Thursday's Three Stars: The Devils made us pick Brodeur

No. 1 star: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

Confession: Zach Parise was the true No. 1 star of New Jersey's 4-0 win over Colorado on Thursday and a fair grade to give Brodeur in his return to game action was "incomplete." Brodeur led 1-0 before facing a single shot, didn't encounter a legitimate scoring chance until nearly 13 minutes had expired and spent the bulk of the first and third periods watching the Devils apply sustained pressure on his counterpart, Andrew Raycroft. The best scoring opportunity to come out of Colorado's three power plays was a 3-on-1 rush … for the Devils. To Brodeur's credit there was no rust evident. He looked confident, displayed excellent lateral movement and made a handful of sparkling saves among his 24 on the night, even if most of the eye-openers came in highlight montages played throughout the evening. So forgive us for being predictable here. Hey, it's Martin Brodeur. It's career shutout No. 99. It's comeback week on Yahoo! Sports! But really, did you see that Parise goal?

No. 2 star: Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils

We hate to double up on a full-slate night, but Parise and his linemates were that dominant in keeping the heat off Brodeur in his return after four months in mothballs. Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner and Travis Zajac combined for eight points and half of New Jersey's 32 shots. The highlight goal of the evening came when Parise out-muscled Adam Foote before beating Raycroft top-shelf from close range. The goal was his 36th, tying him with Jeff Carter for second in the NHL. Parise added two assists and did some uncredited dirty work in front of the net on the Devils' fourth goal.

No. 3 star: Michael Ryder, Boston Bruins

This one got out of hand in more ways than one, but Ryder did most of his damage while the final result was still in doubt. He assisted on Boston's first goal, rang one off the post and in to make it 2-0, then took a pass from Tim Thomas to beat Jonas Hiller for the Bruins' fourth tally in an eventual 6-0 win. Back in the lineup after missing nearly three weeks following facial surgery – we mentioned it's comeback week, right? – Ryder now has three goals and two assists in two games, both Boston wins after a 1-3-1 road trip.

Honorable mention: Tim Thomas made 35 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. … Toronto's Tim Stapleton scored the deciding shootout goal against the Islanders in his NHL debut. … Carolina's Jussi Jokinen now has 21 career shootout goals in 39 chances after converting in a 2-1 win over Buffalo. … Nice rebound effort from Cam Ward (36 saves). … Alexander Semin had three points on the power play as Washington converted 3-of-8 chances in a 4-3 win over Atlanta. … Craig Anderson made 40 saves to set the stage for Florida's third-period rally in a 2-1 win over the Rangers. … Chris Mason has allowed one or fewer goals in six of seven starts after Thursday's 40-save effort in a 3-1 win over the Stars. … Steve Mason made 19 saves for his NHL-leading eighth shutout in the Blue Jackets' 1-0 win over Edmonton.

Dishonorable mention: J.S. Giguere was pulled for the third time in nine starts. … Carolina is in a 1-for-20 power-play slump. … John Tortorella's Rangers have two goals in two games (0-1-1). … Ottawa rookie defenseman Brian Lee was called for three minor penalties in the second period against San Jose. The Sens killed the first infraction, but the Sharks scored twice when Lee protested a holding call and had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty added to his punishment. Final score: 2-1.

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