NHL 3 Stars: Ovechkin, Backstrom lead Capitals; Sabres foil Penguins’ streak

Paul Gaustad attempts to trim the beard of Zanon with a jump kick.

No. 1 Star: Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals

Backstrom matched a career-high with 4 assists in the Capitals 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. After falling behind 2-0 early, the Capitals mounted a comeback, led by Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, who had 2 goals and an assist as well. With the win, the Capitals are now just two points out of first in the Southeast with two games in hand. Incredible.

No. 2 Star: Jiri Tlusty, Carolina Hurricanes

Tlusty did his best for the Canes, notching his first career hat trick in the loss. He scored the Hurricanes first two goals, then his third early in the second, less than a minute after Washington had scored to make it 2-2.

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Unfortunately, the hat shower was the last nice moment for the Hurricanes. The Capitals would score three more unanswered goals before the period was up.

No. 3 Star: Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes

Yandle was the difference versus the Los Angeles Kings, scoring the first and last goals of the game in a 3-1 win.

Honourable mention: Kevin Porter scored twice -- his first two goals of the season -- in the Sabres' surprise 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The loss ended Pittsburgh's win streak at 15, two shy of the NHL record set by the Penguins of 20 years ago... Nathan Horton scored the game-winner as the Boston Bruins edged the Ottawa Senators, 3-2... Paul Postma scored twice for the Winnipeg Jets, but he was the lone bright spot in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders. Anders Lee got his first career goal for the Isles... Jacob Markstrom was the story in the Florida Panthers' 3-2 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning... David Legwand, Patric Hornqvist and Taylor Beck had two-point nights as the Nashville Predators beat the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1...

Did You Know? The Sabres didn't just ruin Pittsburgh's streak. They also spoiled the night of Jarome Iginla's first NHL goal in a different uniform:

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Dishonourable mention: Rough goaltending outing for Carolina. Dan Ellis was pulled after allowing 3 goals in 7 shots, and Justin Peters allowed another 2 on just 12... Tomas Vokoun struggled as well, allowing 4 goals on 13 shots before being yanked... Patrice Bergeron left the Bruins game after an elbow to the head from Colin Greening. It looked inadvertent, but that will be little consolation for Boston fans if Bergeron isn't back right away:

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