Thursday's Three Stars: Heatley's trick boosts Sharks

No. 1 star: Dany Heatley(notes), San Jose Sharks

It was San Jose's home opener and the sold-out crowd at The Shark Tank went home very happy thanks to a 6-3 win by the Sharks over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Heatley, the team's big addition in the off-season, tallied a hat-trick, added an assist and was a plus-6 in his home debut with the Sharks. To finish off the hat-trick, Heatley beat Mathieu Garon(notes) on a penalty shot.

No. 2 star: Marian Gaborik(notes), New York Rangers

This is the Marian Gaborik we're used to seeing and want to see on a nightly basis. Gabby potted two goals, including the game-winner on the power-play midway through the third period as the Rangers continued to impress after beating the Washington Capitals 4-3.

No. 3 star: Joe Thornton(notes), San Jose Sharks

Dany Heatley may have scored a hat-trick against Columbus, but only one of Jumbo Joe's four assists helped the new Sharks sniper add to his goal total. Thornton's four assists tied a San Jose franchise record. This offensive explosion could be a sign that the Sharks are past their bumpy start and ready to live up to the high expectations that surround them this season.

Honorable mention: Ottawa's Matt Carkner(notes) and Atlanta's Evander Kane(notes) scored their first career NHL goals ... Despite the 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh, Jeff Carter(notes) (2 goals, 2 assists) and Danny Briere(notes) (2 goals) had productive nights for the Flyers ... Corey Perry(notes) and Teemu Selanne(notes) led the way for Anaheim with two goals apiece. Both of Selanne's were on the power-play ... Ryan Getzlaf(notes) played in his 300th NHL game ... Patric Hornqvist's(notes) two goals in the final 7:29 of the third period boosted Nashville to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche ... Thomas Vanek's(notes) power-play goal with 3:53 remaining lifted Buffalo over the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 ... The Lightning came up short against the New Jersey Devils despite the best efforts of Steven Stamkos(notes) (2 goals) and Victor Hedman(notes) (2 assists) ... Ryan Smyth(notes), Justin Williams(notes), and Anze Kopitar(notes) combined for four goals and 5 assists in a 6-3 win for Los Angeles over Minnesota ... Kyle Okposo(notes) scored this nifty goal in New York's 3-2 loss to Ottawa ... Referee Bill McCreary was on the ice for his 1,600th NHL game.

Did you know?

The Nashville Predators have the third most home wins by any NHL team since the 2005-06 season.

Dishonorable mention: He may have had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin(notes) took four penalties against Philadelphia. Not something Dan Bylsma wants to see out of one of his top scorers ... Washington (1-for-9) and Boston (0-for-6) both experience power outages with the man advantage ... David Krejci(notes), Michael Ryder(notes), and Blake Wheeler(notes) teamed up for a minus-9 rating in the Bruins 6-1 loss to Anaheim ... Rostislav Klesla(notes) had a terrible night posting a minus-4 ... Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) was victimized late yet against the Calgary Flames when he let up the tying goal with 1.5 seconds left in the third period. The Flames would take the extra point in the shootout.

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