By Darren Eliot
April 23, 2011

1. Tyler Ennis, Sabres. Who else would have came through in the clutch for the Sabres? The rookie scored the game-winning goal in overtime Buffalo beat the Flyers 3-2 and was the most dangerous forward on the ice all night, playing with confidence with the puck on his stick from his very first shift of the night. Ennis skated with purpose every time he hit the ice and with linemate and offensive catalyst Jason Pominville lost after being cut by a skate blade, someone on the Sabres had to fill the void. Ennis did.

2. Bobby Ryan, Ducks. Returning after serving a two-game suspension, Ryan scored a highlight-reel goal in the third period that gave the Ducks a lead. They couldn't make it stand up, eventually falling in overtime to the Predators 4-3, but Ryan played with passion throughout and was a force all night long. But that goal ... wow, what skill.

3. Shea Weber, Predators. Mr. Everything scored the game-tying goal in the final minute and logged his usual heavy minutes against the Ducks' vaunted Ryan-Getzlaf-Corey Perry line. Like the Predators as a whole, though, it is always hard to pick just one star. Jordan Tootoo was excellent in making skilled plays. Jered Smithson scored the game-winning goal in overtime -- on a feed from Tootoo -- who is a little known, hardworking player that typifies Predators' hockey. Weber made it happen in the moment of truth, but it's guys like Tootoo and Smithson who grind behind the face of the franchise that make it all work for the Preds. That's true most nights and it held true tonight in taking their first 3-2 series lead in franchise history with a chance to close out their first playoff series.

You May Like