Thursday’s Three Stars: Predators’ Rinne posts shutout; Wild, Sabres still struggling

Harrison Mooney

"... the other, warped / in the shape of a man, moves beyond the pale / bigger than any man, an unnatural birth /called Grendel Zdeno Chara by country people / in former days."

No. 1 Star: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

Rinne was unbeatable, stopping all 38 shots the Columbus Blue Jackets directed his way to stake the Predators to a 3-o win. Martin Erat led the offensive charge, scoring a goal and setting up another in the second period. In further bad news for the Jackets (as if they needed any more this year), they announced before the game that defenceman Radek Martinek would miss the rest of the season with a concussion, and that they had signed Brett Lebda to replace him.

No. 2 Star: Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs

Great game for Lupul, who picked up 3 assists as the Leafs beat up on the Minnesota Wild, 4-1. The Wild have two wins in their last 15 games, and they were never even close in this one, falling behind less than a minute in and only registering 21 shots throughout the game. On the plus side, they ruined Jonas Gustavsson's shutout bid in the final minutes.

No. 3 Star: Gregory Campbell, Boston Bruins

Campbell dropped the gloves with rookie centre Brad Mills in the first period of the Bruins' 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Then he sparked a third period comeback, assisting on the game-tying goal three minutes in and scoring the third of four Boston goals in the final twenty for the Gordie Howe hat trick.

Honourable mention: Evgeni Nabokov made 40 saves and John Tavares picked up two assists as the New York Islanders took down the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-1. Tavares's first assist was pretty:

... That said, the pass of the night goes to Marian Gaborik for this sick feed to Carl Hagelin:

Shame that it was the Rangers' only goal in their 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Evgeni Malkin scored the final two goals for Pittsburgh. He's now scored 6 of their last 8.... Nikolai Khabibulin made 38 saves, but he was the only member of the Edmonton Oilers that seemed interested in their contest with the St. Louis Blues. The Oil only mustered 15 shots and wound up falling 1-0. Jaroslav Halak picked up the shutout and Alex Pietrangelo scored the game-winner with 5 minutes to go in the third... The Winnipeg Jets got two-point performances from Nick Antropov, Kyle Wellwood and Andrew Ladd in their 4-1 win over the struggling Buffalo Sabres. Antropov's goal was the pretty. Watch the footwork:

... Todd Bertuzzi scored the shootout winner in the Detroit Red Wings' 3-2 victory of the Phoenix Coyotes... Colin Greening scored twice in the Ottawa Senators' 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks... Surprise, surprise, the LA Kings game went to a shootout. They lost, 2-1 to the Calgary Flames after Michael Cammalleri's shootout goal. This means it's time to flip their exceedingly flippable 8-1-6 record under Darryl Sutter to the negative side. Had they won, I'd say they only have one regulation loss in 15 games. But they lost, so they've only won 8 of 15.

Did you know? Under Claude Julien, the Boston Bruins are 173-5-12 when they open up a two-goal lead. Which is decent.

Dishonourable mention: Me, for forgetting to spell "honourable" and "dishonourable" with U's the last time I wrote 3 Stars... Minus-3 for both Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr in the Flyers' loss to the Isles.... The Coyotes were called for too many men on the ice three times versus the Red Wings... And finally, Jonas Gustavsson really should have recorded the shutout. I'm not sure who's more to blame here: him, for allowing the sharp-angle goal, or Cody Franson, for uh, taking himself out of the play: