No. 1 star: Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
Depending on when you checked the rumor mill during the offseason, Marleau was either being stripped of his captaincy or, worse, getting shipped off to Montreal after 10 seasons in teal. Of all the scenarios being bandied about, the least plausible would have had Marleau earning the No. 1 star for San Jose on the night the team set a new NHL standard for success through 30 games. That's just what went down in Los Angeles on Monday, however, as Marleau stole the puck from Drew Doughty and turned on the jets for a shorthanded rush that culminated in the game-tying goal in the second period. The Sharks would finish the Kings 3-2 in the shootout to improve to 25-3-2 on the season.
No. 2 star: Jordan Leopold, Colorado Avalanche
It's not every night you see a defenseman score the game-winning goal on a third-period penalty shot, so let's go right to the video:
Leopold, who couldn't buy a goal for the better part of two seasons a few years back, enjoyed a two-point night with an assist to go with his fifth goal in Colorado's 3-2 win in Detroit.
No. 3 star: Andrew Raycroft, Colorado Avalanche
Raycroft got one of those "gee thanks" assignments, a road turn in Detroit for just his second start since Oct. 30. Plenty of reasons for rust, but Raycroft was sharp from the outset, stopping all seven Detroit shots he faced in the first period. He was even better in the final 10 minutes as he stopped 14 of 15 shots in the final period as the Red Wings threw everything they had at him in an attempt to rally.
Honorable mention: Sharks forward Ryane Clowe scored his 13th goal and beat Jason LaBarbera in the shootout in San Jose's win. … Matt Greene doubled his career goals output with his first for the Kings. … Teddy Purcell scored his first of the season and enjoyed the first two-point night of his young career. … San Jose is 9-0-0 when outshot this season. … Give Avs coach Tony Granato credit for picking the right guy for that penalty shot – he had his choice from anyone on the ice.
Dishonorable mention: Clowe got what he was looking for when he skated by the San Jose bench for a replacement stick, but his teammates also tossed two surplus sticks onto the ice. Clowe was called for tripping when a Kings player hit the deck in the scrum. … Wings defenseman Brett Lebda was called for covering the puck in the crease, which set up the Leopold penalty shot. … Colorado's Denver Post beat writer pretty much guaranteed a loss Monday.