NHL Three Stars: Capitals clinch playoff spot; Karlsson’s OT winner

No. 1 Star: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

The Senators had the flare for the dramatic against the Minnesota Wild. With eight seconds to go in the game, Karlsson and Mark Stone setup Mika Zibanejad’s tying goal. Then the captain slammed home the winner with 31 seconds remaining.

No. 2 Star: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Evgeny Kuznetsov picked up his 50th assist on Ovi’s controversial overtime goal; his 42nd of the season. Picking up points in overtime over the Carolina Hurricanes allowed for the Capitals to clinch the first playoff spot of the season.

No. 3 Star: Joonas Donskoi, San Jose Sharks

Early in the third, Joonas Donskoi deflected in a Joel Ward shot on the power play to give the Sharks the 3-2 lead over the Boston Bruins. It held as a the game winner. 

Honorable Mention: Eddie Lack held Washington to only 2 goals against on 31 shots … The New York Islanders out-hit the Pittsburgh Penguins 46 to 26. Kris Letang scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Penguins the win … Michael Raffl scored 2 goals on Petr Mrazek, who made 42 saves on the night … Kris Versteeg set the tone early scoring the first goal for the Los Angeles Kings 23 seconds into the game. LA went on to beat the Dallas Stars, 5-2. Both Dallas goals were unassisted. Anze Kopitar is magical:

… Zach Hyman, Martin Marincin, and Ben Smith picked up two points each in the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning … Al Montoya improved to 10-5-3 with 27 saves against the Montreal Canadiens. Vincent Trocheck scored a goal and an assist in the win … Reimer is now 2-1-0 as a member of the Sharks. Brent Burns tied a franchise records for goals (26) and points (64) by a defenseman. 

Did You Know? Braden Holtby set the Capitals franchise single season win record at 42 games.

Dishonorable Mention: Devan Dubnyk faced only 20 shots in the loss to Ottawa … Detroit registered only 3 shots on goal in the first period to Philadelphia’s 23. In the third, Detroit outshot Philly 21 to 9 … Steven Stamkos was a minus-3 against the Maple Leafs … Do not stop a fight with Shawn Thornton. He doesn’t like that.

… Kari Lehtonen got the hook after allowing 4 goals on 11 shots in 21:07. Alex Goligoski was a minus-4.