Wednesday's three stars: Five Capitals goals, five Semin points

No. 1 star: Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals

It had been a while since the Capitals flashed the kind of star power they had in last night's 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Alexander Ovechkin, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom all scored goals; but it was Semin who powered the Caps to a big division win with a five-point effort. His three helpers were balanced by a brilliant quick slap shot past Michael Leighton on a puck off the end boards, and a snap shot off an Ovechkin pass that left Semin literally jumping for joy. A masterful offensive effort for the breakout star of 2008-09.

No. 2 star: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins

The Boston keeper made 31 saves, including 18 in the first period after an emotional number retirement ceremony, leading the Bruins to a 2-1 shootout win at the Chicago Blackhawks. He made a number of big stops in the game, none larger than a penalty shot save on Patrick Sharp in overtime. As good as Thomas was, a stick-tap must go to Nikolai Khabibulin for remarkable 38-save performance that could double as a personal highlight reel.

No. 3 star: Marek Svatos, Colorado Avalanche

Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo set a new franchise record with a 242-minute, 36-second shutout streak last night; a streak that ended on Paul Stastny's power-play goal in third. Svatos assisted on that tally, and then beat Luongo for the game-clinching shootout goal for the 2-1 Colorado victory on the road.

Honorable Mention: Chris Mason stopped 24 of 25 shots in relief for the St. Louis Blues, but Ryan Miller's 30 saves and Henrik Tallinder's first goal of the season helped the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-3 win, their first in 13 years at home against the Blues. ... Andrew Peters got a nice ovation after two fights for the Sabres. ... Shane Doan had two goals and an assist as the Phoenix Coyotes finally got to Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason, winning 5-2. ... Nikolai Zherdev's two goals and timely goaltending by Henrik Lundqvist powered the Rangers to a 5-2 win in New Jersey. ... Craig Anderson stopped 24 shots and Gregory Campbell scored twice in Florida's 4-0 shutout of the slumping Lightning. ... Jose Theodore had 13 saves in relief after Brent Johnson left with a hip injury for the Capitals.

Dishonorable Mention: Manny Legace was simply awful against Buffalo, getting the hook after three goals on seven shots. ... The Devils defense badly let down goalie Kevin Weekes, who was pulled after giving up four Rangers goals in the second period. ... Finally, please remember how hard Islanders fan Gary Bettman is fighting to keep that struggling franchise propped up on Long Island when other markets are on the brink of relocation.

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