This photo nicely illustrates the quality of the netminding Cogliano faced during his second period scoring spree.
No. 1 Star: John Tavares, New York Islanders
Though Tavares was able to pick up a 2nd goal and a 2nd assist on a couple of empty netters late in the game, his 4-point night was still the story in the Islanders 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. He scored the game-winner after the Hurricanes came back from down 2-0 to tie things up early in the third. Plus this pass to P.A. Parenteau is just sweet. The only thing sweeter is the job Parenteau does to knock it down and shoot it in a fluid motion:
No. 2 Star: Andrew Cogliano, Anaheim Ducks
Cogliano went off in the second period, scoring three goals in under 7 minutes to put the Ducks ahead for good. And speaking of off, Mike Smith looked terrible on all three goals, and was pulled from the game immediately after Cogliano registered the 2nd-fastest hat trick in Ducks' history. Teemu Selanne would add an empty-netter to seal the 4-1 win, Anaheim's 9th in their last 11 games.
No. 3 Star: Mikhail Grabovski, Toronto Maple Leafs
Grabovski scored the Leafs' first two goals in this game and added an assist on their 4th. It should have been enough, as that 4th goal made it 4-1 with only 13 minutes to play. Unfortunately, the Leafs couldn't keep it together, and the Penguins clawed their way back, tying the game on an Evgeni Malkin goal with 7 seconds remaining and winning it 5-4 on another Evgeni Malkin goal in the shootout. Minor consolation: inexcusable as it was, Malkin will do that to you.
Honourable mention: Milan Lucic had a goal and an assist as the Boston Bruins came back from down two to top the Ottawa Senators, 4-3. Dennis Seidenberg scored the game-winner -- from centre ice... Bryan Little scored the shootout winner and Ondrej Pavelec was excellent, stopping 27 shots in the Winnipeg Jets' 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. It was the 5th straight win for the Jets' franchise over the Flyers... Daniel Sedin scored the overtime winner in the Vancouver Canucks' 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, but this one doesn't even get to overtime unless Cory Schneider plays out of his mind. Here's the best of his 37 saves and arguably the save of the year so far:
Duncan Keith played 30:22 for the Blackhawks, who have now lost 3 straight... the Columbus Blue Jackets continue to be bad, falling 6-0 to the San Jose Sharks. Joe Thornton had a 3-point night and Antti Niemi picked up the shutout... Taylor Hall scored the game-winner and Devan Dubnyk was excellent, making 33 saves as the Edmonton Oilers held off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Jordan Eberle scored his 19th goal of the season, a new career-high... The Detroit Red Wings knocked off the Calgary Flames 3-1. Jiri Hudler scored the game-winner midway through the third period... Carey Price made 37 saves, but it wasn't enough as the Buffalo Sabres left Quebec with a 3-1 win, led by a goal and 2 assists from Paul Gaustad... Steven Stamkos scored the overtime winner and added an assist in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals. The Lightning have now won 5 straight... He didn't get the win, but Jonas Gustavsson deserves some love for this save:
... the Maple Leafs weren't the only team to blow a big lead late. Buoyed by Dany Heatley's 2 goals and 1 assist, the Minnesota Wild carried a three-goal lead into the back half of the final frame before surrendering four straight goals to the Nashville Predators (including 2 to Mike Fisher in the final 3 minutes) and falling 5-4 in regulation. Said coach Mike Yeo: "If you've ever been punched in the stomach really hard, that's pretty much what that one feels like." On the bright side, Heatley's second goal was nice:
... David Clarkson had a goal and an assist in the 3rd period as the New Jersey Devils tied the game late to take the New York Rangers to extra time before winning 4-3 in a shootout.
Did you know? Miikka Kiprusoff's game was the 526th of his career, tying him with Mike Vernon for first on the Flames' career list for goalies. (AP)
Dishonourable mention: The disallowed goal in the Leafs game was just brutal, as were the Leafs and Wild squandering 3-goal leads in half a period to lose their respective games 5-4.