Thursday's Three Stars: Flicker of hope becomes Flames win

Matt Romig

No. 1 star: Olli Jokinen, Calgary Flames

Jokinen got this one started with a goal from an impossible angle, then Detroit and Calgary set out to prove that anything is possible in a wild 6-5 Flames win. Where to start? Let's begin with Detroit's 28-4 shot advantage in the first period. That's not a misprint – Calgary was whistled for four consecutive penalties, including a dubious boarding major on Dion Phaneuf. The Red Wings took a 4-2 lead into the third period, but it was Calgary that held a 17-2 shot edge in the final 20 minutes. Jokinen scored again – his fifth in five games since the trade deadline – and the Flames actually led briefly after a beautiful Jamie Lundmark backhander. Naturally the Wings tied it seconds later, but all that did was set the stage for Jokinen to win it for the visitors, patiently waiting out Detroit goalie Ty Conklin before beating him high on the glove side for the decided shootout tally. And, exhale.

No. 2 star: Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets

OK, so Mason wasn't even one of the three stars of this game as announced at the arena, so we should give mention to Antoine Vermette (two points, first goal with Columbus) and Kristian Huselius (regulation goal, shootout winner). But once this one reached overtime it became all about the extra point for the desperate Blue Jackets and Mason was brilliant, making a spectacular blocker save on Kris Letang in the extra period, then stopping Letang, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the shootout. Mason, who made 38 saves, set a franchise record for wins with 28. A record 19,167 were on hand in Columbus, and it's wins like this one – the Jackets led 3-0 before Pittsburgh tied it with three goals in 3:25 of the third period – that turn casual fans into loyal followers.

No. 3 star: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Eight shots, three hits, one goal, one assist – just another day at the office for Ovechkin, who netted his NHL-leading 10th game-winning goal of the season in Washington's 2-1 road win over the Flyers. The Caps have a five-game road win streak for the first time since 2001.

Honorable mention: Detroit's 28 shots in the first period were one shy of a franchise record. … Nice rebound start for Patrick Lalime, who made 30 saves in Buffalo's 3-1 win over Florida. … How many in attendance 13 months ago would have guessed they'd see Richard Zednik back in Buffalo and on the ice for the Panthers? … New Jersey's Zach Parise scored goal No. 40 to establish himself as the favorite to finish second in the Rocket Richard race. The Devils beat Phoenix, 5-2. … Martin Brodeur earned career win No. 550, leaving him one behind Patrick Roy's all-time record. … Sean Avery was a factor for the Rangers, finishing as a plus-2 and scoring his first goal since rejoining New York in a 4-2 win over Nashville. … Shea Weber tied a Nashville franchise record with his 18th goal from the blueline. … Chris Mason's 24 saves stymied the Sharks in a 3-1 Blues win.

Dishonorable mention: Give Philadelphia's Darroll Powe the secondary assist on Alex Ovechkin's game-winning goal as his ugly giveaway in his own zone went right to the stick of Alexander Semin, who found AO alone in front of the Flyers' net. … From the not-something-you-see-every-day files: Toronto coach Ron Wilson was ejected in the final minutes of the Leafs' 4-1 loss at the hands of Tampa.