No. 1 Star: Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
Skinner tallied a hat trick for the Hurricanes in their 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators, giving him five goals in his last two games. Justin Faulk also had three points.
No. 2 Star: Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs
Trevor Smith’s tip of a Jake Gardiner shot in front of the Dallas Stars’ goal gave the Leafs a 3-2 victory, despite being outshot 50-24. So the star goes to Bernier for his 48-save performance which ended an 0-3-2 skid for Toronto. Here’s the game-winner; Nazem Kadri had two goals in the win:
No. 3 Star: Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers
Taylor Hall had a hat trick and an assist in the Edmonton Oilers’ 8-2 rout of the Colorado Avalanche. Ryan Smyth had three assists, while Mark Arcobello, David Perron and Ales Hemsky had two-point nights.
Honorable mention: Marco Scandella’s first goal of the season with 1:48 left in regulation broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Minnesota Wild a big 4-3 division win over the rival Chicago Blackhawks. Zach Parise and Marian Hossa scored their 12th goals in the game. … Rick Nash and Brad Richards had a goal and an assist in the New York Rangers’ 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. … Best team in hockey, eh? After Dan Bylsma put over the San Jose Sharks, his Pittsburgh Penguins defeated them, 5-1. Chris Kunitz had two goals, Sidney Crosby had three assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 43 saves. … Carey Price made 32 saves and second-period goals by Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty were the difference in the Montreal Canadiens’ 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins. … Ben Bishop made 33 saves against his former team and Marty St. Louis scored two goals in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. … Dylan Olsen’s first NHL goal was one of five for the Florida Panthers in their 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. … Derek Roy, David Backes, Brendan Morrow, Magnus Paajarvi and Jay Bouwmeester had the goals and Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves in the St. Louis Blues’ 5-1 win over the New York Islanders.
Did You Know? The Islanders have lost eight straight overall (0-6-2) and eight in a row on the road. (AP)
Dishonorable mention: Semyon Varlamov gave up all eight goals to the Oil. Nate Guenin was a minus-4. … Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were both minus-2 with a minor penalty. … Antti Niemi was pulled for the Sharks after giving up four goals. … Dustin Byfuglien was a minus-4, Andrew Ladd was a minus-3 as was Tobias Enstrom. … Nasty injury to Johnny Boychuk on a Max Pacioretty hit. After going to the hospital, he was later cleared to fly back to Boston with the Bruins.
Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.
Create-a-Caption: "A fan of the Calgary Flames celebrates after a goal against the Phoenix Coyotes during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on December 4, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada"
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Preview: San Jose Sharks at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: New York Rangers at Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Dallas Stars at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET
Preview: Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. ET
Preview: Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET
Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. ET
Preview: New York Islanders at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET
Preview: Carolina Hurricanes at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m. ET
Preview: Colorado Avalanche at Edmonton Oilers, 9:30 p.m. ET
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Five things to know about tonight's NHL games ...
1. Sid Plays 500, Malkin Doesn't Play. Evgeni Malkin has a lower body injury, so he'll miss Sidney Crosby's 500th NHL game.
2. Bylsma Puts Over Sharks. Said the Pens coach on San Jose: “With all due respect to Chicago, I think they’re maybe the best team in the league right now in a lot of different areas. Their special teams are in the middle of the pack number-wise, but they have 21 even-strength goals from the Thornton line, 20 from Marleau’s line with Couture and Wingels. The way they come at you and the way they play, they’re certainly, I think, the best team in the league right now. Looking forward to the matchup tonight.”
3. Krug Ready. Claude Julien expects banged up rookie Torey Krug to be in the lineup against the Habs, in the Bruins' first meeting with their rivals this season.
4. Bolts Seek Spark. Outside of an empty netter, the Lightning are scoreless in 135 minutes of hockey. Hurry back, Steven.
5. Benn Possessed. Why yes, Jamie Benn did take his Olympic snub personally.
Bold Prediction: Alex Steen hat trick vs. Islanders.
News and notes for New York Islanders fans. Their losing streak reaches eight with a loss at St. Louis, but Evgeni Nabokov and Brian Strait are still on the mend.
The Islanders penalty kill fell apart again, and the Isles fell 5-1 in St. Louis.
You probably didn't expect the winless streak to end against the St. Louis Blues. It didn't.
The St. Louis Blues have lost two regulation games in a row after falling behind a combined 7-0 in the first half of each game, but we should all know by now that such a narrow snapshot can mislead.
The same language can be perceived quite differently depending on a team's current form, record, and the eloquence of delivery.
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