NHL 3 Stars: Ovechkin breaks hat trick slump; shutouts for Nabokov, Howard, Price

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No. 1 Star: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Can you believe it's been two years since Ovechkin's last hat trick? That's right. Lately, he's just been scoring one or two goals like a chump. But Ovechkin finally got off the schneid Saturday night, scoring three goals for his 11th career hat trick and assisting on another in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Here's the trio of goals:

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No. 2 Star: Evgeni Nabokov, New York Islanders

Nabokov was unbeatable in a 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres, and this one was a lot closer than the score could indicate. Nabokov made 35 saves for the shutout, several of them huge. This sequence was particularly nice:

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No. 3 Star: Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings

Howard made 33 saves for the shutout in the Wings' 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators.

Honourable mention: Mike Smith made 41 saves, but it wasn't enough, as the Edmonton Oilers skated away with a 3-2 shootout victory. You can hardly blame Smith for that, especially when Sam Gagner's doing this:

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... Jeff Carter scored his ninth of the season in the Los Angeles Kings' 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche... Colin Greening was in on every Ottawa Senators' goal, scoring one and picking up the apples on two others as they edged the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2... Jaroslav Halak made 19 saves and David Perron scored the game-winner at the St. Louis Blues topped the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1... Jamie Benn picked up the Gordie Howe hat trick in a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars, scoring the game's insurance goal, assisting on the game's first goal, and dropping the gloves for a huge fight with Joe Thornton:

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... Steven Stamkos scored his 12th of the season in a 5-2 Tampa Bay Lightning victory over the Carolina Hurricanes... Alex Galchenyuk spearheaded a three-goal second period for the Montreal Canadiens, which was all they'd need in a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers. Carey Price picked up the shutout, making 17 saves... Matt Stajan scored the game-winner as the Calgary Flames triumphed over the Minnesota Wild, 3-1... Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek had 3-point nights and Wayne Simmonds collected yet another Gordie Howe hat trick as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 5-3...

Did you know? Carey Price registered a shutout and wasn't named one of the game's three stars. How often does that happen?

Dishonourable mention: Carolina allowed four Tampa Bay goals in the third period. Jordan Staal and Patrick Dwyer finished the night a minus-4... it'll take more than 19 shots to beat Jaroslav Halak... ditto for 17 shots on Carey Price... Nashville has now been shut out in two straight games, and five times total this season.

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