Monday's three stars: Nystrom's shorthanded speed tops Wild

No. 1 star: Eric Nystrom, Calgary Flames

With the game tied 1-1 in the third period, a Calgary shorthanded clearing attempt was knocked down near center ice by Brent Burns of the Minnesota Wild. Suddenly, Nystrom swooped in between two Minnesota players with a burst of speed, collected the puck and deked goalie Josh Harding onto his rump for the game-winner in Calgary's 2-1 victory. Nystrom had just over eight minutes of ice time in the game; he made it count.

No. 2 star: Maxim Lapierre, Montreal Canadiens

Lapierre scored the final three goals in the Habs' 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers, the first career hat trick for the typically defensive forward. Lapierre scored on a backhand as goalie Craig Anderson's stick was lodged near the far post; his blast from a Guillaume Latendresse pass later chased Anderson for Tomas Vokoun; Lapierre capped the trick with an empty-net goal.

No. 3 star: Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose Sharks

Nabokov stopped 28 shots to win his 20th game of the season, and was especially sharp in third period as Dallas attempted to rally. The Sharks won, 3-1, as the Stars' lone goal was scored off of San Jose defenseman Alexei Semenov's glove.


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Honorable Mention: Milan Michalek scored the eventual game-winner for San Jose from his knees, beating Marty Turco. ... The Columbus Blue Jackets played a strong defensive game in front of goalie Steve Mason, giving the rookie his fourth shutout, 2-0, over the Los Angeles Kings. Rick Nash had an assist and outworked a Kings player to score the empty-netter to clinch it. ... The New York Islanders and New York Rangers put on a bare-knuckled divisional show for the Versus audience, with the Rangers coming away with a 5-4 win. Nigel Dawes had the game-winner; Scott Gomez had a goal and a brilliant assist on Markus Naslund's 14th of the season; Mike Comrie had a Gordie Howe hat trick for the Islanders, fighting with Dawes. But it was this tilt between Colton Orr and Mitch Fritz that brought the house down in the first period:

Dishonorable Mention: Two stinkers in a row for the Nashville Predators, following a 5-2 loss to Edmonton with a 5-1 defeat at the Colorado Avalanche. Cody McLeod scored the first two goals for the Avs, and Peter Budaj made it stand up with 25 saves. ... The Wild have scored 11 goals in their three wins since Dec. 3, and 11 in their nine losses. ... The Canadian snowbirds basically turned Florida's home ice into Bell Centre south, dominating the crowd in Montreal's win.

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