Thursday’s Three Stars: Good night for Ilyas; Canadiens’ Pacioretty hits 30-goal mark

No. 1 Star: Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils

Kovalchuk scored a goal in every period as the New Jersey Devils ran over the New York Islanders in a 5-1 victory. The hat trick gave Kovalchuk 4 goals in his last 2 games after going 9 games without, but just prior to that drought, he had registered a hat trick, so he actually has 7 goals in his last 11 games. How's that for a misleading stat?

No. 2 Star: Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers

Bryzgalov made a HuMANgous big 28 saves in the Flyers' 5-0 rout over the Florida Panthers, causing the same fans that were booing him a month ago to start chanting "Bryz! Bryz! Bryz!" (Only one syllable for now. Baby steps.) It was Philadelphia's 5th straight win in Bryzgalov's 10th straight start. Claude Giroux and Danny Briere had two assists apiece.

No. 3 Star: Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens

Another great night for Pacioretty, who has 8 points in 4 games in the month of March. 3 of those points came in a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers, with Pacioretty scoring twice and picking up an assist. The second goal, an empty-netter to ice the game, was the Habs' winger 's 30th of the season, the first time he's reached the benchmark. P.K. Subban also added a goal and two assists.

Honourable mention: Johnny Boychuk scored the game-winner as the Boston Bruins' won consecutive games for the first time in nearly two months with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. He also levelled Thomas Vanek with this big hit:

Mark Letetstu scored twice, but the game-winner in the Columbus Blue Jackets' 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings was scored, poetically, by Jack Johnson. Jeff Carter, meanwhile, was so ineffective it was like he never left ... Ben Bishop made 25 saves in his home debut, helping the Ottawa Senators knock off the New York Rangers 4-1 ... David Backes scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season in the St. Louis Blues' 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks ... Sergei Kostityn scored the game-winner and Pekka Rinne set a franchise-record with his 37th win of the season as the Nashville Predators doubled up on the Colorado Avalanche, 4-2 ... After getting yelled at in the second intermission versus the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Washington Capitals regrouped in the final twenty, with Marcus Johansen tying the game late and Alex Ovechkin scoring the 4-3 overtime winner:

Kari Lehtonen made 45 saves to keep the Dallas Stars in their 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks, making way for Tomas Vincour to tie the game with under two minutes to go and then score the shootout winner. Torrey Mitchell scored a really pretty goal in the losing effort, with under a second to go in the middle frame:

Dany Heatley scored the shootout winner as the Minnesota Wild held on to knock off the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout ... Ryan Kesler scored shorthanded and Sammy Pahlsson scored the game-winner in the Vancouver Canucks' 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets...

Did you know? The Predators played to a sellout crowd. It was their 19th sellout this year, one away from the franchise record, which they will tie Saturday versus Detroit in a game that's already sold out. (AP)

Dishonourable mention: Mike Green's hit on Brett Connolly was cringe-inducing and I didn't like it. I know Connolly said it was a hockey play and took the blame, but, in his defence, he had just been hit in the head... Jets' coach Claude Noel with the quote of the night, courtesy Ted Wyman: "We didn't deserve to friggin win the game."

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