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Several stars play leading roles Tuesday

by Dan Rosen /
Wayne Gretzky turns 50 today. He played in how many All-Star Games?

Oh, that would be 18.

He owns how many All-Star Game records?

Yeah, that would be six.

He was the MVP of the game how many times?

Try three.

Crazy, right? The Great One is 50…

OK, had to give that little tribute. Now onto the All-Star news of the morning -- several players heading to Raleigh had big nights Tuesday.

Anaheim's Jonas Hiller won his League-leading 25th game by stopping at least 35 shots for the 16th time this season in a 3-2 win in Columbus. Rick Nash in that same game scored a power-play goal to extend his scoring streak to eight games. It was Nash's 23rd goal of the season, which ties him with Eric Staal and Jeff Carter for eighth in the League.

Hiller wasn't the only All-Star goalie who had a big night. Marc-Andre Fleury, the fan's pick to attend All-Star Weekend, made 29 saves in a 1-0 win over the Islanders. It was Fleury's second shutout of the season and he improved to 23-11-2, or better yet, 22-5-2 since Nov. 12.

And, Nash wasn't the only player to extend a scoring streak last night.

Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle, who earlier in the day was named a replacement for the injured Tobias Enstrom, extended his scoring streak to eight games with 2 assists in a 4-3 loss to Edmonton. Claude Giroux's scoring streak went to seven games as he scored a power-play goal in a 5-2 win over Montreal.

Yandle is tied with Team Lidstrom captain Nicklas Lidstrom for second among defensemen in scoring with 42 points. He's tied with Lubomir Visnovsky for the League-lead among defensemen with 35 assists. Giroux is tied for 13th in the NHL with 47 points.

Not to be outdone, Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who did not take the morning skate due to a lower-body injury, played against Minnesota and assisted on both of Chicago's goals in a 4-2 loss.

Rangers defenseman Marc Staal didn't make the scoresheet in a 4-3 loss to Florida, but hew as a plus-1 and played a game-high 26:02, helping the Blueshirts limit the Panthers to just 17 shots. Rangers rookie Derek Stepan, who is heading to Raleigh to participate in the Honda SuperSkills competition, had a goal on four shots.

Patrick Sharp and Martin Havlat, who was named as a replacement for Ales Hemsky earlier in the day, each scored in Chicago. Oilers rookie Taylor Hall had a tying goal and an assist on the winner in Phoenix.
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