Anze Kopitar and Ben Lovejoy pretend to be puppies for some reason.
No. 1 Star: Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Benn was nigh unstoppable for the Stars versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. He opened the scoring early in the first with this quick wrester:
And then he helped set up three others -- two by Valeri Nichushkin -- for a four-point night as the Stars walloped the Leafs 7-1, ending Toronto's winning streak at six.
No. 2 Star: Alex Stalock, San Jose Sharks
Stalock pitched his second consecutive shutout, making 20 saves, all of them terribly necessary, as the Sharks beat the Winnipeg Jets, 1-0. Joe Pavelski scored the lone goal, and of course he did. He scores everything these days.
No. 3 Star: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
On top of being a dominant defensive presence, Hedman picked up an assist on each of the Lightning's real goals in their 4-3 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators. More like Victory Hedman, because this guy is full of win. (Heyo!)
Honorable mention: Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves to keep the Chicago Blackhawks at bay in a 2-1 Minnesota Wild victory... Brandon Dubinsky and Matt Calvert had two point nights as the Columbus Blue Jackets pushed their win streak to eight, 5-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers. Nathan Horton contributed this gorgeous goal:
Okay, here comes a string of 2-1 games: Nick Spaling scored the game-winner as the Nashville Predators topped the Vancouver Canucks, 2-1... Dustin Penner and Pat Maroon scored second-period goals as the Anaheim Ducks edged the Los Angeles Kings, 2-1... Kevin Shattenkirk's third-period goal was the difference in the St. Louis Blues' 2-1 win over the New York Rangers... Alex Semin scored twice as the Carolina Hurricanes overcame a third-period deficit to beat the Buffalo Sabres, 5-3... Crosby is more prolific against the New York Islanders than any other team, and he was who he usually is in a 6-4 win over the Isles Thursday night. Crosby had a goal and 2 assists in the victory, as did Chris Kunitz.
Did You Know? Everything is going Columbus's way. Even their broken sticks are going in:
Dishonorable mention: The Islanders had their chances against Pittsburgh. They jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and were given a lengthy 5-on-3 late as they looked for the game-tying goal. Nothing doing. Between that and their long history of being a punching bag for Crosby, it was a rough night for them... the Sabres blew a third-period lead, surrendering three straight goals to the Hurricanes.