No. 1 Star: Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets
Atkinson registered his 1st career hat trick in his 26th NHL game, scoring once in each period as the Blue Jackets ended the Avalanche's slim playoffs hopes with a 5-2 win. Rick Nash scored twice as well. Steve Mason made 35 saves in the win and picked up the only assist on Atkinson's empty-netter to ice the hat trick.
No. 2 Star: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
With the Dallas Stars desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Rinne was an emotionless and uncaring beast, refusing to allow even a single goal over 28 shots against. Rinne picked up his 5th shutout of the season in the Predators' 2-0 win, eliminating the Stars and leapfrogging the Detroit Red Wings for 4th place in the West.
No. 3 Star: Marco Scandella, Minnesota Wild
Scandella picked up the primary assist on the Wild's lone goal in their 2-1 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks, but he's not here for his scoring. The rookie blueliner earns third star honours for his absurd workload Thursday: he logged 35:32 in the game. According to Mike Russo, it's the most icetime since Chris Pronger (35:43) on March 11, 2009 and the most by a rookie since Andrej Meszaros (37:49) on April 5, 2006.
Honourable mention: Cam Ward made 30 saves and Eric Staal scored the shootout winner as the Carolina Hurricanes knocked off the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1 ... It was a 5-4 win for the New York Islanders as they played host to the Winnipeg Jets in their home finale. Michael Grabner and Kyle Oksposo scored 2 goals apiece and Matt Moulson scored his 36th ... In his first NHL start since January 18, 2011 and only his 7th ever, Anton Khudobin made a compelling case for more of them, making 44 saves in a 3-1 win for the Boston Bruins over their most likely first round opponent, the Ottawa Senators ... Steven Stamkos scored his 59th goal of the season in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ben Scriven refused to give up 60, and even admitted that was on his mind: "I just didn't want to give up 60. It would be on the highlights all summer," Scrivens said. Here's 59:
Dion Phaneuf scored the overtime winner ... Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Chris Kunitz all had a goal and an assist in the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 win over the New York Rangers. With the win, Pittsburgh clinched the number 4 seed and home ice advantage in the 1st round ... Brooks Laich lived up to his prediction, picking up a goal, an assist, and 1st star honours as the Washington Capitals clinched the playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Despite the defeat, the Panthers clinched as well ... Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime winner in the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers ... Matt Read scored the game-winner with an incredible burst of speed in the Philadelphia Flyers' 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, eliminating the Sabres from postseason contention.
Ryan Miller did everything he could, making 33 saves in the loss... Martin Brodeur made 23 saves, allowing the New Jersey Devils to edge the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 and hitting the 30-win mark for 14th time in his career as the New Jersey. Petr Sykora's 20th of the season was the game-winner ... The Calgary Flames got to crash the Vancouver Canucks' party with a 3-2 win that took both the Western Conference title and the Presidents' Trophy out of their hands. Curtis Glencross scored twice ... The San Jose Sharks scored 5 goals on Jonathan Quick and won the first half of a home-and-home with the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 in a shootout. Ryane Clowe and Joe Thornton picked up Gordie Howe hat tricks, and Joe Pavelski scored the shootout winner. Willie Mitchell and Anze Kopitar has 3 assists apiece in the loss.
Did you know? Miikka Kiprusoff reached 70 games played for 7th straight season Thursday.
Dishonourable mention: John Tortorella needs to read Zen & the Art of Archery or something. That dude is wound tight ... Nate Prosser is definitely in line for a Shanaban after headbutting Jamal Mayers ... The Canucks' loss to the Flames marked the first time in 102 games that they'd suffered a regulation loss in a game which they led after the second period ... Cartman screaming "Go Kings Go" at the Staples Centre is the most obnoxious thing in the world ... Ryane Clowe's pokecheck from the bench was downright ridiculous. Who does that? ... Michael Grabner's penalty shot goal was nice, but the fact that he was awarded a penalty shot for this benign tap is downright ridiculous:
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