No. 1 star: Ryane Clowe, San Jose Sharks
The versatile forward, who missed most of last season due to surgery following an early-season injury, put all of his skills on display Tuesday night as San Jose ran another team out of the Shark Tank. Clowe collected a Gordie Howe hat trick by scoring a goal, providing an assist and using the head of Minnesota defenseman Erik Reitz as a punching bag during a third-period fight.
Clowe can thank the official scorer for the honor because without a change he would have finished with two goals and a fight. San Jose's game-tying goal late in the second period was originally credited to Clowe, but it was determined his shot went into the net off teammate Mike Grier's skate.
Clowe tied Devin Setoguchi for the team lead with his seventh goal of the season at 5:25 of the final period to give the hosts a 3-1 lead during a game in which they tied a franchise record with 49 shots. Clowe finished with three shots, three hits and a takeaway during 14:16 of ice time as the Sharks ran their record at home to 7-0.
No. 2 star: Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks captain stopped all 24 shots for his third shutout of the season and the 41st of his stellar career. Luongo spearheaded Vancouver's 6-for-6 night on the penalty kill as the goalie registered his second shutout in four games with the 4-0 victory over the visiting Nashville Predators.
No. 3 star: Mike Fisher, Ottawa Senators
The veteran forward picked a good time to score his first goal of the season – an even-strength tally with 40 seconds remaining in overtime – to enable the Senators to beat the visiting Washington Capitals. Fisher also had the primary assist on Ottawa's lone goal in regulation. In addition to his two points, Fisher was a plus-2 with a team- and game-high six shots on goal. He blocked two shots, was credited with one hit and won 10 of 18 faceoffs during 20:37 of ice time.
Honorable mention: Islanders' goalie Joey MacDonald stopped 35 of 36 shots for a win on the road. … Two more short-handed goals for the Islanders gives them a league-leading six. They had 10 last season, sixth most in the league. … Speaking of the Isles and short-handed goals, the first of which was scored by Nate Thompson, representing the 24-year-old's first NHL point in his 16th career game. … Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette tied John Tortorella for the most wins by a U.S.-born coach with his 239th Tuesday, and it came against another successful American coach, Toronto's Ron Wilson. … Kyle Wellwood, exposed to waivers last month, scored two goals and has six for the Canucks now. … Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski had two goals and an assist. … An overtime winner for Chris Pronger and 35 saves for goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere as the Ducks beat the rival Kings 1-0.
Dishonorable mention: The Rangers would have been better off declining every Islanders penalty on Tuesday night. The Blueshirts were 0-for-4 on the power play, but what was worse was they allowed the visitors to score twice short-handed. … Todd Bertuzzi was a minus-3 during Calgary's loss at home to Phoenix. … The Predators kicked off a six-game, 6,400-mile trip with a big, fat goose egg in Vancouver.