No. 1 star: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
So much for being "sleepy" for afternoon games: After two goals in Saturday afternoon's win over the Detroit Red Wings, Ovechkin netted a hat trick in the Capitals' 7-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. He scored on a one-timer in the first period, and then a wrist shot that beat goalie Brian Elliott in the second; he completed the trick with a mirror image of his second goal to beat Alex Auld for his league-leading 36th goal of the season. Ovie has 11 goals in his last 13 games.
No. 2 star: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
There were a number of reasons why the Edmonton Oilers didn't play better in a 2-1 loss to the Predators, but that shouldn't take away from Rinne's sometimes-stellar 32-save performance in Nashville's 2-1 win in Alberta. The Preds are now six points out of a playoff spot, and Rinne's won five of his last eight starts.
No. 3 star: Shawn Thornton, Boston Bruins
The Bruins brawler got credit for his fifth goal of the season on a scramble near the net of Carey Price, and it turned out to be the game-winner in Boston's 3-1 victory over the struggling Montreal Canadiens. Thornton didn't exactly sound like am offensive dynamo after the game: "I just snapped it and honestly there were a lot of bodies there and I don't know where it went or if it went off anybody." He earns a star for getting a goal and for earning the decision in a fight against Alex Henry, according to the panel at HockeyFights.com.
Honorable Mention: Tim Thomas was great for the Bruins, stopping 27 shots overall and 14 in the third period against the Habs, who wore their garish retro jerseys in the game. ... Martin Erat's game-winner for the Preds was a nice deke on Dwayne Roloson after a feed from David Legwand. ... Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Backstrom had three-point games for the Capitals; Mike Green had a four-point game, including a "Hail Mary" aerial pass down ice to Alexander Semin for a goal that Coach Bruce Boudreau labeled "sick." Semin also used his force powers on the Caps bench.
Dishonorable Mention: Elliott gave up four goals on 16 shots for the Senators before getting pulled, while Filip Kuba was a minus-2 and was abused by Ovechkin on two of his goals. ... It was a rather horrific day for Montreal: Losing to Boston at home; benching Alex Kovalev for most of the third period; losing Guillaume Latendresse to a shoulder injury; and, in perhaps the most dire news, losing Robert Lang after he "had a tendon in his left heel sliced by a skate after a harmless looking hit into the boards on Stephane Yelle," according to the Canadian Press. The Montreal Gazette reports: "His season - and possibly his career - appear to be over after an errant skate sliced his Achilles tendon at 11:27 of the third period." Ouch.