April 06, 2009
No. 1 star, T.J. Galiardi, Colorado Avalanche:
The 20-year-old Calgary native stepped up in an injury-riddled Avalanche lineup to score two goals and put a dent in Vancouver's playoff positioning. Playing in just his seventh career game, Galiardi scored his second career goal 7:32 into the first period to break a scoreless tie, and added a second, again at even-strength, 12:04 into the third period to give the visiting Avalanche a comfortable 4-0 lead. Galiardi was a plus-3 with two blocked shots during 19:19 of ice time. He did struggle in the faceoff circle, winning only three of 18 draws.
No. 2 star, Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago Blackhawks:
The veteran goalie didn't face a lot of rubber on Sunday, but he was perfect in stopping all 20 shots as the Blackhawks earned two big points against division-rival Columbus. It was Khabibulin's second shutout of the season and the 40th of his career.
No. 3 star, Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose Sharks:
San Jose's one-time Rocket Richard winner is benefiting from recent first-line duty. Cheechoo scored the tie-breaking goal on the power play at 13:19 of the final period to enable the Sharks to earn a split in a home-and-home weekend set against Anaheim. Cheechoo enjoyed a two-point game as the Sharks won a franchise-record 52nd game of the season.
Honorable mention: Marian Hossa scored the game-winner in the final minute of regulation to help the Red Wings snap a three-game winless streak and enable Mike Babcock to join Scotty Bowman as the only two coaches to win 50 games in four straight seasons. … Niklas Backstrom had 41 saves in a losing effort for the Wild. … Kris Versteeg's 22nd goal was a game-winner in OT. … Two other goalies with strong outings in losses included Florida's Tomas Vokoun (41 saves) and Steve Mason (24).
Did you know?: Detroit joined Boston (1971-74) and Montreal (1976-79) as the only three teams to win 50 games four straight seasons.
Dishonorable mention: Washington failed to convert on basically a 5-on-2 power play when two Atlanta penalty killers broke sticks during an extended advantage in the first period. … The Canucks managed only five shots on goal during the first period at home against injury-riddled and last-place Colorado.