Three Stars of the Night: Olympic Edition, Feb. 23, 2010

Blake BenzelCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 23:  Edgar Masalskis #31 of Latvia makes a save during the ice hockey Men's Play-off qualification match between the Czech Republic and Latvia on day 12 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at UBC Thunderbird Arena on February 23, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

First Star: Eric Staal, Canada—In his first game, moved to the team’s first line with Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla. Staal was a force, assisting on both of Iginla’s tallies and on Crosby’s lone goal. 

The eldest Staal played just 14 minutes, but helped the Canadians start to shake off the memories of their disappointing loss to Team USA on Sunday.  On top of his three assists, he was a plus-three and was a force to be reckoned with physically all game long.


Second Star: Marian Gaborik, Slovakia—When Marian Gaborik is healthy, there aren’t many players who are more exciting and more dynamic and boy, was he healthy against Norway.  Gaborik started the game with an assist on Michael Handzus’ goal, then a goal of his own just under three minutes later and notched a game-high nine shots as the Slovakians squeaked by Norway.


Third Star: Edgars Masalskis, Latvia—Losing efforts don’t typically merit a lot of attention, but Masalskis’s losing effort against the Czech Republic certainly does.  Any time you face 50 shots and only give up three goals, you’re doing exactly what a goaltender should do—giving your team a chance to win. 

Masalskis did just that, willing his team into overtime before David Krejci ended the game with a wicked wrist shot.

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Originally Published on Hockey Primetime.