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Sean Leahy

Sunday's Three Stars: Luongo shines; Coyotes force Game 7

Sean Leahy
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No. 1 star: Roberto Luongo(notes), Vancouver Canucks

Luongo saved his best game of the Canucks' series with the Los Angeles Kings for the clincher. Behind Daniel Sedin's(notes) go-ahead goal with 2:03 remaining and Luongo's 30 saves, Vancouver eliminated Los Angeles in six games with a 4-2 win to move on to the Western Conference semifinals. Minutes before the Canucks tied the score in the second period, Luongo robbed Ryan Smyth(notes) on what could have been a game-changing goal for the Kings:

No. 2 star: Ilya Bryzgalov(notes), Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes stayed alive by defeating the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 to force a Game 7 Tuesday night in Phoenix. Bryzgalov made 31 saves and Taylor Pyatt(notes) had a goal and an assist in the win. It seemed like the Coyotes were digging themselves a hole by taking three penalties in the first five minutes of the game, but Lauri Korpikoski's(notes) shorthanded tally at the 4:10 mark opened the scoring. Phoenix would later take advantage on the power play, cashing in three times on six opportunities. Mathieu Schneider(notes) scored the first power play goal for the Coyotes in the second period snapping an 0-for-19 drought with the extra skater.

No. 3 star: Mikael Samuelsson(notes), Vancouver Canucks

The NHL leader in playoff goals scored, Samuelsson didn't beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick(notes) on Sunday night, but helped setup Kevin Bieksa's(notes) tying goal early in the third period and his broken stick shot found its way to Daniel Sedin for the eventual game-winning tally with two minutes to go in the game.

Dishonorable Mention: Los Angeles' power play, which had been on fire earlier in their series with Vancouver, went 0-for-5 in Game 6 ... Jimmy Howard(notes) was fantastic in Games 4 and 5, but was left out to dry by allowing five goals on 29 Phoenix shots. After the game, he may have also given the Coyotes something to throw on their bulletin board in preparation for Game 7 by saying that Phoenix got "lucky" because Detroit hit a couple of goal posts ... Near the end of the game, Justin Abdelkader(notes) and Keith Yandle(notes) had their own version of an MMA fight at the end of the game this afternoon:

Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Sidney Crosby(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Detroit Red Wings; 3. Mikael Samuelsson, Vancouver Canucks; 4. Joe Pavelski(notes), San Jose Sharks; 5. Nicklas Backstrom(notes), Washington Capitals; 6. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks; 7. Mike Richards(notes), Philadelphia Flyers; 8. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings; 9. Tuukka Rask(notes), Boston Bruins; 10. Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes.

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