The National Hockey League All-Star weekend is in the rear-view mirror, and the city of St. Louis did an amazing job hosting the festivities. In fact, while some fans might have issues with some of the events (I'm looking at you, Shooting Stars), the city did an amazing job hosting the event, promoting the host team and their present and past stars, while also working to showcase the great young talent across the league. The most memorable moment might be Al MacInnis wiring a 100.4 mph clapper with his old wooden stick at 56 years old. Al, if you're not doing anything on Thursday or Saturday nights, I have a C League team in North Carolina that would love that type of skill. Heck, I'd even take Brett Hull, who missed the target badly in his attempt at hitting the arch in the Shooting Stars. He seems like he would be an amazing beer league teammate.
The 3-on-3 round robin tournament between the divisions is pretty entertaining, as it is unique as opposed to the other sports and their showcase weekends. Can you imagine a basketball tournament in the NBA? Or all of the divisions facing each other in a baseball tournament in MLB? It's a wrinkle introduced in recent seasons which had hockey fans skeptical at first, but it is now widely accepted and highly entertaining. Let's get started!
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Atlantic Division 9, Metropolitan Division 5
The worst job during the All-Star weekend is being a goaltender. You can kill it during the regular season, but when it comes to the festivities of the Skills Competition and the round-robin tournament, rarely do the goalies get a chance to shine. However, the best of the lot was defending Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In his 10 minutes of action in this semifinal he yielded just one goal on seven shots to help his team pick up the first win for the division since this format was introduced.
For the losing side, New Jersey's Nico Hischier showed out with two goals and an assist. Philadelphia's Travis Konecny chipped in with three assists, while Columbus rearguard Seth Jones was good for a goal and three assists. Injury replacement Chris Kreider didn't score, and he was a minus-3, but he did win all eight of his faceoff chances to show out. Former Blues pivot, and still fan favorite, T.J. Oshie managed a goal and an assist.
For the winning side, Boston's David Pastrnak and Ottawa's Anthony Duclair each notched hat tricks, while totaling four points apiece. Duclair ended up with a plus-3, too, while Pasta was a plus-1. Tyler Bertuzzi of Detroit and Victor Hedman of Tampa Bay also get into the four-point club, as 'Baby Bert' had four helpers and a plus-3, while Hedman chipped in with a goal and three helpers. Jack Eichel of Buffalo did not score, but he also contributed with three assists.
Pacific Division 10, Central Division 5
The fans of the St. Louis Blues were likely pretty bummed out when the Central Division was shown the door in the first game. However, at least Ryan O'Reilly (one assist), David Perron (one goal) and Alex Pietrangelo (one assist) were able to get on the board. Jordan Binnington, he wasn't as fortunate, allowing four goals on 12 shots in his one period of action.
The big offensive producer for the Central, much to the dismay of the pro-St. Louis crowd, was Chicago's Kane. He posted two goals with a plus-1 rating on four shots on net. Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele and Dallas' Tyler Seguin each chipped in with a goal and an assist in the losing effort.
The big offensive production came from the Pacific studs, as San Jose's Tomas Hertl burst onto the scene with four goals. Leon Draisaitl of Edmonton also had a hat trick while adding an assist, while his teammate Connor McDavid posted three helpers. He is averaging three points per game in his past four All-Star appearances. Los Angeles pivot Anze Kopitar was also good for three assists, too. The big winners were Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk, as he posted two goals and four points, while Vancouver rookie Quinn Hughes added a goal with three assists.
Again, while it wasn't a great day all around for goalies, Calgary's David Rittich managed to stop nine of the 10 shots he faced.
Pacific Division 5, Atlantic Division 4
It was an all-ocean affair in the title game, and the lowest scoring game of the night. While the first two semifinal games went over for bettors, this one had a more defensive feel to it.
The first period saw a total of just four goals, with the Atlantic Division going up 3-1 heading to the break. Toronto's Frederik Andersen turned aside eight of the nine shots he faced to position his team well heading into the final 10 minutes. Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman, Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau and Boston's Pastrnak were the goal scorers for the Atlantic, while Max Pacioretty of Vegas was able to beat Andersen.
In the second period it was all Pacific studs, as Vancouver's Elias Pettersson netted two goals and Draisaitl was back with his fourth of the evening. Hertl also notched the decisive goal in the third period, giving the Pacific a 5-4 win. It's uncertain how Pastrnak, in a losing effort, was named as the MVP of the All-Star Game over Hertl. The Sharks star netted five goals in two games, had the winner in the title game, etc. Rittich was also MVP-worthy, allowing just one goal on four shots, as he was amazing during the two-game span. Hughes ended up with a goal and six points, which was also tremendously impressive.