No. 1 Star: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
If the playoffs started today, the Lightning and Red Wings would meet each other in the first round. Tampa Bay did their part in planting the seed of doubt by winning 3-1. Bishop out-dueled Jimmy Howard with his 31 save performance.
No. 2 Star: Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Perry earned his 29th goal of the season on a breakaway in overtime, thanks much in part to Sami Vatanen batting the puck away from Colorado’s Brad Stuart. He makes it look easy.
No. 3 Star: Steve Bernier, New Jersey Devils
The last time Bernier scored a goal, it was Valentine’s Day. To make up for lost time, he scored to goals against the Sabres in the Devils 3-1 win. Here’s Bernier’s first goal on a perfect pass from Scott Gomez.
Honorable Mention: Ondrej Palat returned to the Tampa Bay lineup for the first time in 10 days after sustaining an injury; he had 2 assists in his return. Victor Hedman also registered 2 assists and was a plus-3 all while leading the Lightning in icetime with 22:18 … Devils backup goalie Keith Kincade improved to 5-4-3 on the season with the win against Buffalo. Adam Henrique and Scott Gomez assisted on both Bernier goals … Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves in the loss to Anaheim. Sami Vatanen returned to the Ducks lineup for the first time since February 15th; the defenseman led the team in TOI at 22:21. The only down moment for Vatanen was this play where Ryan O’Reilly was able to take the puck and score a shorthanded goal:
Did You Know? Colorado earned a point against Anaheim to pull them even with San Jose at 78-points. They are 6 behind Minnesota for the final Wild Card slot, but they’d have to jump the Kings at 4 points ahead first.
Dishonorable Mention: Niklas Kronwall was a minus-3 against Tampa … Buffalo’s Anders Lindback falls to 3-12-2 on the season.