NHL Three Stars: Hats off for MacKinnon, Toffoli; Canadiens snap losing streak

No. 1 Star: Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles Kings

No Jeff Carter, no problem. Toffoli picked up his second career hat trick in the Kings 5-0 stomping of the Vancouver Canucks. Pretty sure Jonathan Quick left the game early to beat traffic.

No. 2 Star: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

Not to be outdone by Toffoli, the Avs forward had a hat trick of his own with 2 goals on the power play and an empty-netter. This is the second of likely many future hat tricks in MacKinnon’s career.

No. 3 Star: Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens

December has not been kind to the Canadiens. They needed something to break them out of the funk and the captain was the person to help them do it. Pacioretty assisted on the game tying goal and scored the game winner in the shootout. The win snaps the Habs six game losing streak.

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Honorable Mention: Congrats to defenseman Derek Forbort on scoring his first NHL goal against Vancouver. Anze Kopitar provided 4 assists for Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves in the shut-out.  … Colorado netted 4 of their goals with the extra man in the 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. This is Calvin Pickard’s first win of the season up with the Avalanche. Matt Duchene used a spin, geometry and luck to score a fancy goal on Martin Jones:

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… Alex Ovechkin scored his 18 goals of the season in the Capitals 2-0 win. Braden Holtby made an incredible save at the end of the game to preserve the shut out against the Buffalo Sabres … Mike Condon made 36 saves in regulation and OT and stopped 2 of 3 shooters in the shoot-out … James Neal led the way for the Nashville Predators with 2 goals. The Preds power play was 2 for 2 against the Rangers in the win … Devan Dubnyk started in place of Darcy Kuemper and earned the win for Minnesota with 28 saves. Mikko Koivu potted 2 goals for the Wild. Watch Charlie Coyle ‘break ankles’ as they say on his way to a goal:

Did You Know? Via LA Kings: with tonight’s shutout, Jonathan Quick has tied John Vanbiesbrouck and Frank Brimsek for most shutouts among American goaltenders all-time with 40. 

Dishonorable Mention: Sven Baertschi left the game against LA after 6:48 TOI due to injury … John Carlson missed his first game in 412 appearances due to a lower-body injury. Michael Latta left the game after suffering an arm injury in a fight with Nicolas Deslauriers … Steven Stamkos was not one of Tampa’s shooters in the shoot-out. Yes, that Steven Stamkos … Antti Raanta came in for 5:19 of garbage time for Henrik Lundqvist. Mike Ribero earned 3 assists and a massive body check from Ryan McDonagh:

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