Sunday's three stars: Kovalchuk rescues the Thrashers

No. 1 star: Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers

The player who needs to be Atlanta's best player for the Thrashers to be a more competitive team was their best player Sunday. Kovalchuk scored two goals and added an assist as the hosts beat the Southeast Division-rival Florida Panthers 5-3 to snap a six-game losing streak. Kovalchuk first struck during even-strength at 5:05 of the second period to give the Thrashers a 2-0 lead, added a power-play strike for his fifth of the season at 10:39 and provided the primary assist on another Atlanta goal at 17:00 of the middle period to increase the margin to 4-1. Kovalchuk was a plus-2 with four shots and had two takeaways during 19:54 of ice time.

No. 2 star: Ales Hemsky, Edmonton Oilers

The speedy forward put his flashy skating skills and deft puck-handling on display in Philadelphia where the Flyers' defense put up little residence. Regardless of the fact the hosts did everything but roll out the red carpet, Hemsky still scored two of the prettier goals you'll see, both at even-strength and representing the first two of his season. The Oilers, who picked up wins on consecutive days on the road, got three points total from Hemsky, including an assist to go with a hit, a takeaway and 16:13 of ice time.

No. 3 star: Devin Setoguchi, San Jose Sharks

The second-year forward continues to be a real nice fit alongside the team's top-line stars Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. Setoguchi scored two goals to give him the team lead with seven. Setoguchi's even-strength goals came at 9:02 of the first period and 12:43 of the second to give the visitors two-goal leads each time. He had a team-high seven shots along with a takeaway and a blocked shot during 13:57 of ice time.

Honorable mention: Ryan Getzlaf scored a goal, had an assist and put six shots on Miikka Kiprusoff as the Ducks beat the Flames. … Carolina's Dwight Helminen had a goal and an assist along with five hits and went 7-1 on faceoffs in a win over Toronto. … Speaking of the Hurricanes, coach Peter Laviolette moved to within one win of John Tortorella's record of 239 for American-born coaches in the NHL. … Atlanta broke out to score five goals Sunday after compiling only 18 over its previous 10 games. … The Detroit power-play finished a four-game road trip by converting eight of 21 attempts (38.1 percent).

Dishonorable mention: His defense did a lot of standing around, but Maple Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph allowed three goals during a particularly rough 3:20 span of the second period in Carolina. … Calgary has won just once in its last 18 tries in Anaheim. … Edmonton's Fernando Pisani had no fun in the faceoff circle, losing 13 of 15 draws. … Think David Jones might be a healthy scratch Monday night when the Avs play in Chicago after being a minus-3 during just 10:11 on Sunday? … Vancouver wasn't very special on special teams, going 0-for-7 on the power play and watching its perfect home penalty kill go down the drain as Detroit went 3-for-5 against it.

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