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NHL Three Stars: Ward, Faksa give teams wins with strong thirds

No. 1 Star: Joel Ward, San Jose Sharks

The veteran forward scored the go-ahead goal for the Sharks and also had an assist in their 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their first-round series. Ward faked out Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, then cut to his backhand and tucked the puck into the net for the go-ahead goal midway through the third period that made the game 2-1 in favor of San Jose. Ward’s line also drew the power play that led to the game-winner at the 15:40 mark of the third. In the regular season he’s averaged 0.44 points per-game. In the playoffs he’s averaged 0.72 points per-game. 

No. 2 Star: Radek Faksa, Dallas Stars

The rookie picked up his second game-winning goal of these playoffs with a score late in the third period to beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in Game 1 of the second-round. The youngster also added an assist. Faksa's line scored Dallas' two goals in the game. The Stars have won nine of their last 10 home games dating back to March 17.  

No. 3 Star: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars

The netminder was steady and solid in Game 1, stopping 31 of 32 St. Louis shots on goal in the victory. Lehtonen showed no ill effects from his previous game when he allowed four goals as the Stars almost blew their Game 6 clincher against the Minnesota Wild in the first-round. In five games this postseason, Lehtonen’s had a 2.01 goal-against average and .925 save percentage. Antti Niemi has played the Stars’ other two games.

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Honorable Mention: Stars forward Antoine Roussel scored a goal. Teammate Ales Hemsky notched an assist as did defenseman John Klingberg … Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored a goal and played 22:46 … St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott stopped 40 of 42 shots on goal in the loss … Sharks forward Logan Couture scored two goals including the game-winner … San Jose defenseman Brent Burns notched two assists. He is the first Sharks defensemen to post three straight multi-point efforts in the postseason … Sharks goaltender Martin Jones stopped 29 of 31 shots on goal. 

Did You Know? The Dallas Stars/Minnesota North Stars franchise is 24-9 against the St. Louis Blues at home in the playoffs.  

Dishonorable Mention: St. Louis sniper Vladimir Tarasenko played 21:04 but did not pick up a point. In his last four playoff games he has one point and is a minus-1 … Nashville center Mike Fisher was a minus-3 … Preds forward Mike Ribeiro was held without a point and has just one point in eight games this postseason. 



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