Tuesday’s Three Stars: Carter’s trick; Vrbata ‘Radims’ Coyotes; Pavelec makes 50 saves

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The Phoenix Coyotes celebrate a goal as Jonathan Quick continues to search for his contact lens.

No. 1 Star: Jeff Carter, Columbus Blue Jackets

In his 500th game (and maybe because of it), Carter looked like the motivated, lethal scorer the Blue Jackets traded for last summer. He was unstoppable in the first period, lighting the lamp twice. Here's the second goal:

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Carter added another tally to complete the hat trick early in the third, cementing the 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks, who are now 1-4-1 on their nine-game road trip.

No. 2 Star: Mike Fisher, Nashville Predators

A game-time decision for the Predators because of illness, Fisher clearly made the right call. The Nashville center opened the scoring for the Preds, then set up both Sergei Kostitsyn's shorthanded game-winner and David Legwand's late insurance goal as the Predators ended the Vancouver Canucks' regulation unbeaten streak with a 3-1 victory.

No. 3 Star: Radim Vrbata, Phoenix Coyotes

This game went to a shootout, as expected, but it wasn't to break the scoreless tie for which most were braced. Instead, it was to break a surprising 4-4 deadlock. The Los Angeles Kings left disappointed: they led this game 3-0 at the end of the first, but that's when Radim Vrbata came alive, scoring a quick one and assisting on another to cut the lead to one early in the second. He then scored the game-tying goal with only three minutes remaining in the third. Mikkel Boedker scored the shootout winner to give Phoenix the 5-4 win.

Honorable mention: R.J. Umberger had a Gordie Howe hat trick in the first period in Columbus...  Andrew Ladd scored twice, Tim Stapleton had three assists, and Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made a batcrap insane 50 saves in a 5-4 heartbreaker to the Philadelphia Flyers. Outshot 2-1, the Jets were 10 seconds away from stealing the win before Wayne Simmonds tied the game and Jaromir Jagr scored the overtime winner:

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... Mark Fayne scored the overtime winner in embarrassing fashion as the New Jersey Devils knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-3. It wasn't embarrassing for him, mind you, but for Leafs' netminder Jonas Gustavsson, who, um, really shouldn't have let this in:

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... Ryan Miller made 30 saves and came 5 minutes from posting a shutout in the Buffalo Sabres' 2-1 win over the New York Islanders... Marc Andre-Fleury did post a shutout in the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 win over the New York Rangers. It was the 22nd timed he's posted a goose egg for Pittsburgh, tying Tom Barrasso's franchise record. Evgeni Malkin had a hand in both goals, scoring one and picking up a helper on the other... Eberle and Sam Gagner led the way in the Edmonton Oilers' 6-1 walloping of the Calgary Flames. Both had a goal and two assists... the Dallas Stars topped the Montreal Canadiens 3-0. Ryan Garbutt scored his first career goal, Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves for the shutout, and Mike Ribeiro's ate the Montreal crowd's delicious boos when he was jeered for being named the game's first star in his return to Montreal... Steven Stamkos showed he wouldn't miss Steve Downie, picking up three points -- including his 41st and 42nd goals -- in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks... Jimmy Hayes had a goal and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks made the Detroit Red Wings a below .500 hockey team on the road with a 2-1 win...

Did you know? The Phoenix Coyotes are 9-1-1 in their last 11 and have tied the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division lead.

Dishonorable mention: Ryane Clowe played an undisciplined game for the Sharks... Jonas Gustavsson's overtime flub might have been the worst goal he allowed, but it was close. The Devils could have slid a plate of spaghetti between his legs without staining his pants. He didn't help himself after the game with this quote: "It's about maybe paying attention—some extra focus in those situations." Yes, Leafs Nation, you lost valuable points because your goalie wasn't paying enough attention.

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