No. 1 star: David Krejci, Boston Bruins
Absolutely insane game between the Bruins and the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs: 13 goals in the 8-5 Boston win, including eight in the second period, as well as two goalie changes and a brutal Shawn Thornton fight. Krejci gets the first star for his hat trick that included a power-play goal that iced it in the third. His second goal was brilliant: taking a Blake Wheeler pass, holding the puck until Curtis Joseph dove out of position and then tucking it inside the left post. His summer firing pucks in the garden of his home seems well worth it now.
No. 2 star: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
The most highly anticipated game of the evening was a bust, with the Red Wings administering an emphatic beat-down of the first-place San Jose Sharks. There were plenty of heroes in the 6-0 rout, including goalie Ty Conklin's 24-save shutout and Johan Franzen's first-period goal that got things rolling. But Datsyuk's four-point night -- a first period goal, a perfect helper on Marian Hossa's second-period goal, and then a goal and assist in the third period -- earns him the honors here.
No. 3: Joe Corvo, Carolina Hurricanes
Wow, what an overtime winner from Corvo: faking a shot from between the circles, nearly getting knocked down, deking Gregory Campbell and goalie Thomas Vokoun before scoring on the backhand with 44 seconds left in overtime to give the Canes a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Corvo had a two-point night.
Honorable Mention: Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars had the night's other hat trick, scoring twice in the first period and then adding a power-play goal in the second period to help Dallas keep pace with the Columbus Blue Jackets in its 6-5 skills competition victory. ... Evgeni Malkin had two goals and two assists, Jordan Staal added a goal and an assist while Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves in his first start since Nov. 15 as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 6-3 ... Viktor Kozlov had two goals and an assist on Alexander Ovechkin's 20th of the season, as the Washington Capitals moved to 13-1-1 at home on the season with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. ... Alexei Kovalev reached the 900-point mark with a second period goal in the Montreal Canadiens' 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Sergei Kostitsyn had two points, and Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves to snap the Flyers' five-game winning streak. ... Jeff Halpern scored his first goal of the season in his first game back from injury, but Andrew Raycroft made 37 saves and won in the shootout for the Colorado Avalanche, 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning. ... Finally, Kyle Turris scored two goals and Ilya Bryzgalov had 30 saves in the Phoenix Coyotes' 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators.
Dishonorable Mention: Adventures in Questionable Officiating, Volume One: It appeared that Manny Malhotra may have won the game for the Blue Jackets 13 seconds into OT, but the officials felt he kicked the puck behind Marty Turco. Coach Ken Hitchcock slightly disagreed: "We won the hockey game ... It was a good goal. They can put up whatever score they want. That player did not try to kick it in. It was a great victory." ... Adventures in Questionable Officiating, Volume Two: David Backes blatantly cross-checked Alexander Semin in the back, injuring the Capitals winger and causing Ovechkin to start a skirmish near the boards. No call on Backes, and Semin is day-to-day with nasty bruise. ... Ondrej Pavelec (13 shots, 6 saves), Pascal Leclaire (17 shots, 12 saves), Vesa Toskala (11 shots, 7 saves), Tim Thomas (23 shots, 18 saves) and especially Evgeni Nabokov (28 shots, 22 saves and a couple of long-range goals) where among the lowlights on a bad night for many goalies. ... Marc-Edouard Vlasic was a minus-4 for the Sharks. ... Finally, they had a little trouble unloading the Zamboni near Wrigley Field for the Winter Classic. Official said the brakes failed; really, there's enough "fail" to go around on this one: