No. 1 star: Sergei Samsonov, Carolina Hurricanes
Yes, Sergei Samsonov is still the completely underwhelming scoring forward with the paltry two goals on the season. But what a second goal it was: Flying past two Philadelphia Flyers defensemen in overtime to win the puck and beat Martin Biron at 3:53 of overtime, giving the Hurricanes a 3-2 win and snapping the home-team Flyers' six-game winning streak. Just another reason why Samsonov is an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in a guy who only plays for a contract.
No. 2 star: Mikael Tellqvist, Phoenix Coyotes
After learning star center Olli Jokinen could miss up to a month with a shoulder injury, the Coyotes received an inspired effort from Tellqvist -- making his second straight start -- in defeating the visiting Colorado Avalanche, 2-1. He made 37 saves, including 30 over the final two periods; many of them were above-average. It's his second consecutive outstanding effort, after stopping 38 shots against the Blue Jackets on Wednesday. And millions of Bryzgalov fantasy owners suddenly begin gnawing on their nails.
No. 3 star: Paul Gaustad, Buffalo Sabres
This could have easily have gone to Drew Stafford, who scored two goals and added an assist last night for Buffalo. But Gaustad scored his first two goals of the season in a 4-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, including the timely game-winner at 16:36 of the third period. His deflection in front of the Pens' goal gave Buffalo the late lead and found a way to beat rookie goalie John Curry, who was otherwise outstanding in the last frame for the visiting Penguins.
Honorable Mention: Sidney Crosby had two second-period goals to rally the Penguins. ... Jeff Carter scored his league-leading 16th goal for the Flyers. ... Michael Ryder had two goals and Phil Kessel notched his 12th in the Boston Bruins' emphatic 7-2 win at the New York Islanders. ... Marian Hossa now has 13 goals on the season, as he scored the game-winner in the Detroit Red Wings' 5-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. ... Jonas Hiller had the shutout, but it was the Chicago Blackhawks' inability to convert chances that gave the Anaheim Ducks a 1-0 victory at home. Ryan Getzlaf's ninth was the lone goal. ... On a night when former player and current Tampa Bay Lightning assistant Wes Walz was honored, Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves in the Minnesota Wild's 4-2 win. ... Alexander Ovechkin scored his 13th and Jose Theodore made 28 saves for a 3-0 Washington Capitals' win at home against the Montreal Canadiens. ... Ryan Suter had the overtime game-winner in the Nashville Predators' 4-3 win at the Atlanta Thrashers. ... Dan Boyle scored two goals and Evgeni Nabokov made 25 saves in the San Jose Sharks' 6-2 win at the Dallas Stars. ... Nikolai Zherdev scored his eighth of the season and scored again in the shootout, as the New York Rangers overcome a blown lead in the third to win at the Florida Panthers, 4-3. And he certainly made one fan quite happy. Even if she's wearing one of those ghastly pink sweaters:
Dishonorable Mention: Another game, another Marty Turco disaster. The Stars goalie was pulled following the second period after allowing five goals. ... Islanders goalie Joey MacDonald was pulled in the third period after four Bruins' goals, but Peter Mannino gave up another three. ... Joe Sakic played just 28 seconds before shutting it down against the Coyotes with a bad back. ... Finally, Chris Osgood faced only 16 shots. This Fedor Tyutin blast from center ice was one of them. ConkBlock would have had it:
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