No. 1 star: Pavol Demitra, Vancouver Canucks
The veteran winger has returned from injury with a vengeance. Well, maybe that's not really the right word. Let's just say he's come back with his scoring knack well intact. Demitra scored two more goals Sunday to help rally his Vancouver Canucks from an early two-goal deficit en route to a 5-3 victory over the traveling Florida Panthers. Demitra scored unassisted 5:25 into the second period to tie the game at 2-2. He added a power-play goal at 11:17 – No. 10 personally – for a 3-2 lead the hosts would never relinquish. Demitra, with three shots and a 5-5 showing in the faceoff circle during 17:51 of ice time, has eight goals and 15 points in the 15 games since missing 10 due to a broken rib cartilage.
No. 2 star: Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
The minute-munching defenseman did his usual solid job on the blue line but also played a pivotal role at the other end of the ice, assisting on two of Chicago's three goals during a win over the Blue Jackets. Keith and Martin Havlat ping-ponged the puck down the ice midway through the final period before the defenseman set up the trailing forward with a perfect feed for the go-ahead goal on a play you were sure was going to result in one-too-many-passes until the puck went into the back of the net. Keith had the only assist on the game-clinching empty netter late in addition to his team-high 26:26 that included four blocked shots.
No. 3 star: Chris Pronger, Anaheim Ducks
Like Chicago's Keith, Pronger was effective at both ends of the ice, leading his team in ice time and providing a pair of assists. Pronger had the second assist on the winning goal, put two shots on net, was a plus-3 and skated 25:26 during Anaheim's 4-2 win over Minnesota.
Honorable mention: The Blackhawks are 10-1-4 at home. … Speaking of Chicago, Patrick Sharp has eight goals in his last dozen games. … And one more Hawk – Cristobal Huet with 31 stops in the win. … Kyle Wellwood should have his name changed to Wellshot – he has 12 goals on just 34 shots for an astounding 35.3 percentage. … The Ducks got a go-ahead goal from Brendan Morrison and two assists from Chris Kunitz.
Dishonorable mention: Minnesota has lost five straight – all in regulation – for the first time in team history. … Derek Boogaard of the Wild missed an open net by directing a shot right into a sprawling Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who committed the horrific giveaway three minutes into Sunday's game. It helped to extend Boogaard's 140-game goal-less string. … Florida doesn't like to visit Vancouver much, especially considering the Panthers have just one win in 11 games all-time there.