Sunday's Three Stars: Ovechkin paves the road for stars

No. 1 star, Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals:
The Florida Panthers figured out how to stop one of Washington's hot goal-scorers (Mike Green), but not the other one. Alexander Ovechkin reminded the Panthers who the biggest threat is, not only on the Capitals' roster but in the entire league. Already with one goal, Ovechkin broke a 2-2 tie with 2:31 left in the game, then added an empty-net goal for his eighth career hat trick. With 27 goals in his last 29 games, Ovechkin increased his league-leading goal-scoring total to 41. A plus-2 with eight shots on goal and one hit during 18:21 of skating, Ovechkin also appeared in his 300th career game.

No. 2 star, Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers:
Another Russian-born skater had an outstanding game on the road in addition to Ovechkin. Ilya Kovalchuk bunched three goals during 6:51 of the second period as part of a four-point night during Atlanta's 8-4 shellacking of host Anaheim. Kovalchuk, the Thrashers' leader with 27 goals and 58 points, also provided the primary assist on Atlanta's late first-period power-play goal that gave the visitors a lead they would never surrender. Kovalchuk, a plus-1, had a team-high six shots during 19:43 of ice time.

No. 3 star, Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes:
Capping a day when the three stars came on the road, Cam Ward stopped all 36 shots Buffalo threw his way during a 3-0 victory for the Hurricanes. Ward helped to spearhead Carolina's 5-for-5 effort on the penalty kill en route to his fourth shutout of the season and the 10th of his career.

Honorable mention: Identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin had identical contributions – one goal, one assist, four shots and a plus-2 apiece – as the Canucks added to the Canadiens' recent woes. … Marian Hossa and Daniel Cleary scored two goals each and logged more than 20 minutes apiece for the Red Wings, who had Kris Draper dominating the faceoff circle to the tune of 10-1. Colorado won the face in a shootout, their eighth win out of nine skills' competitions this season. … David Clarkson's second goal of the game with 3:32 remaining enabled the Devils to beat the Sharks and win for the 13th time in 15 games. … Washington is the only team in the league with four 50-point scorers. … Teemu Selanne scored two goals among his three points for Anaheim.

Did you know?: Philadelphia's Mike Richards scored a short-handed goal Sunday while the Flyers were down 5-on-3 for the third time this season, and that's an NHL record. Philadelphia leads the league with 14 short-handed goals.

Dishonorable mention: The Sabres and Ducks let their goalies hang out to dry, plain and simple. … The Sharks allowed three power-play goals in each of the last two stops of a season-high five game trip. The trek was a real struggle. San Jose allowed the first goal in every game, and went 1-1-3. … The Rangers, mired in a 1-for-31 drought on the power play, has allowed a league-high 14 short-handed goals.

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