This edition of three stars will consolidate a would-be top six into three. Go ahead and play some thematic Judas Priest.
While the Red Wings fell 5-4 in a shootout to the Blackhawks, Mantha was the most impressive part of a great effort by Detroit’s top scorers. Mantha generated a whopping four assists, also firing a robust seven shots on goal. The massive winger’s really been assertive lately, as he’s fired 20 SOG in his past three games. Even Alex Ovechkin thinks Mantha’s being a handful for goalies, right?
(As a bonus, three of Mantha’s four assists were primary ones.)
Dylan Larkin probably ranks as the real second star, but let’s just mention him in the Mantha entry. Larkin scored two goals and one assist, and actually topped Mantha with nine SOG. Lakin now has 58 points in 60 games, leaving him just five away from last season’s career-high of 63.
Andreas Athanasiou rounded out that dominant output from that top Red Wings line with two goals, including the one that sent that game to OT.
You have to grasp straws to make much of a difference between the most productive Avs of the night, as both Soderberg and Tyson Jost enjoyed one-goal, two-assist Wednesday evenings as Colorado crushed Winnipeg 7-1.
Soderberg’s numbers are slightly better, though. Soderberg’s plus/minus (+4) was one up from Jost’s +3, and Soderberg fired five SOG to Jost’s 3.
If the likes of Soderberg and Jost can take the heat off of top scorers Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog, that the Avalanche become pretty scary. (That combo was pretty deadly in their own right on Wednesday, though.)
It’s tempting to name Patrick Kane as the third star of the night, at least while “Breaking the Law” here with actually-a-more-than-top-three.
Let’s consider this the last double-starring, then, because Gustafsson generated more points (three, all assists), while Kane scored two nice goals, including a swaggery OT-winner.
We’ll get deeper into Kane’s honestly kind of mindblowing achievements later on, so this seems like a nice opportunity to note that the Blackhawks have unearthed another gem in Gustafsson. The 26-year-old somehow has 41 points in just 58 games this season. While his 12 goals come from some luck (11.4 shooting percentage, which is very high for a defenseman), you can also clearly see that he’s a slick, creative player.
Gustafsson’s assist on Kane’s OTGWG illustrates that, so enjoy these highlights:
The Swede is now the first European-born defenseman in Blackhawks history to break the 40-point barrier in a single season.
Highlight of the Night
The Nate Schmidt goal that sent Bruins – Golden Knights into OT probably takes the cake for the best goal of Wednesday, but enjoy the full highlights of that game for your trouble:
Should Cal Clutterbuck receive supplementary discipline for this hit?
Factoids, Kane on fire edition
Patrick Kane didn’t just extend his point streak to 19 games, he did it with aplomb. Kane scored two goals against the Red Wings, including the overtime game-winner.
When you think of a 19-game point streak, you probably picture quite a few games where a player barely gets there, like having one hit during an epic baseball streak. Instead, Kane keeps knocking it out of the park; he has an astounding 16 goals and 26 assists for 42 points. That’s more than he managed during a longer 26-game point streak earlier in his career, when he managed 40.
There are other ways to break up Kane’s red-hot streak. He also has an 18-game road point streak going; only six different players have enjoyed longer road-runs.
Kane’s now at 350 goals for his career, and his 920 points is the most for a U.S.-born player through their first 12 seasons.
CHI 5 – DET 4 (OT)
COL 7 – WPG 1
CGY 4 – NYI 2
BOS 3 – VGK 2 (SO)
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.