No. 1 star, Patrick Kane(notes), Chicago Blackhawks:
It was a signature game in the career of Chicago's young superstar. Kane collected the first Blackhawks' playoff hat trick in 15 seasons and added an assist to boot, his four points the offensive highlight of Chicago's dramatic series'-clinching win in Game 6 on Monday. Kane, without a three-goal game in either of his first two NHL regular seasons, embarked on his career-best night with an even-strength goal at the ominous time of 13:13 of the first period. Kane's next one game at exactly 13 minutes into the third (hmm) and tied it 5-5. His last one, No. 8 in the playoff season, was a thing of beauty. Kane drove the left side, faked a little wrister, cut to the middle against a defender and beat Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo(notes) with a slick backhand shot off the post at 16:17 for a two-goal edge.
No. 2 star, David Steckel, Washington Capitals:
Steckel was still beating himself up after missing an open net during overtime earlier in the series when he vowed to simply not miss the next time. And he didn't. Steckel deflected a puck past Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) at 6:22 of sudden death. In addition to his fine defensive work, the forward won 11 of 15 draws, too.
No. 3 star, Jonathan Toews(notes), Chicago Blackhawks:
The Chicago captain was stellar, scoring two goals and adding an assist for a three-point game. His five shots were a team high and Toews won 10 of 12 faceoffs.
The top sports headlines of the day
Major penalty: Roberto Luongo was not very good in what turns out to be one of the most important games of his career. He made only 23 saves in the game, and allowed Chicago to score four times in a wild third period. Flat out, not good.
Minor penalty: The Canucks have been tied 2-2 in a playoff series eight times in franchise history. And as a result of dropping the final three games of the series against the Blackhawks, Vancouver fell to 1-7 when a series has been reduced to a best-of-three.
Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Patrick Kane, Blackhawks; 2. Sidney Crosby(notes), Penguins; 3. Johan Franzen(notes), Red Wings; 4. Eric Staal(notes), Hurricanes; 5. Alexander Ovechkin(notes), Capitals; 6. Can Ward, Hurricanes; 7. Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Red Wings; 8. Ryan Getzlaf(notes), Ducks; 9. Simeon Varlamov(notes), Capitals; 10. Phil Kessel(notes), Bruins.