First NHL start in 14 months, historic rival, pitched battle with San Jose for league-high points honors – go get 'em kid, no pressure. Rask, a 2005 first-round pick (Toronto) regarded as Boston's goalie of the future, gave Tim Thomas a day off with backup Manny Fernandez still battling back problems. More than that, he kept the Rangers at bay for 60 minutes to earn his first NHL shutout in his fifth career start. As is often the case in these 1-0 affairs, the rookie wasn't tested much through two periods, but he withstood the pressure of 15 New York shots over the final 20 minutes. Well played, young man. Celebrate your first star and enjoy the front-row seat for Round 2 of Tim Thomas v. approaching Montreal forwards on Sunday.
Toews scored 48 seconds into the game to snap Evgeni Nabokov's team record shutout streak and later beat the San Jose netminder with a roof shot from in close as Chicago handed the Sharks just their second regulation home loss of the season. In five career games against San Jose, Toews has six goals. Chicago's captain won six of nine faceoffs and had three takeaways as the Blackhawks made a statement by beating one of the top two teams in the West. Chicago had been 0-6 against the Wings and Sharks entering play, and frankly they never beat San Jose.
Ovechkin appeared to be stymied for much of the day. No shots in the second period and nothing on net in the first half of the final 20 minutes as the Red Wings contained Washington's top line in what at the time was a 2-2 tie. Then Ovie struck twice in just over a minute, the winner coming after Ovechkin set himself up with a pass between his legs. Cue the "MVP!" chant, load the clip on YouTube and chalk one up for the Capitals, who beat Detroit 4-2 for just their second win in 13 home games against the Red Wings.
Honorable mention: Puck Daddy has already weighed in with in-depth coverage of Ville Leino's first NHL goal. … Boston's Marc Savard has goals in three straight and points in seven in a row. … Montreal scored twice in the final 1:53 (Higgins, Koivu) to beat L.A. 4-3 and snap a four-game losing streak. … We're way past don't-look-now territory with the Stars, but it's still a surprise to see them just two points out of the fifth spot out West. James Neal (2 goals, assist) keyed Saturday's 7-3 win in Columbus. … Career win No. 101 was also the ninth shutout of Cam Ward's career in Carolina's 2-0 win over Atlanta. … Chris Mason had an assist and 36 saves for career shutout No. 15 in a 4-0 Blues victory over the Flyers. … Ryan Miller (28 saves) blanked Phoenix 2-0 for his career-high fourth shutout of the season. … Marc-Andre Bergeron's second goal of the game came on an overtime power play in a 4-3 win over the reeling Canucks. … Rookie Luke Schenn made an impact in Toronto's 5-4 win over Pittsburgh.
Dishonorable mention: When you're on the outside looking in, you need to make the most of an eight-game homestand. The Avs are now 1-5 on their season-long stand after Saturday's 4-3 loss to Anaheim. … Atlanta was outshot 21-4 in the first period. … Denis Gauthier probably earned himself another suspension for a second period elbow to the head of Josh Gorges. He picked up a charging major and a game misconduct.