No. 1 Star: Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins
Seguin has been on fire to start the year, and Saturday night was no exception. The young centre had two goals an assist in the Bruins' 6-2 trouncing of the Buffalo Sabres. Incendiary observation: the second-year forward now has 20 points on the year, only 4 fewer than Phil Kessel.
No. 2 Star: Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus is now 1-0 with both Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski in the lineup after edging the Winnipeg Jets, 2-1, but the real story on Saturday was rookie Ryan Johansen. The 19-year-old centre scored both goals for the Blue Jackets. Interestingly, Johansen's game-winner tonight was his third of the season -- you'll note that the Blue Jackets have only won 3 games.
No. 3 Star: Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes
Smith was as impenetrable as Queen Elizabeth when the Coyotes visited the San Jose Sharks, stopping all 31 shots he faced en route to the 12th shutout of his career. Phoenix got goals from Boyd Gordon, Patrick O'Sullivan, and Radim Vrbata in the 3-0 victory.
Honourable mention: Craig Anderson made 31 saves and Nick Foligno scored twice as the Ottawa Senators cruised to a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs... I wrote tongue-twistingest headline in Puck Daddy history, everyone take note... The Detroit Red Wings peppered Andrew Raycroft with 40 shots, easily collecting their fourth straight win versus the Dallas Stars, 5-2. Valtteri Filppula had 2 assists... The Montreal Canadiens topped the Nashville Predators, 2-1, in overtime. Max Pacioretty scored the overtime winner on this fine shot:
Eric Staal scored for the first time in a month and added an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-3. Tuomo Ruutu contributed two goals, Jeff Skinner had one and two, and Jordan Staal scored twice for Pittsburgh, who scored three quick ones to tie the game at three halfway through the third period... David Clarkson scored the shootout winner as the New Jersey Devils came back from down 2-0 to steal a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals... Brian Elliott stopped all 19 shots he faced, shutting out the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-0. The goals came from Kevin Shattenkirk, newcomer Kris Russell, and T.J. Oshie, who showed the Lightning what can happen when you forecheck:
Two forwards down low? But who's minding the neutral zone!?... Buoyed by a goal and an assist by Lee Stempniak, the Calgary Flames jumped out to a 4-goal lead in Colorado, and despite their efforts, they couldn't seem to get rid of it, winning 4-3... Simon Gagne had a goal and an assist as the Los Angeles Kings walloped the Minnesota Wild, 5-2. It was the 1000th coaching game of Terry Murray's career.
Did you know? Columbus GM Scott Howson probably let out a long sigh when Kris Russell scored the game-winner for the Blues in his debut, but Saturday actually reflected rather nicely on his two most recent trades. Nikita Nikitin played 24:57, second only to James Wisniewski in Columbus icetime, and Mark Letestu won 12 of 18 faceoffs, finishing a plus-2 in 14:59.
Dishonourable mention: Once again, Ryan Miller didn't think too highly of Milan Lucic's decision to run him. Here's video of his comments.
And Lucic didn't think too highly of Buffalo's decision not to retaliate: "We wouldn't accept anything like that," he said. "We would have taken care of business. But we're a different team than they are." Personally, I would have liked to see someone run Tim Thomas in retaliation once that game got out of hand, but I may be just be speaking as a Vancouverite... and finally, the Senators were terrible in the faceoff circle versus Toronto, winning only 19 of 52 draws. Jason Spezza was the lone bright spot, as usual, going 9-for-18, and Zack Smith was the worst offender, going an abysmal 2-for-14.