Friday’s Three Stars: Skinner gets winner; Hiller, Shark killer

Harrison Mooney

No. 1 Star: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks

After struggling with vertigo for much of last year, Jonas Hiller showed the fans in Anaheim that he was feeling much better. In his first game in the Honda Centre since February 2nd -- and the Ducks first home date of the 2011-12 season -- he made 31 saves en route to a 1-0 shutout victory over the rival San Jose Sharks

No. 2 Star: Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes

Less than a minute after the Sabres had scored a late third period goal to tie the game at three, Hockey Bieber struck on the powerplay, one-timing the 4-3 game-winner past Ryan Miller to spoil the home opener in Buffalo. Skinner gets this shot off in a hurry, but Jussi Jokinen deserves plenty of credit for even finding him. Most players in Jokinen's place are either shooting this puck or trying a pass to Eric Staal at the goalmouth. Gorgeous play.

No. 3 Star: Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes

Cam Ward made 39 saves to keep the Hurricanes in a game in which they were outshot 42-34. He was especially good in the second, stopping all 18 shots that he faced, including a whopping 9 while the Canes were a man down.

Honourable Mention: Joe Thornton went 12-for-14 on faceoffs... Maxime Macenauer scored the lone goal in Anaheim on a lovely feed from George Parros behind the net... Francois Beauchemin played a team-high 26:32 for the Ducks, blocking 5 shots... Drew Stafford had a goal and an assist in Buffalo's losing effort... Paul Gaustad and Tim Gleason staged a quality tilt. My favourite part is the way Gaustad disappears into this pile with Bryan Allen and somehow comes up with Tim Gleason. That's a good trade.

Did you know? Jason Blake left forearm was "severely cut" when he fell to the ice and, in a freak accident, had it sliced by Dan Boyle's skate. He was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange for emergency surgery.

Dishonourable mention: Eric Staal was on the ice for all three Sabres goals... Christian Ehrhoff finished a minus-2 and took a penalty in the final minute that ended the Sabres' chances of producing another late goal to tie the game... Leading 2-1 late in the first, Buffalo gave up a shorthanded goal with only 12 seconds to go in the frame. Worse, they surrended another only seven minutes into the second. No one would have blamed them if they had declined the next powerplay.