No. 1 star: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
The 22-year-old star has had a stupendous start to his third NHL season, but Saturday night was probably Evgeni Malkin's best offensive showing to date. Malkin matched a season-high four-point game, but unlike his four-assist effort against Toronto on Oct. 18, the powerful yet skilled Russian forward scored a goal in addition to his three helpers as the Pittsburgh Penguins turned away the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. The four points gives Malkin 30 in 17 games this season, a pace that would have him winning the Art Ross Trophy with `144 points. Malkin is riding a 13-game scoring streak. In fact, he's only failed to get on the score sheet once this season. Malkin's seventh goal of the season came on the power play at 11:07 of the second period to tie the game 1-1. Malkin had his three assists during Pittsburgh's four-goal third period when the Pens turned a 2-1 deficit into a three-goal victory. Malkin was a plus-2 with four shots, a block, a hit and won five of six faceoffs during 23:28 of ice time.
No. 2 star: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Held without a goal in 10 of his first 11 games, Alexander Ovechkin is clearly making us for lost time. Ovechkin scored two to extend a current goal-scoring streak to four straight games, and he now has five goals and 10 points in that span. Timing is everything, and Ovechkin picked the best time to score No. 7 – at 19:59 of the third period – to send the game against New Jersey into overtime. Ovechkin had a mind-numbing 12 shots on goal and two others that missed the net. A plus-3 with three hits and a blocked shot, Ovechkin skated 24:39.
No. 3 star: Martin Biron, Philadelphia Flyers
The veteran goaltender did his part to ruin an otherwise festive night in Montreal. Martin Biron stopped 24 of 25 shots and spearheaded a 4-for-4 Flyers' night on the penalty kill to send the visitors to a 2-1 victory over the same team they dashed from the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
Honorable mention: Pavol Demitra returned after missing 10 games due to injury to assist three Canuck goals during a win over the Maple Leafs. … Joey MacDonald backstopped the Isles' second straight win over the Senators by stopping 38 of 40 shots. … Nicklas Backstrom enjoyed a five-point night with a goal and four assists in Washington's shootout loss at New Jersey. … Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal and New Jersey's Patrik Elias had two goals each. … Colorado's Peter Budaj was brilliant during a shootout victory at Edmonton. … Linesman Pierre Champoux doesn't miss a shift after falling to the ice and cutting the bridge of his nose midway through the Rangers-Bruins game. … J.P. Dumont scores the game-winner in Los Angeles as Nashville caps a six-game trip that started 0-3 with a third straight victory. … Pittsburgh wore their baby blues for the first time this season. We approve.
Dishonorable mention: Maple Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala wasn't very good in Vancouver, and that's why his night was a short one. He was pulled after allowing four goals on nine shots. … Rollie the Goalie was Rollie the Drama Queen in the final minute of regulation, letting Colorado's goal-screening tactics get the better of him. Dwayne Roloson allowed the game-tying goal at 19:49 of the third and promptly lost in the shootout. … While the Phoenix broadcasters gushed at Marty Turco's last-second save during a 3-2 victory, they didn't go hard enough on Olli Jokinen, who put a weakside tap-in right into the Dallas netminder's pads instead of scoring into the half-empty net. … Why exactly would the New York Islanders have Darryl Strawberry drop the ceremonial first puck, especially when the ex-baseball bad boy had never attended even one hockey game in person beforehand?