Wednesday's Three Stars: Koivu leads; Mitchell blasts Toews

No. 1 star: Mikko Koivu(notes), Minnesota Wild

The newly-minted captain scored his third of the season on the power play to tie the game against the red-hot Colorado Avalanche at 15:09 of the third, and then beat Craig Anderson(notes) in the shootout to lead Minnesota to a 3-2 victory. He also assisted on Brent Burns's(notes) first of the season and played an outstanding overall game, as Minnesota snapped its five-game winning streak.

No. 2 star: Steve Begin(notes), Boston Bruins

Tied 2-2 with the Nashville Predators at home, the Bruins needed someone to make a play. That someone was Begin, scoring his first of the season from newly acquired Daniel Paille(notes) to give Boston a 3-2 lead in the third and an eventual win by that margin. This was one the Bruins needed to have after losing star center Marc Savard(notes) to a broken foot.

No. 3 star: Willie Mitchell(notes), Vancouver Canucks

It was a playoff atmosphere as the Canucks battled the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time since the conference semifinals last season. Mikael Samuelsson(notes) (5) had the game-winner and Roberto Luongo(notes) (18 saves) gained a measure of redemption in the 3-2 thriller for Vancouver; but it was Mitchell's booming hit on Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews(notes) that sparked his team to victory and knocked Toews out of the game. Check of the year candidate right here:

Honorable mention: Ryan Miller(notes) made 41 saves and five different Sabres scored goals in the Buffalo Sabres' 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Thomas Vanek(notes) netted his fourth. ... Rookie sensation John Tavares(notes) beat Cam Ward(notes) in the shootout to help give the New York Islanders their first 'W' and helping them avoid their worst start in franchise history. Isles win, 4-3, despite a two-goal third period comeback for the Carolina Hurricanes. ... The Dallas Stars built a 3-0 lead and hung on for a win at the Anaheim Ducks, 4-2, as Brenden Morrow(notes) scored his sixth on the season. ... Stick tap for Colin Wilson(notes) of the Predators, who scored his first NHL goal. Cody Franson(notes) earned his first NHL point for Nashville as well. Michael Grabner(notes) also scored his first NHL goal for Vancouver.

Did you know? Carolina Hurricanes winger Ray Whitney(notes) became the 246th player in league history to play 1,000 games in the NHL.

Dishonorable mention: Scott Clemmensen(notes) was pulled after giving up two goals on three shots for the Panthers. Tomas Vokoun(notes) (30 saves on 33 shots) wasn't all that much better. Florida was also 1-for-7 on the power play. Yucky. ... Both Marty Turco(notes) and Jonas Hiller(notes) gave up goals off of their own turnovers in the Dallas/Anaheim game. ... Minus-3s on the night: Dominic Moore(notes) of the Panthers and Scott Niedermayer(notes) (!) of the Ducks. ... Crowd of 9,122 announced at home for the Islanders. No word if that includes ushers and mascots.