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Saturday’s Three Stars: Stamkos’ New Year’s Eve trick

No. 1 Star: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

The NHL's top goal scorer entering 2012. Stamkos notched his fifth career hat trick with goals in each period, as the Lightning defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2. Marty St. Louis assisted on each goal. Steve Downie had a goal and two assists. Here's the Stamkos trick:

No. 2 Star: Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings

The Vezina campaign continues: Howard stopped all 31 shots he faced in a 3-0 Red Wings victory over the St. Louis Blues. It was his ninth career shutout, and he was especially good in scoreless first period. Johan Franzen scored his 15th in the win.

No. 3 Star: Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers

With due respect to the NHL players who had impressive games on New Year's Eve: You're not a 66-year-old Hall of Famer who electrified 45,000 fans with six saves in 5:32.

Honorable mention: Matt Moulson had a goal and two assists while John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau had a goal and an assist, as the New York Islanders defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 4-1. … Radim Vrbata scored two goals in the third period as the Phoenix Coyotes and goalie Curtis McElhinney (28 saves) defeated the Minnesota Wild, 4-2. Matt Cullen scored on a penalty shot in a losing effort. … Big win for the Winnipeg Jets over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, as Blake Wheeler's power-play goal in the second was the difference. … Despite a 44-save effort from Jhonas Enroth, the Ottawa Senators were able to take the extra point from the Buffalo sabres in a 5-round shootout. Bobby Butler had the game-winner in the 3-2 victory, after Craig Anderson stopped Drew Stafford. … The Washington Capitals blitzed the Columbus Blue Jackets with three goals in less than three minutes in the third period, rallying for a 4-2 win. Alex Ovechkin scored twice, giving him seven goals in his last eight games. … Shawn Matthias broke a 1-1 tie and Tomas Fleischmann's empty netter proved to be the game-winner as the Florida Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2.Ilya Kovalchuk scored on a penalty shot and added two assists in the New Jersey Devils' 3-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins. … Milan Hejduk scored two goals and Ryan O'Reilly assisted on both as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 4-2. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 18 saves against his former team, as Anaheim fans lauded him. … Trevor Daley had a goal and two assists, as the Dallas Stars hung four goals on Tim Thomas and defeated the Boston Bruins, 4-2. … After Kevin Bieksa opened the scoring for the Vancouver Canucks, the Los Angeles Kings scored four straight in a 4-1 victory.

Did you know? Red Wings' adviser to hockey operations Chris Chelios was honored before the game for his recent induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. There was a video tribute on the scoreboard and Chelios dropped the puck for a ceremonial opening faceoff. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: The Oilers have lost seven of eight. … Ben Eager of the Oilers took two penalties that both resulted in Islanders power-play goals, and was later given a misconducts. … The Leafs' worst penalty kill in the NHL gave up two more power-play goals to the Jets. … Zenon Konopka earned two 10-minute misconduct penalties vs. the Sabres. … Jay Harrison was a minus-4 for Carolina. … At 4:41 of the second period, Jose Theodore was injured for the Panthers; Jacob Markstrom will be back from the AHL. … According to the Miami Herald, Krys Barch was ejected after allegedly making a racial slur against P.K. Subban of the Canadiens. … Finally, Ian Cole connected with Justin Abdelkader's head on this check. Said Cole: "He tried to come back and avoid and he put his head right into my shoulder." Said Mike Babcock: "I don't like the hit, the hit should be a suspension, for sure." (VIDEO HERE)

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