No. 1 Star: John Curry, Minnesota Wild
Who?! Exactly what I thought, too. Curry is the seventh (7th!!) goaltender used by the Wild this season. In his career, Curry has played a total of five games at the NHL level, the last one being in the 2009-2010 season; he was with Pittsburgh and gave up five goals on 14 shots.
Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues, the Minnesota native allowed only two goals on 45 shots and made this incredible glove save:
No. 2 Star: Paul Stastny, Colorado Avalanche
Stastny’s two goals against the Canucks gave Colorado a 4-2 win. The Avs have pulled even in points with the Blues but are ahead in the standings due to their 47 ROW to St. Louis’ 43; both teams have two games remaining.
One thing we know for sure, the second place team will be facing the Blackhawks in the first round:
Blackhawks will finish third in the Central. The Avalanche defeat the Canucks 4-2 and move ahead of the Blues for first place.
— Scott Powers (@ESPNChiPowers) April 11, 2014
No. 3 Star: Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Rinne pitched a shut-out against Phoenix, who really needed to win the game to catch up to Dallas in the Wild Card race. The Coyotes are two-points behind the Stars and both teams have two games left, including one against each other.
Honorable mention: Congrats to the Wild’s Christian Folin for earning his first NHL point in his first NHL game as Minnesota beat St. Louis, 4-2 … Jason Chimera, Joel Ward, and Eric Fehr combined for nine points (3G, 6A) in Washington’s 5-2 beat-down of Carolina … Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome scored the goals, both on the power play, in the Islanders shut-out of the Canadiens … Erik Karlsson scored the shoot-out winner for Ottawa against New Jersey … 15 of Wayne Simmonds 27 goals have come on the power play; it helps to play alongside Claude Giroux:
… Tampa’s Michael Kostka was back in the lineup after missing three games with a concussion from a high hit by Douglas Murray; Kostka picked up two points in the Lightning’s 4-2 win against Philly … Nick Bjugstad earned two goals and an assist in Florida’s 4-2 victory over the Leafs … Rick Nash scored the game winning goal for the Rangers with less than two minutes left in the game; the win clinched second place in the Metro and home ice advantage for New York …
… Marian Gaborik scored two goals and an assist and Martin Jones made 17 saves in LA’s 3-0 triumph over Edmonton … Winnipeg goalie Michael Hutchinson won his first NHL game 2-1 in the shoot-out versus the Boston Bruins … Despite going on to lose the game, Brad Marchand opened the scoring with a beautiful goal:
Did you know? The New Jersey Devils are 0-for-12 in shoot-outs this season.
Dishonorable mention: Ryan Miller was pulled in the third period and went straight to the locker room (probably to cry, kidding!) … Mike Rupp has played in 13 games for the Wild; he probably won’t play any more thanks to an illegal hit to the head of TJ Oshie that earned him a match penalty (automatic suspension) … Nate MacKinnon had a gnarly run in with a goal post … In his first game back from suspension, Montreal’s Douglas Murray got himself ejected again after knocking Johan Sundstrom out of the game; Murray will not face further discipline … Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad was taken to the hospital for ‘precautionary reasons’ per Paul MacLean, but no one can seem to figure out for what … Toronto’s Drew MacIntyre made his first NHL start in net against Florida, and it didn’t go well; even the Panthers took a swing at the Leafs
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) April 11, 2014
… Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara were scratched against Winnipeg; the former is reported to be a non-healthy scratch … Sam Gagne injured his ankle against the Kings.