Shining Stars: A Rookie Winning MVP and Two Rivals Pairing Highlight 2018 NHL All Star Game

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The stars were out on Sunday night as the best of the NHL took centerstage at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Florida. Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby shined for the Metropolitan Division. Nikita Kucherov also put on a show in front of the hometown fans but in the end the Pacific Division would come away with the title, defeating the Atlantic Division in the championship game. 

CENTRAL VS. PACIFIC
First up was the Central Division vs. the Pacific Division, a matchup between the best of the west. Only one goal was scored in the opening period which came by Nathan McKinnon at 1:47 to put the Central ahead 1-0.

In the second half six goals were scored. Drew Doughty had a breakaway at 4:13 to put the Pacific on the board. The Pacific went up 2-1 on a triangle tic-tac-toe goal from Connor McDavid on the left, to Brent Burns on the right, over to James Neal at the top of the triangle. That tally came at 6:57. The Central tied it on a breakaway gaol by P.K. Subban at 7:29.

Brock Boeser put the Pacific back in front at 8:14 with a snipe into the top left corner of the crossbar. The Central pulled Connor Hellebuyck for an extra attacker but Brent Burns made them pay with an empty net goal at 8:38. Neal would seal it with a another empty netter at 9:18. The Pacific defeated the Central 5-2.

METROPOLITAN VS. ATLANTIC
The second contest of the day shifted to the east coast as the Metropolitan Division and the Atlantic Division. With a majority of the crowd Lightning fans, this had a road game feel for the Metro Division. As it is with the All Star Game, rivals are paired with each other so of course one of the biggest storylines was Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby being teammates. Not only that but Metropolitan (and Capitals coach) Barry Trotz paired them together on the same line.

The Ovechkin-Crosby connection got underway quickly. Ovechkin came down the ice, spun around, fed it to Crosby to put the Metropolitan Division ahead 1-0 one minute and nine seconds into the contest.

Atlantic would get some scoring chances and ultimately answer. After Auston Matthews was denied on a breakaway attempt by starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist, he would later redeem himself at 5:30. Claude Giroux put the Metro division back in front at 7:43. Ovechkin got his turn to light the lamp at 8:16. Coming down the ice, Crosby fed the puck to Ovechkin and he shot the puck right away.

The Atlantic answered with back-to-back goals by Nikita Kucherov of the hometown Lightning to end the first period (8:27) and begin the second (2:13). With about eight minutes to go in the game, Trotz switched goalies, going with his prime netminder Braden Holtby. Kris Letang put the Metropolitan Division ahead at 3:17. The Atlantic tied it at 4:33 with a goal by Brayden Point. Erik Karlsson put the Atlantic ahead at 4:32 but Trotz would challenge for offsides. Trotz would win the challenge due to Jack Eichel not getting off the ice in time as Karlsson was crossing the blue line.

The Atlantic wouldn’t fold. Despite the offsides call, they scored three straight goals. First by Eichel (6:40), Brad Marchand (7:41) and then Kucherov as he completed the hat trick at 7:56. The Atlantic Division would go on to win 7-4 to set up a contest with the Pacific Division for the championship. Holtby allowed a total of five goals.

FINAL: ATLANTIC VS. PACIFIC
The Atlantic and Pacific Divisions would face-off for all the marbles. The Pacific grabbed an early 2-0 lead. 59 seconds into the contest Anze Kopitar got ahead of all three Atlantic Division defenders for a great look but couldn’t break through. Rickard Rakell would be right behind him to put the puck in. Their next goal came on a 2-on-1 rush. Johnny Gaudreau got stopped by the pads of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy but the puck came off the pads right in front of Brock Boeser.

The Atlantic got on the board at 6:08 on a one-timer goal from former Capital Mike Green. Drew Doughty would then score a one-timer of his own at 8:35 of the first to put the Pacific ahead 3-1 which would be the score heading into the final period.

At 1:51 in the second period, Gaudreau snuck in a breakaway goal past Carey Price.

The Atlantic answered with a quick snipe by Mike Green at 3:26 to close the gap to 4-2. Rickard Rakell put together a nice dangle to extend the Pacific lead to 5-2. The Pacific went on to win 5-2. Boeser would be awarded the game’s MVP as he finished with two goals on the night. The award was well deserved as Boeser has had a phenomenal rookie season with the Vancouver Canucks. He has 24 goals and 19 assists for 43 points.

By Michael Marzzacco

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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5 Responses to Shining Stars: A Rookie Winning MVP and Two Rivals Pairing Highlight 2018 NHL All Star Game

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    In my more paranoid moments in Caps fandom, I hope Brock Boeser isn’t someone that Caps fans say about, “If only we had selected Brock Boeser in the 2015 NHL Draft.” Boeser was the guy chosen right after Ilya Samsonov who is still in Russia. (But I still have high hopes for Samsonov.)

    Liked by 2 people

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