Toews, Pronger, Gagne headline Friday's Three Stars
1. Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks
One night after Johan Franzen re-wrote Detroit's record book, Toews put on his own one-man show to lead the 'Hawks to within one win of the Western finals. The captain earned his first-ever playoff hat trick --scoring all three goals on the power play--and finished the night with five points, tying a franchise record previously shared by Stan Mikita and Steve Larmer. The outburst left Toews with 18 points in just 10 games, moving him past Franzen and into top spot on the charts.
2. Chris Pronger, Flyers
This was exactly the sort of game that Paul Holmgren envisioned when he made the move last summer to acquire Pronger. With the Flyers desperate for a big game out of their best players, Pronger finally looked the part of an impending Hall of Famer for the first time in the series. He was physical, disciplined, positionally sound and strong on the puck -- it was a dominant performance at both ends of the ice, highlighted by a pair of strong offensive plays. Pronger tallied Philly's second goal when his slapper from the point ricocheted through traffic and past Tuukka Rask, then set up the fourth with a smart wrister that Ville Leino was able to tip home.
3. Simon Gagne, Flyers
Simon says, let's play Game 5! With his Flyers on the verge of playoff extinction, Gagne expedited his return to the lineup and turned in an inspired performance that mirrored Marc Savard's Game 1 heroics. If the gritty winger was suffering from missing four games with a fractured toe, it didn't show. He was solid at both ends of the ice, was hard on the puck and crafted several high-test scoring chances before finally capitalized at the most opportune moment. Parked alone at the side of the net, Gagne deflected Matt Carle's pass just under the outstretched arm of Rask at 14:40 of overtime to secure a thrilling 5-4 victory.