Puck Daddy - NHL

No. 1 Star: Danny Briere, Philadelphia Flyers

Mocked all year for an ineffective and injury-plagued season -- and booed mercilessly by Buffalo Sabres fans -- Danny Briere was the difference for the Flyers in their 6-4 victory. Elevated from a fourth line assignment to a line with Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell, Briere scored two second-period goals to spark a Philly rally: a rebound slap shot past Patrick Lalime (25 saves) to tie the game and then a slapper from the slot to give the Flyers the lead and the momentum.

No. 2 Star: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

Brodeur is now just two shutouts away from matching Terry Sawchuk's career mark after blanking the Minnesota Wild, 4-0. Marty made 35 saves, improving to 9-1 with three shutouts since missing 50 games to injury. Patrik Elias had two goals for the Devils, who moved back into second in the East.

No. 3 Star: Chris Mason, St. Louis Blues

The bang-bang goals by Andy McDonald and Jay McClement in a 51-second span of the third period stunned the Calgary Flames, but Mason's 33-save effort was the backbone of the Blues' critical 3-2 road victory. He was brilliant when he needed to be, especially in a third-period save on the goal line, with Jarome Iginla in his face.

Honorable Mention: Matt Cullen and Chad LaRose (two goals) scored in the third period to rally the Carolina Hurricanes past a pesky New York Islanders team, 5-4. ... Calling his reception "more favorable than Pittsburgh," Marian Hossa scored his 36th goal of the season in his return to Atlanta, helping the Detroit Red Wings beat the Thrashers, 6-3. Of course, it does help when half the building is rooting for the Wings. Henrik Zetterberg had four assists in the win. ... Sidney Crosby (28) and Evgeni Malkin (33) scored first-period goals, as the Pittsburgh Penguins improved to 12-1-3 under interim coach Dan Bylsma with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. ... Ales Kotalik, one of the best shootout performers since the skills competition was implemented, tallied the final goal in the Edmonton Oilers' 5-4 shootout victory at the Chicago Blackhawks.

Did You Know?: The Flames had been 23-0-3 when leading after 40 minutes until the Blues' rally in the third.

Dishonorable Mention: Martin Skoula was a minus-3 in the Wild's loss to New Jersey. ... Garnet Exelby earned a 10-minute misconduct for being third-man-in during a fight between Atlanta's Nathan Oystrick and Detroit's Mikael Samuelsson. ... Jonathan Toews was stopped on a penalty shot and in the shootout by Dwayne Roloson (39 saves). ... Finally, is this un-penalized hit by Malkin (beware NSFW bubbles) on Wayne Simmonds of the Kings a clean shoulder or a head shot that deserves (according to some on the glorious HF Boards) some NHL discipline?

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