Given the new NHL All-Star Game format and the dominance of the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, the writing was on the wall that the Bruins were going to get hosed a bit in the selection process for the Atlantic Division team.
That’s exactly what happened as Brad Marchand is the sole representative for the Bruins for the NHL All-Star game in Tampa at the end of the month. Worthy candidates Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy and Tuukka Rask will instead be given valued time off on All-Star weekend, Jan. 26-28.
It’s the second consecutive All-Star selection for Marchand, who leads the Bruins in scoring this season with 17 goals and 23 assists for 40 points in 32 games, to go with 35 penalty minutes and a plus-19 rating. The Nose Face Killah is among the league leaders in several categories, including points per game (fourth), goals per game (eighth) and plus/minus (ninth). He has also recorded at least one point in 23 of his 32 games this season for the Bruins sandwiched around a couple of absences due to concussion issues.
Bergeron is leading the Bruins in plus/minus with a plus-20 mark and is second on the B’s with 16 goals after his four-goal outburst against the Carolina Hurricanes last weekend. Pastrnak, 21, is tied with Marchand for the team lead with 17 goals this season and has 39 points in 40 games to go along with a plus-5 rating.
After a torrid last couple of months, Tuukka Rask is among the league leaders with his 2.23 goals-against average and .920 save percentage and has better overall numbers than All-Star game selection Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens (2.89, .911).
McAvoy, 20, was more of a long shot to make the game with Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson and Mike Green serving as the three D-men selected from the Atlantic Division, but the rookie’s five goals, 21 points and a plus-14 rating in 40 games are among the best numbers in the division. Here is the final group selected to represent the Atlantic Division, including four Tampa Bay Lightning players selected from the first-place host team:
F Aleksander Barkov, FLA (first appearance)
F Jack Eichel, BUF (first)
F Nikita Kucherov, TBL (second)
F Brad Marchand, BOS (second)
F Auston Matthews, TOR (second)
F Steven Stamkos, captain TBL (fifth)
D Mike Green, DET (second)
D Victor Hedman, TBL (second)
D Erik Karlsson, OTT (fifth)
G Carey Price, MTL (sixth)
G Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL (first)
Coach: Jon Cooper, TBL (first)
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