Monday's Three Stars: Hiller saves Sharks from second-round embarrassment

No. 1 star: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks

We'll have a comprehensive eulogy for the 2008-09 San Jose Sharks shortly, but at some point the Bay Area blame game has to pause for a tip of the cap to Hiller, who in his first playoff series recorded two shutouts, three first-star curtain calls, one 45-save effort in defeat and saves on an absurd 95.6 percent of shots faced. He helped mask a slow start to Game 6 – Anaheim trailed 1-0 after handing the Sharks three early power-plays – by stopping 17 of the 18 shots he faced in the first period. Anaheim soon restored order up front, and for the final 40 minutes of Monday's series-clinching 4-1 win Hiller was what he was all series, unflappable. Take a bow, young man – and kudos to coach Randy Caryle for gambling on a playoff rookie with proven postseason performer Jean-Sebastien Giguere waiting in the wings.

No. 2 star: Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago Blackhawks

The youngest team in the playoffs got 43 saves from its 36-year-old goalie in a 4-1 victory that ended Calgary's season yet again in the first round. There were other stick taps to hand out here – Dustin Byfuglien had three points, Patrick Kane a goal and assist and Brian Campbell ended a 50-game goal drought – but when you're outshot 44-16 in a road playoff game and waltz away to the second round, you have to get a lot of credit to the goalie.

No. 3 star: Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

We'll give Joe Thornton a decision on the scrap that opened the game, but that was it for Jumbo Joe on the scoresheet (save one shot), while Getzlaf went on to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick with an assist on Corey Perry's game-tying goal and an insurance marker of his own late in the third period.

Major Penalty: One local baseball team is rebuilding. The other remains defined by a disgraced former player. Fans of one local football team long for a return to 80s glory. The owner of the other football team still drafts like it's the 80s. Without any postseason basketball to grab headlines, it was up to the Sharks to give Bay Area sports fans something to celebrate this spring. Oh well. At least second-round heartbreak has been averted. Puck guru Ross McKeon will have more on what could be a tumultuous offseason for San Jose over on the NHL index page.

Minor Penalty: Miikka Kiprusoff stopped only 12 of the 15 shots he faced Monday, giving him an .844 save percentage in his last two elimination games. Kiprusoff has been pulled early in three of his 13 playoff starts under coach Mike Keenan.

Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Roberto Luongo, Canucks; 2. Evgeni Malkin, Penguins; 3. Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks; 4. Daniel Sedin, Canucks; 5. Phil Kessel, Bruins; 6. Chris Osgood, Red Wings; 7. Jonas Hiller, Ducks; 8. Sidney Crosby, Penguins; 9. Cam Ward, Hurricanes; 10. Martin Brodeur, Devils.

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