings; 8. Wojtek Wolski, Phoenix Coyotes; 9. Zdeno Chara(notes), Boston Bruins; 10. Antti Niemi, Chicago Blackhawks.

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