Thursday's Three Stars: Ticked off Luongo blanks Blues

No. 1 star: Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

With each passing Luongo-backed victory, those Curtis Sanford, Cory Schneider days seem more and more like a hazy memory. Once at risk of missing the playoffs, the Canucks are now just one point behind ahead of Chicago for fourth place in the conference and home ice in the first round. Thursday's 3-0 win over St. Louis was a little extra special as Luongo stopped everything thrown his way – 30 shots in all – in recording his first shutout in four months. And it also came after the Vancouver media had criticized Luongo for poor puck handling and allowing soft goals. Vancouver's meal ticket is now 16-3-2 in his last 20 starts and as a team the Canucks have won a franchise-record 11 straight at home. The home team eventually took control of this one, but early on it was all Luongo, as the Blues held an 18-4 shot advantage midway through the second period. Next up: a six-game road trip beginning Saturday in Phoenix.

No. 2 star: Stephen Weiss, Florida Panthers

Weiss started a shorthanded rush around his own blueline, skated through three Maple Leafs as he crossed center ice, chipped the puck past an overwhelmed Anton Stralman, then went backhand to beat Martin Gerber top shelf for the game's first goal. Words don't do it justice, but it says here it was goal of the night. Florida desperately needed this one, as the 3-1 victory over Toronto snapped a four-game losing streak and kept the Panthers within one point of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Weiss later assisted on a Richard Zednik goal and was plus-2 in 16:05 of ice time. This was Florida's first season sweep of Toronto since 1995-96 and Weiss played a big role with eight points in four games.

No. 3 star: Sam Gagner, Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton scored four goals in the final 12 minutes and Gagner took advantage when the all-you-can-eat sign went up, scoring his 12th and 13th goals of the season to cap his first-career hat trick. He also assisted on a third-period goal as Edmonton embarrassed Colorado 8-1 on Thursday. The win allowed the Oilers to move into a tie for seventh in the Western Conference.

Honorable mention: Kings captain Dustin Brown scored with 35 seconds remaining in overtime as Los Angeles rallied to beat Boston 3-2 after trailing 2-0 midway through the final period. … Caps defenseman Mike Green scored two goals (Nos. 26 and 27) and had the sense to sit out Alex Ovechkin's 50th goal weenie roast. … We'll recognize Ovechkin's milestone goal here (he added two assists) and direct you to Puck Daddy's extended coverage of bonfiregate for more. … Brian Elliott set a Senators rookie record with his seventh straight win in a 5-4 victory over Montreal. Jason Spezza had three points (goal, 2 assists). … Edmonton's Ales Kotalik had a goal and three assists, his first points in seven games with the Oilers. … Anaheim's Rob Niedermayer played in his 1,000th game in the Ducks' 3-2 win over the 'Yotes.

Dishonorable mention: Boston is just 6-9-4 in its last 19 games. The Bruins were outshot 38-26 on home ice Thursday. … Most people simply don't care, but every now and then the official three stars selection process comes under fire. Opponents of the current system will no doubt love that Phoenix swept post-game honors Thursday despite losing 3-2 to Anaheim. … Montreal goalie Carey Price was pulled after allowing four goals on 15 shots. … Finally, nothing dishonorable about this effort from Brad Staubitz, it's just that these videos format better at the bottom of the page …

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