Thursday's Three Stars: Vokoun gives Panthers hope

No. 1 star, Tomas Vokoun, Florida Panthers:
One of the big reasons Florida followers can feel good about their team finally getting back to the Stanley Cup playoffs is the fact the Panthers have a star goaltender, and Tomas Vokoun solidified that status Thursday night. Vokoun stopped all 42 shots he faced, especially frustrating Eric Staal with his 11 on net, to record his fourth shutout of the season and the 29th of his career. The first goalie to pitch a shutout against the Hurricanes this season, Vokoun helped the Panthers win their sixth in eight games since the All-Star break, and open a three-point edge for the final playoff spot over hosting Carolina.

No. 2 star, Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning:
The diminutive Lightning forward carried the big stick against the Maple Leafs, and he did all of his damage in the opening 20 minutes. St. Louis scored a goal after assisting on Tampa Bay's first three for a four-point night before the second period even started. St. Louis, the team's leading scorer with 54 points, was a plus-3 with a team-high seven shots and recorded three takeaways during 21:06 of ice time during the Lightning victory.

No. 3 star, Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames:
The veteran Flames netminder showed no ill effects from playing an overtime game the night before on the road. In fact, Miikka Kiprusoff couldn't have been any better against the homestanding Kings. Kiprusoff stopped all 36 shots Los Angeles mustered for his 30th career shutout.

Honorable mention: Top forwards Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson combined for three goals, six points and nine shots on goal as Ottawa won a season-high third straight with an impressive effort at Philadelphia. … Marian Hossa had two assists and four different goal-scorers made up for the fact Detroit was missing a number of key performers as the Red Wings won for the sixth straight time. … Jason Arnott scored at 19:57 of the third period and Steve Sullivan was the only skater of six to convert a shootout goal as the Predators broke the Blues' hearts. … Ryan Malone got the bridge of his nose stitched up then scored two goals for Tampa Bay. … Henrik Sedin capped a three-goal third-period rally with the game-winner at 10:47 as the Canucks took advantage of a host Coyotes' team that played the night before.

Dishonorable mention: Carolina defensemen Joe Corvo and Tim Gleason were each a minus-4. Gleason (16:13) needed more than five minutes less to top Corvo's (21:48) tough night. … Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala had a short night, getting the hook after allowing four goals on 12 shots.

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