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Sean Leahy

Three Stars: Busy night for Ruutu's; Elliott, Huet blank foes

Sean Leahy
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No. 1 star, Tuomo Ruutu(notes), Carolina Hurricanes

Ruutu's hat trick, capped off with an empty-net insurance marker with six seconds left, led the way in Carolina's 5-3 win over Dallas. After taking a commanding 3-0 lead through the opening 13 minutes, the Stars clawed back and cut the deficit to one in the second period. Ruutu's second goal of the night gave Carolina some breathing room in the third period before he completed the trick at the end of the game.

No. 2 star, Brian Elliott(notes), Ottawa Senators

After the news of Jason Spezza's(notes) injury added to Ottawa injury woes, Buffalo had the opportunity to grab an easy two points. Elliott thought otherwise making 22 saves and blanked the Sabres, winners of four in a row heading into Wednesday night's game. It was Elliott's 13th straight start filling in for an injured Pascal Leclaire(notes) and second shutout in his last four games.

No. 3 star, Cristobal Huet(notes), Chicago Blackhawks

Huet continued his stellar play this season by making 27 saves in 3-0 shutout of St. Louis. Now with 15 wins on the year, Huet and backup Antti Niemi(notes) have gone 141:21 without allowing a goal. The victory improved the Blackhawks NHL-best home record to 14-3-1 and gave the franchise their best start since 1982-83 through 32 game.

Honorable Mention: Martin Brodeur(notes) tied Patrick Roy's all-time games played record at 1,029 and then beat Montreal 2-1 with 17 saves for his 578th career win. Patrik Elias(notes) netted the winner with 2:36 left in the third period. Ilkka Pikkarainen(notes) scored his first NHL goal to tie the game at one in the second period ... Trent Hunter(notes) played in his 400th game as the Isles upended the rival New York Rangers 2-1. Dwayne Roloson(notes) made 25 saves for his 11th win ... Despite three assists from Mike Ribeiro(notes), the Stars couldn't overcome Carolina ... Phoenix was a goal away from "making it seven" in Toronto with a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs. Martin Hanzal(notes) and Keith Yandle(notes) assisted on three of the Coyotes' goals while Petr Prucha(notes) potted two. The high-flying Coyotes are 7-1-1 in their last nine games ... Florida's Stephen Weiss(notes) continued his career season with a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win. Weiss now has seven points in four games. Michael Frolik's(notes) winner with 1:21 left took the steam out of an Atlanta comeback ... Jonas Hiller(notes) (28 saves) and Roberto Luongo(notes) (31 saves) put on a heckuva show in Vancouver as the Ducks edged the Canucks 3-2 on Saku Koivu's(notes) last third period goal. Anaheim rookie Dan Sexton(notes) had two assists extending his points streak to four games. Ducks forward Mike Brown played in his 100th NHL game ... Marian Hossa(notes) scored his fifth goal in ten games and Patrick Kane(notes) setup all three Chicago goals. Blackhawks fans filled the United Center for the franchise's 68th consecutive sellout.

Did You Know?: Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan(notes) is one game away from 1,000 for his NHL career, all with the Winnipeg/Phoenix organization.

Dishonorable Mention: It was open season on Vesa Toskala(notes) as Phoenix scored four second period goals on 10 shots against Toronto ... Despite Ottawa having five regulars out of the lineup, Buffalo couldn't capitalize on six power-play chances as they were shutout ... After last night's David Koci(notes) hit on Mike Green(notes), Ottawa's Jarkko Ruutu(notes) might face suspension after his hit to the head of Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta(notes) ... We mentioned New Jersey's Ilkka Pikkarainen scoring his first NHL goal tonight against Montreal. We're not sure if Carey Price's(notes) catching glove will be credited with an assist:

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