Team Lidstrom edged Team Staal in a rollicking NHL All-Star game on Sunday that ended in an 11-10 score line more likely to be seen at this weekend’s Super Bowl than a hockey game.
A total of 16 different players found the back of net in the wide-open showcase with Team Staal forward Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks skating away with All-Star most valuable player honors after scoring a goal and notching two assists.
The game featured a novel format never seen before at an All-Star game, with Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom dividing up the NHL’s best players in an All-Star fantasy draft that paid homage to hockey’s past when kids would line up on the rink and pick sides.
While the game had a new packaging, the product on the ice remained the same: little defense, rarely a penalty, no hitting and plenty of scoring as goaltenders were left at the mercy of the game’s top marksmen.
“It [the draft] made it more of an exciting weekend,” said Lidstrom, the Red Wings captain and six-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s top defenseman. “Everybody was anticipating the draft and who was going to get picked first and who was going to be the last guy picked.”
“It created a lot of hype and I think the league is happy with that. But once you get out there, there’s not much difference,” he said.
Team Staal needed just 50 seconds to open the scoring, Washington Capitals sniper Alexander Ovechkin tipping in a feed from Zdeno Chara, who won the NHL’s hardest shot competition for a fourth straight time on Saturday.
The scoring came fast and furious as Team Staal pumped four goals past shaky Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury in the opening five minutes.
However, Team Lidstrom answered with a four-goal burst of their own to leave the contest deadlocked at 4-4 heading into the first intermission.
Sharp opened the second period scoring as Team Staal regained control, 5-4.
The first 10 goals featured 10 different scorers until the Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar potted his second of the game to spark another Team Lidstrom rally.
Steven Stamkos, the NHL’s leading scorer, and Danny Briere also found the back of the net to give Team Lidstrom a 7-6 lead after two.
Dallas Stars winger Loui Eriksson’s second goal of the game into an empty net with 1:11 left in the third clinched the win over Team Lidstrom.
The game featured only one penalty but it was a big one, Matt Duchene awarded the first penalty shot ever in an All-Star game after Ovechkin tossed his stick at the Colorado Avalanche forward as he broke in alone on Team Staal netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Duchene failed to score.