NHL Three Stars: Tarasenko, Crosby, Byfuglien, Gardiner, Josi OT heroes

No. 1 Star: Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

Tarasenko continues to be a nightmare for the opposition. He scored goal No. 38 to tie the Chicago Blackhawks with 1:22 left on the clock. Goal No. 39 came 3:37 into overtime.

No. 2 Star: Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

In a game that meant nothing for the Jets, Big Buf had 4-points. The Jets came back against the Sharks three times during the game. With 10 seconds left and the game tied, Byfuglien sent the game winner past Martin Jones.

No. 3 Star: Torey Krug, Boston Bruins

The Bruins needed a huge game from someone to stay alive in the playoff race. Look no further than Krug. The defenseman has put up 8 points in his last 5 games; with 3 of those points coming against the Detroit Red Wings in the must-win game.

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Quick broke his own franchise record by earning his 40th win of the season. The Los Angeles Kings held the Anaheim Ducks to 20 shots on goal in their 2-1 win; retaking first place in the Pacific. Drew Doughty played an incredible 30:02 … Mark Scheifele netted two goals and an assist in the Jets win. Both the Sharks and Jets power plays were 2-for-4 … In the battle for futility, the Calgary Flames pummeled the Vancouver Canucks 7-3. Mikael Backlund picked up his first career NHL hat trick with three different goals: one on the power play, one at even strength, and one shorthanded.

… Kari Lehtonen improved to 25-10-2 as the Dallas Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. Congrats to Stars rookie Jason Dickinson for scoring his first NHL goal. Radek Faksa and Ales Hemsky had 2 assists each in the win … Chicago will start their first round playoff series on the road. Brian Elliott is now 23-7-6 for the Blues … The Arizona Coyotes were up 2-0 to start the third period, and the Nashville Predators scored three straight goals to win it in overtime. Roman Josi assisted on the game tying goal with 19 seconds left and scored 20 seconds into OT … Congrats to Buddy Robinson for scoring his first NHL goal in his second game in the league. The Ottawa Senators beat the Florida Panthers 3-1 … With the Philadelphia Flyers season on the line, Wayne Simmonds scored his 30th goal of the season to tie the game with 58 seconds to go. Yet it would be Jake Gardiner who’d score for the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime to win.

Jonathan Bernier made 41 saves for his 12th victory of the season. William Nylander earned a goal and 2 assists … Shane Prince, John Tavares, and Kyle Okposo each had 2 points for the New York Islanders in their 4-1 season sweep of the New York Rangers. Thomas Greiss faced 37 shots and allowed only 1 goal … Newly signed Charlie Lindgren, formerly of St. Cloud State, won his first game as a member of the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 … Jonathan Drouin netted what would stand up as the game winner in his first game back with the big club. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils guarantees them home ice in at least the first round. Ben Bishop picked up his 35 win of the season … The Pittsburgh Penguins had a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. The Washington Capitals scored three straight goals to tie it up. Then it was Sidney Crosby time – with some help from Kris Letang – in overtime.

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Dishonorable Mention: Sami Vatanen was a late scratch for the Ducks with the flu … By dropping the game against the Jets, the Sharks have secured their spot as third place in the Pacific. It’s up to the Ducks and Kings to decide who plays them … Poor Ryan Miller. He faced 43 shots on net and allowed 7 goals … Eric Johnston was tossed and assessed a five minute major for boarding Johnny Oduya.

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… Henrik Lundqvist did not start the third period after allowing 3 goals on 16 shots. Per Arthur Staple, Anders Lee is out with a possible fractured leg … Cam Ward reportedly declined to speak to reporters after what could be his last home game with Carolina … The Detroit Red Wings were lifeless against the Bruins, tossing up only 15 shots on goal. After winning Wednesday night in Philadelphia, Jimmy Howard was started again. He was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 26 shots through 40:45. Justin Abdelkader was injured in the third period … Braden Holtby remains one win away from tying Martin Brodeur. Alex Ovechkin took a beauty of a dive to earn an embellishment penalty. Tom Wilson boarded Nick Bonino at the beginning of the second period. Wilson saw three shifts total the rest of the game as he was trapped in the coach’s dog house.

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