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Sean Leahy

Wednesday's Three Stars: 'Hawks hang on; Coyotes' home ice

Sean Leahy
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No. 1 star: Kris Versteeg(notes), Chicago Blackhawks

Fans inside United Center saw a wild that featured 11 goals, including five in the first period during a 6-5 Blackhawks victory over the St. Louis Blues. Versteeg had a career high four points on the evening with his goal coming shorthanded during a 3:08 span that saw Chicago score four times against Lady Gaga lover Ty Conklin(notes). The win put the Blackhawks in a tie with San Jose for first in the Western Conference (Chicago owns the tiebreaker at the moment) and gives them a franchise record 109 points. Things were looking good as the Blackhawks scored six in a row to take a 6-1 lead midway through the second period. The Blues, however, would not roll over and stormed back with four of their own to cut the lead to one, but it wasn't enough.

No. 2 star: Tomas Holmstrom(notes), Detroit Red Wings

Multiple goals in short timeframes were a theme on Wednesday night. Detroit benefited from three goals in 1:16 in the third period to edge the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. The Blue Jackets took three penalties within 2:35 of each other, including Derick Brassard's(notes) 10-minute misconduct for barking at the referees. Holmstrom converted twice on the power play, once during a shot that caromed off his skate. Columbus was not happy with the refereeing and they were unable to convert the tying goal after Michael Blunden cut the Detroit lead to one with less than 10 minutes to play. Jimmy Howard(notes) picked up his 35th win, making 21 saves in the process.

No. 3 star: Erik Christensen(notes), New York Rangers

After being part of the Marian Hossa(notes)-to-Pittsburgh deal in 2008, Christensen couldn't find his game in Atlanta or Anaheim. In his first season with the Rangers, he's had nothing but success. A plus player for the first time in his career, Christensen scored twice in New York's 5-1 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Henrik Lundqvist(notes) made 26 saves and Olli Jokinen(notes) and Vinny Prospal(notes) each scored. The win puts New York one point behind Boston, who has a game in hand, for the final spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers finish their season on Friday and Sunday in a home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Flyers who sit two points ahead of New York in seventh.

Honorable Mention: In the loss to the Rangers, Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf(notes) scored his first goal for Toronto ... Shane Doan(notes) scored for the first time in 23 games in a 5-2 Phoenix win over Nashville. The goal was his 23rd of the year, a career high. Lauri Korpikoski(notes) and Wojtek Wolski(notes) each had two points and Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) made 23 saves for his 42nd win. Phoenix clinched the fourth seed and home-ice advantage in the first round with the win ... Ryan Whitney's(notes) overtime goal capped a 5-4 Edmonton win in their final home game of the season. Andrew Cogliano(notes) and Dustin Penner(notes) each scored and recorded an assist, while Jeff Deslauriers made 31 saves. Peter Budaj(notes) was fantastic at times, making 40 saves in the loss ... Big props to the 19-year career of Keith Tkachuk(notes), who announced his retirement tonight during the Blues game. Is he a Hall of Famer in your eyes?

Did You Know?: The last time Phoenix had home-ice advantage in the playoffs was 1999. (AP)

Dishonorable Mention: Predators' defenseman Shane Weber's slap shot claimed teammate Patric Hornqvist(notes) who left the game in the second period with an "upper body injury" ... Chicago's Dustin Byfuglien(notes) was banished from the game after slashing Brad Boyes(notes) who would then score on a penalty shot. Byfuglien joined Brent Seabrook(notes) who was given five minutes for fighting, two minutes for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct for going after Brad Winchester(notes), who knocked Marian Hossa into the boards which would later cause him to leave the game in the second period.

Here's the hit and subsequent fight:

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