NHL Three Stars: Perry Ruins Lack’s Birthday, Geno Returns

No. 1 Star: Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

Corey Perry was on a seven game goal-less streak going into the game against the Canucks. After Nick Bonino tied it up with 1:30 to go, eventually sending the game to overtime. Perry ended his drought on the power play with less than a second remaining in OT. With the 4-3 (OT) win, the Ducks improve to 17-0-2 at Honda Center.

No. 2 Star: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Welcome back to the lineup, Geno! (Kris Letang returned, too.) After missing nine games with an injury to his left leg, Malkin scored two goals and an assist against the Winnipeg Jets in his return. Geno’s second goal tied the game at 5-5. Matt Niskanen scored the 6-5 game winner for Pittsburgh.

With help from Jussi Jokinen, Malkin reinforces the decision to leave Dustin Byfuglien off of Team USA with his first goal:

No. 3 Star: Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks

His 26th birthday might be one he wants to forget because of how it ended. The rookie goalie wasn’t expected to start tonight; however, Roberto Luongo was injured in Saturday night’s loss to the Kings. He was so injured he didn’t dress and the Canucks had to sign a local goalie to back up Lack.

After registering only five shots-on-goal in the first, the Ducks fired a total of 44 shots in the second, third and overtime period at Lack. He was able to stop 40 of 44 but didn’t get the win because of this evening’s first star.

Honorable Mention: James Neal had a three point night with an assist and two goals he scored 24 seconds apart … Best kept secret Jussi Jokinen had another multi-point game for Pittsburgh; the Penguins acquired him from Carolina for some magic beans (2013 conditional pick) last year … Evander Kane had a three point night in a losing effort but he should feel proud of making Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi look silly:

Daniel and Henrik Sedin had three points each in the loss … Canucks power play was 2-for-3 … All Ducks skaters registered a shot-on-goal except for Bryan Allen and Teemu Selanne … Jonas Hiller is riding a personal 11 game win streak for Anaheim … Alexander Semin scored the first goal for the Hurricanes in their 2-1 victory over Nashville and it was fantastic. Not heard on the clip from the telecast, “All you need is a little bit of space for [Alexander] Semin”…

Jeff Skinner assisted on the Semin goal and scored the game winner for Carolina. The latter came after he took a puck to the face in the second and returned for the third … San Jose backup Alex Stalock earned the 3-2 shoot-out win over Chicago; my apologies to those of you who were hoping for the Battle of the Antiis (Raanta vs. Niemi) … Hey! The Oilers won! … 11 different players registered a point against Tampa Bay … Jordan Eberle, Ryan Smyth, Sam Gagne and Taylor Hall earned two points each.

Did You Know: Sidney Crosby was awarded a penalty shot against the Jets and he missed. Sid is a career 0-for-4 in penalty shots. So maybe he isn’t Hockey Jesus after all… (I can make that joke, I was born in Pittsburgh.)

Dishonorable Mention: Dustin Byfuglien = minus-3 against one of the league’s best teams, still think he’s a snub? … Ducks power play isn’t good. Kevin Bieksa (for Don Cherry: Kevin Biexska) took a bad hooking penalty in overtime leading to the PP game winner … In addition to Luongo, Chris Higgins was scratched with an illness and Zach Kassian left the game after a scary kick to the face by his own man. Luckily the skate blade missed and only the boot made contact … Eric Staal was out of the lineup against Nashville with a lower-body injury he sustained the previous night against the Islanders … The Oilers’ 5-3 win over Tampa Bay should come with an asterisk. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop left the game after 4:18 in the first period, replaced by Anders Lindback. He was shown at the bench having his blocker hand looked at; the Lightning announced his ‘upper-body injury’ will be evaluated in Winnipeg on Monday.

Follow Jen Neale on Twitter @MsJenNeale_PD