January 14, 2009
Thomas is pictured to the right "having some fun." More specifically, he's taking up for teammate Aaron Ward by decking Montreal forward Andrei Kostitsyn. Thomas earned two minutes for roughing and likely a little more credibility in the locker room, if that's even possible. There were saves, too, 34 of them as Boston held off its division rival with a 3-1 win. Thomas, 9-1 in his last 10 starts, made a pair of key saves in the final minutes of a game he called "one of the funnest" he's played in all year.
No. 2 star: Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Now this is how you fill up a scoresheet. Boston's towering defenseman played almost 32 minutes in Tuesday's win over Montreal, scoring two power-play goals on five shots while also leading the Bruins in hits (3) and blocked shots (4). Sure the puck-over-the-glass minor penalty is nothing to be proud of, but rotisserie owners say thanks for the two minutes, Zdeno. Defensively Chara helped keep Montreal off the scoreboard at even-strength on a night that sure had a playoff feel to it. After the game coach Claude Julien said he'd probably like to split first-star honors between Chara and goalie Tim Thomas (34 saves), but that's not how we play here at Three Star central.
It was a pretty solid top-to-bottom effort for the Sharks, who routed Tampa Bay 7-1 to remain unbeaten in regulation on home ice this season (20-0-2). This one eventually got out of hand, but Thornton was in on San Jose's first three scoring plays when things still had the makings of a tight battle. In typical Thornton fashion, he was actually looking to put the puck on Patrick Marleau's stick on the goal that would hold up as the game-winner. He later made it 3-1 on a deflection to cap off his first multi-goal night in 45 regular-season games.
Honorable mention: Great to see Steve Sullivan (power-play assist) land on a scoresheet for the first time since Feb. 22, 2007. … Nashville's Pekka Rinne (17 saves) had Tuesday's only shutout in Nashville's 2-0 win over Toronto. … Sidney Crosby had a pair of assists – the first was career point No. 350 – as the Pens snapped Philly's eight-game home win streak. … Ottawa finally got some much-needed secondary scoring. Antoine Vermette (two points) was first star in a 5-1 win over Carolina … Edmonton's Steve MacIntyre made the most of 3:40 of ice time, scoring his first NHL goal in a 5-2 win in Washington. … Erik Cole had a hat trick for the Oilers, the third an empty-netter. … Kristian Huselius had a three-point night as Columbus scored three goals in three minutes in a come-from-behind win over Colorado. … Michael Cammalleri's two goals helped keep Calgary red-hot.
Dishonorable mention: Give him credit for recovering, but Marc-Andre Fleury had an embarrassing moment when he drifted behind the net to play a dump-in, only have the puck hit him in the skates and deflect to Mike Knuble, who scored what amounted to an empty-netter. … More adventures in goal: the Islanders lost Joey MacDonald to a groin injury as whispers grow that Rick DiPietro may be shut down for the season. … You had to feel for Karri Ramo, who probably knew he didn't have a safety net in Tampa's 7-1 loss to San Jose.