Wow, the snipers were at it again last night, and though there was a shutout and a few 2-1 games, there were also games that featured a boatload of goals (Toronto vs Boston anyone?). Phil Kessel picked up 2 goals and an assist to continue his point streak, now at 16 games. Evgeni Malkin had another 4 points to widen his lead atop the scoring race, and Brad Richards had a goal, three assists and a shootout goal to help Dallas prevail in a controversial game over Columbus. Yet none of these great performances got the athletes involved a spot on our NHL 3 stars list. Yes, competition was fierce last night. So who did make the cut? Read on to find out.
3rd Star - Loui Eriksson - A controversial game in Dallas last night to be sure. The Columbus Blue Jackets felt they won the game when Manny Malhotra scored in overtime to give the Jackets what appeared to be a 6-5 win. The refs called it a goal on the ice, but the so-called experts in Toronto got involved and overturned the call. The Stars went on to win the game in a shootout. All the controversy doesn't detract from the performance of Loui Eriksson though. The winger continued his surprising play, netting a hat trick to help his team overcome more shaky goaltending from Marty Turco and get the controversial victory.
2nd Star - Pavel Datsyuk - It is scary just how good the Detroit Red Wings are. Here they sit with a 21-6-4 record, despite questionable defensive play, shaky goaltending, and the fact that stars Datsyuk and Zetterberg sit 23rd and 31st in league scoring respectively. Will anybody be able to stop them once the winged wheel gets oiled up and begins working at full efficiency? If last night's game against the powerful San Jose Sharks was any indication the answer is a resounding no. Pavel Datsyuk was at his slick stickhandling best last night, scoring 2 goals and adding 2 assists as the Wings pounded the Sharks in a statement game that may be a preview to this spring's Western Conference final.
1st Star - David Krejci - Everything is going right for the Boston Bruins these days. Goaltender Tim Thomas is a Vezina candidate, Phil Kessel has finally come into his own, Milan Lucic is swiftly turning into the 2nd coming off Cam Neely, and the always underrated Marc Savard now sits 4th in NHL scoring. That should be enough for any team, shouldn't it? Well, the Bruins have another ace up their sleeve. Sophomore David Krejci has been on fire of late with 8 points in his last 3 games, and he is now averaging better than a point a game with 32 points in 31 games so far this season. Krejci continued his spectacular play last night, torching the Toronto Maple Leafs for 3 goals, including a highlight reel special that should get plenty of play on SportsCenter. Whether Krejci can keep up this pace remains to be seen, but if he can then the Bruins' depth of scoring forwards, combined with their stingy defense will make it almost impossible for anyone in the Eastern Conference to stop them.
Here is the video footage of the disallowed goal in the Columbus Dallas game. Do you think the goal should have counted? Cast your vote below: