No. 1 star: Jeff Carter, Philadelphia Flyers
Once the NHL's top sniper, Carter had gone a season-long five games without a goal entering Tuesday's tilt in Washington. Worse, he helped Alexander Ovechkin extend his lead in the Rocket Richard race by putting a weak clearing attempt right on AO's stick early in the second period. Ovechkin converted – when doesn't he? – for an unassisted goal and the Flyers faced a 2-0 deficit on the road. The third period, however, belonged to the Scott Hartnell-Carter-Joffrey Lupul line. Carter assisted on Hartnell's tying goal, then roofed one past Jose Theodore as the Caps goaltender tried in vain to throw his stick to prevent a goal. It was Carter's 35th, tying him with Zach Parise for second in the NHL. The 4-2 win helped the Flyers avoid falling even deeper in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
No. 2 star: Jaroslav Halak, Montreal Canadiens
Care for a little goalie controversy with your victory? Halak backstopped Montreal's 3-0 victory over Vancover on Tuesday, stopping 26 shots over the final two periods and all but ensuring he'll make his third straight start Friday in Philadelphia. Included in his 34 saves on the night were sparkling denials of Pavol Demitra and Ryan Kesler, the latter coming with Montreal nursing a 2-0 lead in the third period. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, Carey.
No. 3 star: Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Like tonight's No. 1 star, Iginla has had a hard time scoring of late. In fact, on the season Calgary's captain has been held without a goal in 42 of 59 games. There was no stopping him Tuesday, however, as the right wing had a hand in all four Calgary goals in a 4-1 victory over Columbus. Iginla's two goals left him two shy of 400 on his career.
Honorable mention: Buffalo native Todd Marchant ended a 43-game goal drought in his home town as Anaheim clipped the Sabres 4-2. … Representing the fourth liners tonight is Byron Bitz, who scored his second and third goals of the season in Boston's 6-1 drubbing of the Panthers. … Ottawa and Carolina combined for three goals in a 46-second span, the most notable being a Dany Heatley tally that gave him 30 goals for the fourth straight season. … Tomas Plekanec has goals in four straight for the Habs. … From the take-'em-any-way-you-can-get-'em files, we have the Kings' 2-1 road win in Minnesota. L.A.'s lone goal in regulation was kicked in by a Wild player and Drew Doughty appeared to lose control of the puck on what held up as the shootout winner. … Shane Doan scored his 250th career goal in a losing effort. … Sheldon Souray had a pair of goals in Edmonton's 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay.
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Dishonorable mention: The Sabres exposed Patrick Lalime to a breakaway just 70 seconds into his stint as replacement for the injured Ryan Miller. Lalime couldn't deny Teemu Selanne and overall didn't give Buffalo's brass much to be confident about in stopping 18 of 21 shots. … Ilya Bryzgalov allowed a goal on what was essentially a routine dump-in the Coyotes' 2-1 loss in St. Louis. … Anyone know the signal for shooting the stick? Anaheim's Corey Perry was sent off for just that infraction after trying to "shoot" goalie J.S. Giguere's stick back into his possession.
Images via Associated Press