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Thursday’s Three Stars: Brodeur blanks Panthers; Boedker beats Hawks

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One sad hockey player

No. 1 Star: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

After letting a 3-goal lead slip away and being pulled in a Game 3 loss, Brodeur deflected any criticism that he was no longer a difference-maker by making 26 saves in a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the 24th playoff shutout of Brodeur's illustrious career, an NHL record. His best save came when he stoned Kris Versteeg on a 3-on-2 by kicking out a pad:

No. 2 Star: Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

Brodeur wasn't the only netminder bouncing back after an iffy game 3. Holtby recovered swimmingly, making 44 saves to keep the Boston Bruins at bay in the Capitals' 2-1 win. The rookie goalie wasn't just the best player on the ice in Game 4 -- he was the most composed, giving his team the calming presence they needed to stay focused and tie the series heading back to Boston for Game 5. Alexander Semin scored the game-winner with an absolute laser of a wrister:

No. 3 Star: Mikkel Boedker, Phoenix Coyotes

Just as he did in Game 3, Boedker was the hero in the fourth consecutive overtime frame of Phoenix's first round series with the Chicago Blackhawks, poking a puck past Nick Leddy, then poking it past Corey Crawford to give the Coyotes the 3-2 win.

Honourable mention: Antoine Vermette made 11 hits for the Coyotes ... Brian Elliott made 24 saves in the St. Louis Blues' 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, pushing their series lead to 3-1. Patrick Berglund and David Perron assisted on both Blues goals.

Did you know? Phoenix and Chicago 4th consecutive playoff overtime marks the first time in NHL history that's happened since the 1951 Stanley Cup Final. [Kevin Gibson]

Dishonourable mention: Alex Ovechkin got the worst of this hit attempt on Zdeno Chara after Chara spotted him coming and stiffened up:

... Paul Bissonnette was ejected from the Coyotes game for failing to have his jersey tied down during a fight ... Jeers to Nick Leddy for his play on Boedker's overtime goal. Next time back off and play the 1-on-1 ... The Sharks continue to struggle with their offence, scoring their lone goal on Brian Elliott with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Through 4 games of the series, they've held the lead for just under 15 minutes, all of it in Game 1.

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