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Thursday’s Three Stars: Quick leads Kings to division lead; Pens clinch with rout

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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AP

No. 1 Star: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

In a fantastic goaltending duel in Los Angeles, Quick stopped 35 shots and three more in the shootout as the Kings moved into first place in the Pacific with a 1-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter scored in the shootout. It was Quick's eighth shutout of the season. Brian Elliott wasn't too shabby either, with 37 saves.

No. 2 Star: James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins

Neal had four assists in the Penguins' 5-1 domination of the Nashville Predators in Alex Radulov's first game back from the KHL. (He scored the Preds' lone goal.) Neal assisted on both of Evgeni Malkin's goals, giving him 45 on the season; as well as goals by Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz. The Penguins clinched a playoff spot.

No. 3 Star: Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes

The Yotes earned a regulation win over the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2, as Smith held off an Avs rally from 3-0 down in the third period. Goals by Ryan O'Reilly and Paul Stastny cut the lead, but Smith made 15 saves in the final frame for the win, his 100th in the NHL. Raffi Torres had a goal and an assist.

Honorable mention: Cory Schneider made 25 saves, including a Mike Ribeiro penalty shot, as the Daniel Sedin-less Vancouver Canucks defeated the Dallas Stars, 2-1. Henrik Sedin assisted on both goals. … Alex Ovechkin and Claude Giroux traded goals in regulation, but Wayne Simmonds and Ilya Bryzgalov were the difference in the shootout as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Washington Capitals, 2-1. The Caps moved one point up on Buffalo for the No. 8 seed. … Tom Pyatt scored two goals, Teddy Purcell had the game-deciding goal in the shootout and Dwayne Roloson (34 saves) defeated his former team the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2, outdueling Nikolai Khabibulin in his return to Tampa. … Joe Pavelski scored in the first and Daniel Winnik's insurance goal held up as the game winner, as the San Jose Sharks won in regulation over the Boston Bruins, 2-1. ... Alex Pietrangelo played a career high 32:30. ... At the end of the day, the Kings are the No. 3 seed; the Coyotes are still the No. 7 seed; Dallas drops to the No. 8 seed; Colorado is tied with the Stars in points (85) but is two back in wins; San Jose is No. 9, one point back; and Calgary is No. 10, two points out of the final seed.

Did you know? Nashville was the last NHL team to play in Pittsburgh's new arena. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: The Calgary Flames blew a 2-0 lead and then lost in the shootout to the Minnesota Wild, 3-2, sending Coach Brent Sutter into a tantrum after the game; and after he didn't use either Olli Jokinen or Jarome Iginla in the shootout. … Both the Lightning and Blues failed to convert overtime power plays. … Alex Tanguay injured Jared Spurgeon with this elbow to the head, earning a minor penalty:

And finally, Cory Schneider made up for it, but he did gift a goal to Vernon Fiddler of the Dallas Stars:

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