No. 1 star: Dany Heatley, Ottawa Senators
The Pizza Line delivered in 20 minutes or less, factoring in on all three first-period goals in the Senators' 5-1 win over the visiting Atlanta Thrashers. But Heater gets the nod here for his wicked one-timer on the first goal, a beautiful dish in the slot to Jason Spezza for Goal No. 2 and an aggressive forecheck that led to another assist on Daniel Alfredsson's goal for the 3-1 lead. The line dominated the period and set the tone for the game.
No. 2 star: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
The Anaheim Ducks were playing a solid road game until the last 5:45 of the third period. That's when the Blackhawks rallied for three goals, with Toews smacking home the game-winner at 18:25 en route to a 4-2 win. Kris Versteeg sent a good pass through the crease and Toews beat Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who had another strong game for Anaheim (37 saves). Toews also assisted on Patrick Sharp's 14th of the season to open the scoring.
No. 3 star: Mike Modano, Dallas Stars
It was in a losing effort, but a stick-tap to one of the few Dallas players making a difference these days. Modano now has five goals in his last six games after scoring two in the third period to cut the Edmonton Oilers' lead to 3-2, before the Stars yet again fell short in a 5-2 defeat.
Honorable Mention: Having rejected the New York Rangers' offer of a 10-day conditioning assignment in Hartford, Peter Prucha returned to the lineup and cashed in a plum rebound of a Scott Gomez shot to tie the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-2. Dany Sabourin gave up goals on all three Rangers shootout attempts, with Fredrik Sjostrom winning the extra point. ... Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom stopped all 21 shots he faced, rebounding from a putrid six-goal performance on Monday to shut out the St. Louis Blues, 4-1. ... Don't look now, but Teemu Selanne has 14 goals for the Ducks.
Dishonorable Mention: Dallas goalie Marty Turco continued his stellar play, giving up a 40-foot goal to Shawn Horcoff and goal from near the blue line to Lubomir Visnovsky. Yep, it's all Avery's fault. ... Three fights in the Thrashers/Senators game, and they were all pretty lousy. ... Finally, the Dallas Stars have many options for getting rid of Sean Avery, if that's their choice. Gary Bettman has a choice to make, too; and if that choice is a 10-20 game suspension for Avery, the NHL disciplinary system will be irrevocably rendered absurd.