NHL Three Stars: Lupul, Hemsky shine in the clutch; Niemi blanks Red Wings

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

No. 1 Star: Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs winger broke a 3-3 tie at 16:50 of the third period with this stunning end-to-end unassisted goal, leading Toronto to a 6-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. He also assisted on Dion Phaneuf’s game-tying goal 2:15 earlier in the period.

No. 2 Star: Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks

There were a few strong goaltending performances on Thursday night, but we’ll give the nod to Niemi for his second shutout in two nights. Niemi had 27 saves as the Sharks defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 2-0, in goals by Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns – both scoring for the third consecutive game.

No. 3 Star: Ales Hemsky, Edmonton Oilers

This might be the best play among offensive and defensive teammates of the night: Goalie Devan Dubnyk makes a key save, and then Hemsky scores this incredible individual effort goal to break a 4-4 tie and help the Oilers to a 6-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

Honorable mention: The Pittsburgh Penguins got Evgeni Malkin back and cruised to a 4-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets, their 14th straight win. Tomas Vokoun had the shutout. The NHL record is 17 straight. … Scott Hartnell’s goal with 30 seconds left in the third earned the Philadelphia Flyers a point, but Josh Bailey’s goal in the skills competition gave the New York Islanders a 4-3 win. John Tavares scored goal No. 21. … Ben Bishop made 24 saves to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 3-0 whitewash of the New York Rangers. Andre Benoit, Guillaume Latendresse and Colin Greening had the goals. … Mike Santorelli scored the game-winner in the shootout, defeating the Buffalo Sabres, 5-4. Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the first time in 10 games. … Mike Richards score the go-ahead goal with 2:43 left as the Los Angeles Kings defeated the St. Louis Blues, 4-2, to sweep their season series. … Radim Vrbata had two goals and an assist and Rusty Klesla had four assists in the Phoenix Coyotes’ 7-4 blowout of the Nashville Predators. … Cory Schneider made 32 saves while Daniel and Henrik Sedin had a goal and an assist in the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche. … Tyler Bozak was a plus-4. … Pavel Datsyuk did this.

Did you know? Thursday marked the 1,000th game of Phoenix left wing Steve Sullivan's NHL career. Sullivan played 317 regular-season games in parts of six seasons with Nashville. (AP)

Dishonorable mention: Eric Staal, Jordan Staal and Joe Corvo were minus-3. … Andy McDonald was a minus-4 for the Blues. … Pekka Rinne was pulled after giving up 4 goals on 20 shots. Chris Mason then gave up 3 goals on 9 shots. … Matt Duchene, P.A. Parenteau and Gabe Landeskog were a minus-3. … This no-goal for the Blue Jackets was some type of robbery by the NHL, or just evidence of a flawed rule. ... Finally, a staged fight but a good one with Mike Brown and Jared Boll:

What to Read Next