No. 1 Star: Cam Talbot, New York Rangers
Cam Talbot hadn’t played a hockey game in weeks, and now he was up against the defending Cup champs in his first game back. Talbot made 31 saves and had the shut-out against the Blackhawks until the final 12 seconds of the game. New York still got the win, 2-1.
No. 2 Star: Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings
In his second game back after missing games with Detroit and the Olympics because of a head injury, Franzen netted himself a hat-trick to boost the injury-riddled, Henrik-less Red Wings to a 6-1 win over Ottawa. His third goal was effortless (because Robin Lehner didn’t move).
No. 3 Star: Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
Showing he had no Olympic hangover, Pavelski scored a hat-trick as the Sharks thumped Philadelphia, 7-3. Logan Couture and everyone’s favorite d-bag pest Raffi Torres returned to the lineup after missing significant time with injuries and contributed two goals a piece.
Honorable mention: New Jersey beat Columbus 5-2 thanks in part to Adam Henrique scoring a power play goal and an short handed goal on an awesome alley-oop pass:
… After scoring five goals at the Olympics, Michael Grabner scored two shorthanded goals in a row against the Maple Leafs; the Islanders tied the game with 2:20 left and Lubomir Visnovsky scored the 5-4 OT game winner … Still without Carey Price, Montreal beat Pittsburgh in a shoot-out, 6-5 (SO); earlier in the game Max Pacioretty tied the score with a lovely tic-tac-toe goal:
… Despite a wacky Tim Thomas save, Florida could not get past Washington; Brooks Laich, Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom had three-points each in the 5-4 win; while in Russia Ovi must have worked on his sharing skills:
…Martin St. Louis scored two goals on a day his future with the Lightning was constantly discussed, but Tampa dropped the game 3-2 to the Preds … Evander Kane returned to the lineup for Winnipeg in their 3-2 (SO) victory over Phoenix … Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper stopped all 21 Edmonton shots in the shut-out win for Minnesota … Well look at that, Dustin Brown does know how to score after all; his goal helped the Kings beat Calgary, 2-0.
Did you know? Robyn Regehr spent 11 seasons with the Flames before being dealt to Buffalo in 2011. As a member of the Los Angeles Kings, Regehr played his first game in Calgary since the trade.
Dishonorable mention: Chris Neil is mentally disturbed. Ottawa was losing handily when he decided to unbuckle Johan Franzen’s helmet and fire punches at his head without Franzen instigating anything at all. Franzen – who just came back from a concussion – won for quote of the night:
Franzen had “no clue” why Neil went after him: “He usually steps up when the game is over, tries to be the hero, put his cape on fly around”
— Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner) February 28, 2014
… Detroit chased Ottawa starter Robin Lehner who gave up 6 goals on 15 shots; Craig Anderson wasn’t available due to the impending birth of his second child, so rookie Andrew Hammond made his NHL debut in relief … Pittsburgh’s Tanner Glass was given a misconduct and ejected for elbowing Alexei Emelin; it was an iffy call … Dallas Stars forward Antoine Roussel received a five minute charging major for taking out Carolina goaltender Anton Khudobin and then gets his ass kicked by Ron Hainsey; Dallas ended up winning 4-1.