NHL Three Stars: Staals get into gear, Halak, Varlamov, post shutouts

No. 1 Star: Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes

It was all Staal in Carolina, as the Hurricanes got their first win, a 6-3 trouncing of the Buffalo Sabres. Eric Staal scored the Hurricanes' final 3 goals in the win, and brother Jordan picked up assists on the Hurricanes' first 2 goals. Jeff Skinner added two goals as well, one of which came just 9 seconds before Eric Staal's first of the night.

No. 2 Star: Matt Moulson, New York Islanders

Moulson scored the Islanders' first goal as well as their sixth, and led the way with 6 shots on goal in a 7-4 comeback win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto led this game 3-1 after the first, but 5 unanswered goals later -- the last of which was Matt Moulson's unassisted second -- the game was all but over. Michael Grabner and Brad Boyes had 3-point nights.

No. 3 Star: Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche

Varlamov stopped all 33 shots he faced, registering what we in the hockey world call a "shutout". Matt Duchene led the way offensively with 2 goals and an assist.

Honourable Mention: Wayne Simmonds had a goal and an assist as the Flyers' finally broke the winless drought with a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers... Andrei Markov notched a goal and an assist in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-1 drubbing of the Washington Capitals... Craig Anderson made 25 saves in the Ottawa Senators' 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers... The Dallas Stars wasted a 38-save performance from Kari Lehtonen and couldn't hold a 2-0 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks, falling 3-2 in overtime. Marian Hossa scored the manner on this dusty little no-looker from Patrick Kane...

Another ho-hum shutout for Halak, who only had to stop 13 shots in the Blues' 3-0victory over the Predators. Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 4th goal of the season in the win, and Patrick Berglund added a goal and an assist. The goal came on a penalty shot:

... Everything about the final five minutes or so of the Edmonton Oilers' game was perfect. Nail Yakupov scored the game-tying goal, and Sam Gagner scored the winner in a 2-1 overtime comeback over the Los Angeles Kings. Jonathan Quick made 37 saves and was 4.7 seconds from a shutout in this one... Patrick Marleau scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner with 90 seconds to go as the San Jose Sharks won their home opener, edging the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-3. Marleau had the hat trick lined up with the Coyotes' net empty, but he passed the puck to Joe Pavelski instead. Marleau, you fool!

Did You Know? The Rangers' win over Boston on Wednesday drew 956,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network. It was the most-watched NHL regular-season game on any cable station in 11 years.

Dishonourable Mention: The Capitals probably could have been better... The Leafs, too. Their goaltending was below average, but they were also a mess defensively. Dion Phaneuf and Jake Gardiner had rough nights, and Mikhail Grabovski went 5-for-15 in the faceoff circle... The Stars blew their lead fair and square, but the penalty they were killing on the game-winner was a crap call.

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