No. 1 Star: Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues
Despite being the Blues shiny new toy, Ryan Miller didn’t start against the Penguins. He was in net for the 4-1 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon, and his career stats versus Pittsburgh aren’t all that great 7-13-3, 3.28 GAA, .889 SV%.
Ken Hitchcock turned to Elliott in a game some were calling a SCF preview. David Backes scored the only goal of the game midway through the third period. Elliott stopped all 33 Pittsburgh shots and saved his 1-0 shut-out by making a smart move in the first:
No. 2 Star: Matt Moulson, Minnesota Wild
In the second game of a home-and-home series, Minnesota dug themselves a hole early, going down 2-0 to Detroit. Moulson assisted on Charlie Coyle’s game tying goal and then scored the 4-3 (OT) game winner. Both teams are clinging to Wild Card playoff spots.
No. 3 Star: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
In his ninth game back from a scary infection, Rinne stifled the usually potent offense of the defending champs. He made all 29 saves to shut out the Blackhawks 2-0. Mike Underwood Fisher and Gabriel Borque provided the goals.
Honorable mention: Up against one of the top power plays in the league, the Blues went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill … The Blues are tied with the Bruins for the top spot in the NHL … His team may have lost the game, but Jimmy Howard did his part by making a ridiculous save in the first period:
…Helping to dispel the playoff hopes of Columbus fans, the New York Islanders beat the bugs 2-0 on the back of a 41 save performance by Evgeni Nabokov. For a 106 year-old man, Nabby’s still got some great moves:
… Phil Kessel scored an incredible goal, and immediately celebrated by slamming his face into the goal post:
… Zach Kassian had a four point game (not kidding); he provided the primary assist in all four Vancouver goals leading them to the win against Buffalo, 4-2 … With helpers from Corey Perry and Ryan Getzalf, Patrick Maroon scored his first NHL power play goal in the Ducks 6-2 rout of the Florida Panthers:
… Winner for best twitter conversation of the night goes to the Florida Panthers and the Anaheim Ducks:
.@FlaPanthers That triple deke wouldn’t work against Hiller. Quicker glove hand than Julie “The Cat” Gaffney.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) March 24, 2014
Did you know? Ryan Getzlaf earned his 600th point in a Ducks uniform Sunday night, and broke the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career.
Dishonorable mention: Evgeni Malkin committed four of Pittsburgh’s 10 giveaways … The Blue Jackets thought they heard Zach Morris yell ‘time-out’ and froze in place, allowing Travis Harmonic to score his second goal of the season – on the power play:
… Seth Jones did not return to the game against Chicago after the first intermission; Jones’ father told FSN Tennessee his son was suffering from ‘concussion-like syndrome’ … Minnesota fans held their breath the entire game while Ilya Bryzgalov was in net; Bryz stopped 13 of 16 shots … Playing in his 1,000th NHL game, Henrik Sedin injured his left leg and did not play in the third period:
… This will definitely not help the relationship between Randy Carlyle and James Reimer, the net-minder was pulled 1:50 into the second frame after giving up three goals on 10 shots; prior to his removal, he made a stupendous paddle save on Jaromir Jagr:
… Reimer’s replacement Drew MacIntyre was 15 for 15 against New Jersey in the Leafs fifth consecutive loss, 3-2 .