No. 1 star: Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
Patrik Elias has only, well, Patrik Elias to thank for tying a league record Thursday night. Elias scored his 15th career overtime goal, a regular-season mark he now shares with Mats Sundin and Jaromir Jagr. Elias would never have been in the position to score 2:46 into sudden death to beat the Philadelphia Flyers if he hadn't taken matters into his own hands late in regulation as well. Elias scored also at even-strength at 18:30 of the third period to tie the game 2-2. His late-game heroics enabled Elias to extend his current scoring streak to eight games (six goals and eight points for 14 points). A plus-2, Elias had seven shots on goal and two hits during 19:55 of ice time.
No. 2 star: Martin Hanzal, Phoenix Coyotes
He had never scored as many as two goals in a game, but Martin Hanzal went one better during a 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hanzal collected a hat trick by scoring three goals a night before his visiting parents were scheduled to return to the Czech Republic. The 21-year-old usually modest-scoring center doubled his season output in goals and moved to within two of last year's total of eight scored in 72 games. Hanzal scored two even-strength goals in the opening period and then capped his big night with a short-handed goal 27 seconds into the second period. Hanzal finished as a plus-3 with four shots and three hits during 17:40 of ice time.
No. 3 star: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh captain pulled within two points of teammate Evgeni Malkin for the league lead in scoring as Sidney Crosby provided four assists during the Penguins' win over Carolina. All four of Crosby's helpers were primary assists, and they came on Pittsburgh's first four goals. Malkin has 41 points and Crosby 39 after 25 games.
Honorable mention: Panthers goalie Craig Anderson allowed only a power-play goal in the 46 shots he faced during a 2-1 win over the Sabres. … He hasn't done as much as projected as a high first-round pick, but David Legwand did set a Nashville record by appearing in a 574th career game. … Nicklas Lidstrom scored a goal and had two assists while skating a team-high 23:37 as the Red Wings beat the Canucks. … Maxim Lapierre had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick on Montreal hockey's 99th birthday celebrated with a 6-2 win over the Rangers. … With two more assists, Marc Savard increased his total to 14 helpers and 16 points in 10 games as the Bruins improved to 12-1-1 since the start of November with a road win. … Evgeni Nabokov stopped 29 of 31 shots as the Sharks improved to 14-0-1 at home. … Donald Brashear scored his first goal in 37 games and it counted as the game-winner as the Caps beat the Islanders.
Dishonorable mention: Buffalo has lost eight of its last 10 games, and a big reason is the Sabres have produced only 19 goals in that time. … Flyers' goalie Martin Biron has allowed three or more goals in six straight games. … The Hurricanes have scored two or fewer goals in 12 of their last 13 games.
- Patrik Elias
- Martin Hanzal
- Sidney Crosby