NHL Three Stars: Jets thump Avalanche; Blackhawks edge Preds; Backstrom’s OT winner

No. 1 Star: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

Remember when everyone wanted to trade Toews earlier in the season? That was funny. He’s in absolute beast mode right now. His unassisted power play goal gave the Blackhawks a two goal lead. Nashville came back to tie it. It was Toews who did WERK to get the puck to Brian Campbell for the game winner with 1:05 left on the clock.

No. 2 Star: Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals

With his overtime goal, Backstrom has 20 goals and 65 points on the season. He’s averaging just over a point per game pace. The goal came on the power play with assists from the new guy, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Alex Ovechkin.

No. 3 Star: Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks

The young star was given an ‘A’ to wear after the Canucks traded Alex Burrows. To celebrate, he went out and assisted on Vancouver’s first three goals against the Los Angeles Kings.

Honorable Mention: Vancouver held a 4-0 lead through the second period before the Kings started their comeback late in the second. Three consecutive power play goals brought LA within one but they could not get the tying goal. Sven Baertschi scored twice for Vancouver. Ryan Miller made 41 of 44 saves in the win … Have you heard about this Connor McDavid fella? He’s pretty good at the hockey. Here’s his first goal just 1:41 into the game:

He’d later add an assist on Patrick Maroon’s 21st goal of the season. Dylan Larkin brought the Detroit Red Wings within one of the Edmonton Oilers with 35-seconds left in the third period. Edmonton went on to win, 4-3 … Patrick Kane’s two goals against the Preds give him 29 on the year; whereas, Viktor Arvidsson’s two goals put him at 23. The Blackhawks power play was 2-for-2 … John Klingberg’s goal in the final 1:07 gave the Dallas Stars a 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers. Kari Lehtonen eared the victory with 41 saves. Tyler Seguin picked up his 42 assist of the season on Jamie Benn’s 24th goal:

… Nikita Kucherov wins for ‘best mind games played’ with his shootout winner against Robin Lehner. Jack Eichel assisted on Ryan O’Reilly’s power play goal to give Jack a nine game point scoring streak … Patrice Bergeron assisted on two of three Boston Bruins goals in their 3-2 win over New Jersey. New Bruin Matt Stafford assisted on what would be Ryan Spooner’s game winner in the third period … Steve Ott drew into the Montreal Canadiens lineup and he did something good – winning a faceoff back to Shea Weber for the goal. Jordie Benn scored his third goal of the season, first with the Canadiens, to ice the game at 4-1 against the New York Rangers … In the Winnipeg Jets 6-1 thumping of the Colorado Avalanche, Patrik Laine scored his 32nd goal of the season planting him in second place in league goal scoring (for now).

Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers skated away with a goal and two assists each for Winnipeg. The Jets scored two goals in sixteen seconds against the Avs … Erik Karlsson scored his first goal on home ice in 2017 to give the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sam Gagner’s 15th goal of the season came on the power play and pulled the Jackets within one. They could not complete the comeback as Ottawa wins, 3-2.

Did You Know?

Dishonorable Mention: Ben Bishop started his first game for LA. It didn’t go so well. He allowed 4 goals on 21 shots. For whatever you put into the stat, Drew Doughty was a minus-3 … Matt Hendricks plays a mean game of peek-a-boo with Ryan Sproul.

… Philadelphia Flyers power play was 0-for-6 … The New Jersey Devils put up only 17 shots on Boston’s backup goaltender Anton Khudobin and he let in two … Dmitry Kulikov played 5:39 over seven shifts in the first period before leaving with injury … Henrik Lundqvist is a beautiful man. He gives up an ugly goal after his own teammate hits him in the face with a stick … Calvin Pickard got the start for the Colorado Avalanche. He was chased after allowing 5 goals on 20 shots. He definitely didn’t get any help from his offense as Blake Comeau makes an unfortunate decision on a breakaway … Brandon Dubinsky took liberties with Craig Anderson as he was behind the net. Mark Borowiecki disagreed with the tactic and threw down with Dubinsky. They each received seven minute penalties, with Borowiecki getting the instigator, and he received a misconduct penalty.