This years edition of the NHL All-Star Game was hosted in Ottawa, and the festivities did not disappoint. This was a weekend which saw the Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara set a new mark with a 108.8 mile per hour slap shot for his own team, beating his own record set last year’s skills competition. Matt Read of the Philadelphia Flyers took the accuracy shooting contest for Team Alfredsson by drilling four targets in 10.2 seconds. Phil Kessel won the fastest skater competition for Team Chara. Tampa’s Steven Stamkos took the shootout competition for Team Alfredsson who came away winning the skills competition 21-12 Saturday Night.
However, it was a different story Sunday Afternoon in the All-Star Game itself. Team Chara with six third period goals would prevail over Team Alfredsson 12-9 in the 59th edition of this All-Star classic. The New York Rangers Marion Gaborik scored three of Team Chara’s first four goals for a hat trick and took the game’s MVP honors. Toronto Maple Leaf Joffrey Lupul added two goals for Team Chara as they led throughout the majority of the contest. The Ottawa Senators and hometown favorite Daniel Alfredsson himself scored two goals in the second period, the second of which gave his team it’s only lead of the game at 6-5. Team Alfredsson would only hold that lead for just over two minutes. Team Alfredsson would out shoot Team Chara 50-44.
All-Star Game Recap:
Anything You Can Do, We Will Do Better- Team Chara would jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first period with two goals from Gaborik and a goal from the Pittsburgh Penguins Evgeni Malkin sandwiched in between. Gaborik’s first two goals were scored against his teammate, the New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Team Alfredsson would rally to tie the game scoring the next three goals as Jason Spezza (Ottawa), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver), and John Tavares (Tampa Bay) all found the back of the net against Team Chara goalie Jimmy Howard (Detroit).
Second Verse, Same as the First- The second period would almost follow the script of the first period as Team Chara would jump out to a 5-3 lead. Gaborik would net his third goal of the game and Lupul would score his first of two on the day. Team Alfredsson would then rally again with a goal from Jason Pominville (Buffalo) followed by Alfressons’ two which brought the hometown crowd to it’s feet and gave the local favorites team the lead. Unfortunately this lead would not last until the end of the period as Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks would tie the game for Team Chara with 1:36 left in the period.
Getting Chara Broiled- The third period would see Team Chara and Team Alfredsson trade goals in the first 9:40 of the period. Team Chara scores came from Kessel and the Calgary Flames Jarome Iginla while Team Alfredsson would counter with scores from former Shark Milan Michalek (Ottawa) and the Philadephia Flyers’ Claude Giroux. On Giroux’s goal, the lone Sharks player representing team teal, Logan Couture got an assist. Unfortunately for Team Alfredsson, the game would soon go south and in a hurry as the next three goals would be scored by Team Chara.
Marion Hossa (Chicago), Chara himself and Corey Perry (Anaheim) would each tally within 1:22 of each other to give Team Chara a commanding 11-8 lead. The goals from Hossa and Chara were scored just 16 seconds apart. One moment after Perry’s goal, Team Alfredsson did strike back as the Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin found the back of the net bringing Alfredsson to with two at 11-9. This would be as close as Team Alfredsson would get. Team Chara’s Lupul finished the scoring tallying his second goal of the game with 4:27 remaining. The game had a bit of a bitter sweet ending as D Alfredsson made a few attempts late to register a hat trick, but was denied by Boston Bruins’ goalie Tim Thomas.
Goalies Get No Respect- As for the goalies an All-Star game is the one time all season where the statistics do not count, which for them is a good thing. Team Chara’s goalies Howard, Carey Price (Montreal), and Thomas each gave up three goals. Howard made 11 saves, Price made 12 saves while Thomas had 18. Meanwhile, Team Alfredsson’s goalies H Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick (L A Kings) gave up three goals each. Lundqvist had nine saves while Quick had 10. Brian Elliot of the St.Louis Blues had the roughest day of all the All-Stars allowing six goals on 19 shots in the third period.
Logan’s Run- As for Couture’s weekend, he didn’t do too bad considering he got a new car out of the whole deal. The NHL drafting format allows for the player who is picked last to win a new vehicle. Couture showed a great sense of humor when he tweeted that he missed the end of the NHL All-Star draft and was asking who got picked. As for the All-Star Game, Couture’s line for the day was one assist, four shots on goal. Couture played 11 shifts and had a time on ice of 13:03. I have a pretty good idea that this will the first of many All-Star Game appearances for Couture who’s career really is only at it’s beginning. Who knows, one of these years we may very well see a “Team Couture”…
Looking Ahead- Next year’s edition of the All-Star Game will be held in Columbus, Ohio with the Blue Jackets getting the hosting honors. As for the regular season, the season’s second half and the push for Stanley Cup Playoff positioning starts Tuesday Night as the Sharks return to The Tank to host the Blue Jackets. The Sharks currently have 60 points in the Western Conference Standings with a mark of 27-14-6. Team teal currently sits in third place in the Western Conference. The Sharks last year finished with 105 points. I figure the cutoff is usually around 96 points to make the post season. For a good position and home ice in the first round or two, generally a team needs 102 or more points. If the Sharks can get and remain focused they should be somewhere past the 100 point mark when the regular season is all said and done on April 7th.
Now, it’s on to the second half of this NHL season…
The King Shark
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