NHL Three Stars: Four points for Phil; Flames win fifth-straight; Sabres buried by Avalanche

No. 1 Star: Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Battle of Ontario was full of physicality and offense…from Phil Kessel. Kessel earned himself a hat-trick (goals 28, 29 and 30) and added an assist for a four-point night. The line of Kessel, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk combined for eight points in the Leafs 6-3 win over Ottawa.

No. 2 Star: Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames

The Flames had a two-goal lead after Backlund’s shorty one-minute into the third period. Minnesota made the comeback sending the game to overtime. Midway through the extra-session, Backlund hit the game winner to give the Flames their fifth-straight win. Yes, fifth-straight win.

No. 3 Star: Nate Thompson, Tampa Bay Lightning

Still no Steven Stamkos for the Lightning, but not to worry fans, they have Nate Thompson! Thompson provided all the offense Tampa Bay needed to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 (OT). He potted a short-handed goal to open the scoring and banked the game winner in overtime to close it.

Honorable mention: Nate MacKinnon earned the first three-point (1-2=3) game of his career as the Avalanche shelled the Buffalo Sabres 7-1; Erik Johnson and Jamie McGinn also had three points. MacKinnon’s power play goal came from some nifty stick-handling from Johnson (that sounds dirty…)

… Chris Neil also had a three point night. Yes, Ottawa’s Chris Neil. He scored 2 goals and an assist in the loss to Toronto. No one knew he scored a second goal until the Situation Room caught it

… Philly’s Steve Mason reinforced Los Angeles’s goal-scoring phobia with a 2-0 shutout. Former-King Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux were the goal scorers for the Flyers … Vladimir Tarasenko scored the game-tying goal in the third period and went on to earn the game-deciding shoot-out goal in the Blues 4-3 (SO) win against Nashville … The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Florida Panthers 4-1 thanks to 35 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky and the six-point total performance from the line of Boone Jenner, Nathan Horton and Ryan Johansen, including this beauty …

… Mike and Mike night; Mike Smith’s 23 saves and Mike Ribero’s goal and assist helped to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 … Boston Bruins crashed Edmonton’s Ben Scrivens party 4-0; in his last two starts Scrivens has faced 91 shots total … Dallas Starts backup goaltender Dan Ellis handed the Anaheim Ducks their first shut-out loss of the season; Ellis stopped all 26 shots in the 2-0 victory.

Did you know? The Chicago Blackhawks have been to overtime 19 times this season and haven’t found the back of the net in any of them. Tonight they lost to the Sharks 2-1 in the shoot-out.

Dishonorable mention: If you didn’t see it earlier, Ben Bishop and Brandon Prust got into it during the Habs/Lightning game … Nazem Kadri had a questionable hit on Cody Ceci that lead to a goal; no call on the play … Ryan Miller allowed five goals on 27 shots through two periods against the Avs … Calgary’s Karri Ramo left the game against the Wild with a lower-body injury just 17:32 into the game; he was replaced by Reto Berra who earned the win … Chicago’s Corey Crawford allowed-in all three San Jose shoot-out goals.