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Thursday’s Three Stars: Ponikarovsky plays hero for Devils; Kings put Blues on the brink

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

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AP

No. 1 Star: Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils

Kovalchuk returned to the Devils' lineup after missing Game 2 with a lower-body injury. He didn't miss a beat scoring a goal and adding two assists, including one on Alexei Ponikarovsky's overtime winner as the Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 to take a 2-1 series lead.

No. 2 Star: Drew Doughty Los Angeles Kings

Doughty's three-point night helped power the Kings past the St. Louis Blues 4-2 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Jonathan Quick needed just 18 saves as the Kings have won seven of their eight playoff games and are within a victory of advancing to the Conference Final for the first time since 1993.

No. 3 Star: Alex Ponikarovsky, New Jersey Devils

Ponikarovsky was the hero for New Jersey scoring the overtime winner with 2:39 left in the extra frame:

Honorable mention: Danny Briere scored his 50th career playoff goal. He now has 108 points in 106 playoff games ... Patrik Elias and Kovalchuk's first period goals came in a 20-second span and were the fastest two playoff goals in Devils franchise history ... New Jersey has won three overtime games this postseason ... Mike Richards opened up his Gordie Howe Hat Trick in the first period with an early scrap against Jamie Langenbrunner:

Richards' goal in the second period ended Los Angeles' 0-for-30 skid on the power play ... The Kings improved to 5-0 on the road in the playoffs ... Chris Stewart scored both St. Louis goals.

Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings; 2. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers; 3. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers; 4. Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes; 5. Danny Briere, Philadelphia Flyers; 6. Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals; 7. Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils; 8. Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils; 9. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators; 10. Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings.

Dishonorable mention: Philadelphia failed to score on two power plays in overtime ... Sean Couturier suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return ... St. Louis has lost three straight games in regulation for the first time this season ... Brian Elliott has allowed nine goals on 43 shots over the past two games and is 3-3 since Jaroslav Halak went down with an injury ... The Blues are 0-for-10 on the power play in the series.

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