Sunday's Three Stars: Hiller stuns Sharks; Zajac saves Devils

No. 1 star: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks

Brilliant when the Ducks needed him, Hiller made 42 saves in back-stopping Anaheim to a 3-2 victory and a 2-0 series lead over the San Jose Sharks. Hiller and the defense held San Jose to 0-for-6 on the power play, and the Sharks are now 0-for-12 for the series. Andrew Ebbett, Drew Miller and Bobby Ryan had the goals for the Ducks; all three players were Iowa Chops at the start of the season. Strange ... the Sharks usually wait until the semifinals before their humbling, disastrous postseason implosion.

No. 2 star: Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils

After losing in OT to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2, the Devils seized home ice again on Zajac's goal at 4:58 of overtime to earn a 3-2 win on the road. The center's wrist shot deflected off of goalie Cam Ward (32 saves); the rebound came right to Zajac, who buried his second chance for the winner. He earlier added an assist on Zach Parise's first-period goal; their linemate, captain Jamie Langenbrunner, is out at least until Game 5.


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No. 3 star: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

After the Pittsburgh Penguins tied Game 3 of their series against the Flyers, it was rookie Giroux who propelled Philly to a critical 6-3 victory. He converted a nifty pass from Danny Briere for his first career playoff goal at 4:32 of the second; just over four minutes later, he was the one making the superb pass, this time to Simon Gagne for a short-handed goal. The Flyers survive a feisty game, and two more goals from Evgeni Malkin (four for the playoffs). 

Major Penalty: The St. Louis Blues will be playing for pride in Game 4 of their 0-3 series against the Vancouver Canucks for one primary reason: a power play that's gone 1-for-16 and failed at critical junctures throughout the series. Again in their 3-2 Game 3 loss to a Mats Sundin-less Canucks club, the Blues squandered another 5-on-3 power play. Coach Andy Murray said his players are "tight and nervous on the power play." They'll have a long off-season to relieve that stress.

Minor Penalty: The NHL's Colin Campbell said that it didn't matter if Boston's Milan Lucic hit Maxim Lapierre with a glove or a stick because it was "a reckless and forceful blow to the head of his opponent" and deserved a one-game suspension. So what, exactly, was Mike Cammalleri's shot on Martin Havlat in the Calgary/Chicago series, that went unpunished by the league?

Conn Smythe Watch: (The Top 10) 1. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers; 2. Jonas Hiller, Ducks; 3. Roberto Luongo, Canucks; 4. Evgeni Malkin, Penguins; 5. Chris Osgood, Detroit Red Wings; 6. Daniel Sedin, Canucks; 7. Zach Parise, Devils; 8. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins; 9. Sidney Crosby, Penguins; 10. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks.

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