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Saturday's three stars: Demitra gives Canucks one reason to smile

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No. 1 star: Pavol Demitra, Vancouver Canucks
Playing in his fifth game since returning from injury, Pavol Demitra sparked a Vancouver Canucks team that could have been distracted with the loss of star goalie Roberto Luongo with a big offensive showing en route to a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Demitra scored two goals, one at even strength 18:05 into the first period to break a scoreless tie and the other at 19:48 of the third into an empty net to insure Vancouver's third straight win. Demitra was a plus-3 with four shots and skated 19:13 as the Canucks improved to 7-0-2 in their last nine.

No. 2 star: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
The battling goaltender was at his competitive best. On a night the home Montreal crowd enjoyed a pregame ceremony to retire the No. 33 for Patrick Roy, Thomas was the goalie making the biggest splash on the ice. He stopped 33 of 35 shots during regulation and all three shootout efforts as the Bruins skated out of town with a 3-2 victory, their 10th straight game earning at least one point (9-0-1).

No. 3 star: Rob Blake, San Jose Sharks
New coach Todd McLellan wants to see the San Jose defense get involved, and that hasn't been a problem for newcomer Rob Blake. He assisted on four of San Jose's seven goals during a blowout win over the Washington Capitals. Blake has 17 points for the season, two fewer than the league-leader for scoring defensemen, San Jose's Dan Boyle.

Honorable mention: Brad Boyes had both goals during St. Louis' win in St. Paul. … Columbus rookie Steve Mason didn't have a lot of work – 15 saves – but that's all he needed for a first career shutout over host Atlanta. … The Sedin brothers provided a supporting role for Demitra – Daniel scored a goal and added an assist while identical twin Henrik chipped in three assists. … Jonas Hiller stopped 31 of 32 shots and two of three in the shootout for an Anaheim win at Dallas. … Joey MacDonald had another 35 saves for the victorious Islanders. … Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash has a five-game goal-scoring streak thanks to Saturday's game-winner.

Dishonorable mention: The Mild, er, the Wild have scored just 28 goals in their 15 games since Oct. 16. … Atlanta has been outshot 72-29 in the first two periods combined over three games. … The Sharks didn't really need any help, but Washington defenseman Shaone Morrisonn put one in for San Jose. And that was not long after he got splattered by Devin Setoguchi, the key play leading to the first San Jose goal. … We're typing this tongue-in-cheek because they're just doing what they're trying to do, but the Blackhawks and Bruins did a nice job ruining special nights in Toronto and Montreal, respectively.

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