No. 1 star: Marc Savard, Boston Bruins
Savard was a difference-maker in the Bruins' 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. His power-play goal in the second was a wicked roof shot past Marc-Andre Fleury on the short side. His nifty assist in front of the crease on Phil Kessel's 23rd goal of the season gave Boston the 3-2 lead. He then set up the insurance goal, Martin St. Pierre's first of the season that came shorthanded, to complete an impressive three-point night. He now has 10 goals and 31 assists in 30 games vs. the Penguins.
ConkBlock was outstanding in Detroit's 4-0 Winter Classic prelude against the Chicago Blackhawks, including a remarkable blocker save on Kris Versteeg in the second period as the rookie shot at an open net. Conklin made 36 saves; Johan Franzen's two goals, along with tallies by Pavel Datsyuk (his 15th) and Tomas Kopecky provided the offense.
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The Devils' offensive leader opened the scoring at 1:02 of the first period and gave Jersey the lead in the third after outworking the St. Louis Blues' defense in front of Manny Legace. The Devils still needed Jay Pandolfo's insurance goal and good goaltending from Scott Clemmensen (28 saves) to hang on for the 4-3 win, but Parise's 20th and 21st goals of the season were critical.
Honorable Mention: Jose Theodore (31 saves) and the Washington Capitals overcame some bad history in the HSBC Arena to defeat the Buffalo Sabres, 4-2. ... Stick-tap to Chris Bourque of the Caps and Ottawa's Brian Lee for their first NHL goals. ... Maxim Lapierre scored the winning goal in the shootout for the Montreal Canadiens and thousands of their snowbird fans, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1. ... Kudos to Curtis Joseph for winning his 450th NHL game and earning his first win since April 5, as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated Johan Hedberg (43 saves) and the Atlanta Thrashers, 4-3 in overtime. Pavel Kubina had the game-winner. ... Finally, you have to respect the effort from Tim Wallace of the Penguins in hanging in there during this scrap with the formidable Milan Lucic of the Bruins:
Dishonorable Mention: The game between the Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers was delayed for 25 minutes because the lights in Rexall Place wouldn't come back on after the national anthem due to a malfunctioning circuit board. The Oilers should have just stayed in the locker room, rather than proving to be the cure for Ottawa's humbling 12-game road losing streak. The Senators won, 3-2; the Oilers were without Ales Hemsky, injured over the weekend by Nashville's Jordan Tootoo, and lost forward Marc Pouliot with a concussion after a hit from Ottawa's Nick Foligno. ... Speaking of concussions, the Philadelphia Flyers lost Simon Gagne early in their game at the Vancouver Canucks when he was hit near the boards by Kevin Bieksa. The team is calling it an "upper body injury"; which is, we believe, where the brain is in fact located ... The Canucks, meanwhile, still couldn't solve the Flyers on their home ice, as Philadelphia remained unbeaten in Vancouver since 1989 with a 3-2 win. Jeff Carter scored his 27th goal and Marty Biron (29 saves) was outstanding for Philly. The Canucks saw starting goalie Curtis Sanford leave the game in the second period with a groin injury. He was later placed on IR. Jason LaBarbera was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings for a seventh round draft pick last night; should have been you, Cloutier.