NHL Three Stars: Senators clinch; Lucic’s natural hatty; Isles stay alive

No. 1 Star: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

In a ‘must-win’ game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Lightning d-man played 28:32 (over five minutes more than the next defenseman) and assisted on three of the Lightning’s four goals; including Nikita Kucherov’s 39th tally of the season below. With the 4-1 win, Tampa stays alive in the playoff chase, and keep the Leafs from clinching.

No. 2 Star: Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators

The Sens needed to pick up a single point against the Boston Bruins to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Ottawa took a 1-1 tie to overtime and punched their ticket. Anderson made 38 saves and stopped all three shooters in the shootout for good measure.

No. 3 Star: Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders

The Isles continue to hold on to their playoff chances for dear life. Halak shutout the Carolina Hurricanes with a 29 save performance.

Honorable Mention: Brayden Point scored two goals for Tampa.  Nazem Kadri had the lone goal for the Leafs … Nick Bonino led the Pittsburgh Penguins with 3 points against the New Jersey Devils. The Pens and Devils combined for six goals in the third period as New Jersey attempted to keep pace with Pittsburgh. Eventually the Penguins won, 7-4, and clinched second place in the Metro. Here’s Sidney Crosby doing Sidney Crosby things for one of his two assists in the game:

… Big night for Bryan Little against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Winnipeg Jets forward picked up 4 points in the Jets 5-4 victory over the Jackets. Matthieu Perreault had 3 points. Goaltender Eric Comrie made his debut for the Jets making 35 saves … Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 38th goal of the season as the St. Louis Blues easily beat the Florida Panthers, 6-3 … Viktor Arvidsson led the Nashville Predators in scoring with 2 goals and 2 assists, giving him 31 goals on the year. The Preds got out to a 5-0 lead on the Dallas Stars by 1:06 of the second period. Dallas scored three straight before the Predators answered back and finished the game, 7-3 … The Edmonton Oilers are keeping pace with the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division after beating the San Jose Sharks, 4-2. San Jose had a 2-1 lead going into the third period. Then Milan Lucic scored a natural hat trick to give the Oilers the 4-2 win.

Brent Burns scored his 29th goal and Connor McDavid picked up his 30th. Oscar Klefbom recorded 4 assists … Tyson Jost scored his first NHL and his grandpa cried tears of joy. Jason Zucker scored 10 seconds into the first period. Charlie Coyle, Nate Prosser and Nino Niederreiter had 2 points each as the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3 … Henrik Sedin assisted on all 3 Vancouver Canucks goal in the 4-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes … Jon Gilles of the Calgary Flames made his professional debut against the Los Angeles Kings. Gilles made 28 saves and was spotted 4 goals by the Flames offense to defeat the Kings, 4-1 … John Gibson earned his sixth shutout of the season as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the almost completely star-less Chicago Blackhawks, 4-0.

Did You Know? Cam Talbot set an Oilers franchise record by earning his 41st win of the regular season.

Dishonorable Mention: A game after Jake Dotchin took a stick to the balls from Brad Marchand, Dotchin took out his aggression on Auston Matthews. The knee-on-knee collision had the greater Toronto area holding their breath, but he’d be fine.

… Torey Krug left the game in the first period after 2:32 TOI with a lower body injury. Adam McQuaid leveled Viktor Stalberg as the Sens’ forward was falling. Stalberg’s head contacted the boards violently. He went to the locker room immediately, but would return to finish the game.

… Not the best night for Corey Schneider in net. He allowed 7 goals on 28 shots … The Stars pulled netminder Kari Lehtonen after allowing 5 goals on 26 shots. Antti Niemi replaced him and let in 2 goals on 8 shots … Nick Ritchie was given a match penalty for coming in late on a scuffle between Corey Perry and Michal Rozsival. Ritchie dropped Rozsival with one punch.

 

Speaking of Corey Perry, he also laid a nasty slash on Ryan Hartman earlier in the game: