Sunday's Three Stars: Kunitz powers Ducks, with a little help

No. 1 star: Chris Kunitz, Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim winger gets the top slot, with a little help. His wraparound at 1 minute, 36 seconds of the third period was trapped by New Jersey Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen, and the referee signaled "goal" on the ice. The replay proved inconclusive, and Kunitz gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead. His next bit of help came when the Devils defense forgot about him on an odd-man rush, allowing Kunitz to take a Ryan Getzlaf pass and blast it past Clemmensen for an important insurance goal. The Kunitz-Geltzlaf-Corey Perry line was reunited tonight and made the difference for Anaheim in its 4-3 victory.

No. 2 star: Sam Gagner, Edmonton Oilers

The sophomore jinx has haunted the talented Oilers forward for most of the season, but his one-timer on a feed from Erik Cole beat Manny Legace in the third period and ended up winning the game for Edmonton, 2-1 over the visiting St. Louis Blues. It was only his fourth goal of the season and first since Dec. 28.

No. 3 star: Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago Blackhawks

This could easily have gone to Dan Ellis of the Nashville Predators, who dazzled with a 30-save effort. But Khabibulin was sharp in making 26 saves, including a couple right before Dave Bolland's eventual game-winner in the second period as Chicago defeated the visiting Preds, 3-1.


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Honorable Mention: Despite the four goals, Clemmensen played well in a 30-save performance, but Jean-Sebastien Giguere (18 saves) was especially sharp in the third period to preserve the win for the Ducks. ... Ryan Potulny had two assists in his first game for the Oilers, including a great outlet pass to send Gilbert Brule on a breakaway goal. ... Zach Parise scored his team-leading 24th goal for the Devils. ... Finally, congratulations to Ilya Kovalchuk for being named captain of the Atlanta Thrashers, about three months too late. Hopefully this sense of permanence keeps Don Waddell from making another awful trade -- at least for the moment.

Dishonorable Mention: Both Paul Martin and Patrik Elias earned minus-threes for New Jersey. ... Steve MacIntyre of the Oilers played 1:35, had a minus-one and a two-minute tripping penalty. Hell of an effort.

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