Team Chara did dominate this year’s All-Star match…both in offense and in the net. Team Alfredsson did; however, give them a run for it.
Thomas made some amazing saves while Mr. Price was quoted as feeling like "a lamb being led to slaughter" as he took over the Alfredsson net in the second period and it took Gaborik only 1:23 to beat him for the hat-trick. Age trumps beauty…so they say! Price did impress as well…as usual--as did all six goalies that represented. They all faced the best the NHL has to offer.
Tim Thomas's 18 saves in the final period extended his All-Star win record by sealing his fourth All-Star game victory.
The goaltending in this game is the best part of this entire weekend, in my opinion. They are tested probably like rarely before…all at once.
The Slovaks commanded control of the show, with Gaborik taking game MVP honors, Hossa adding a goal and two assists and Chara netting the decisive goal along while going plus-7 for the game. Being Slovak myself, the added punch of cultural pride was the icing on the cake for the weekend.
Some may feel that this All-Star game lacked the league's ‘top-name’ talent in Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin; however, I felt they were barely missed with the talent present there to keep everyone buzzing on Sunday.
Team Chara would jumped out of the gate on fire taking a 3-0 lead in the first period with a tally two goals from Gaborik scored against his teammate, the New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and a goal from Evgeni Malkin .Team Alfredsson dug deep and rallied tough to tie the game scoring the next three goals as Jason Spezza (Ottawa), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver), and John Tavares (Tampa Bay) all battled against Team Chara goalie Jimmy Howard (Detroit).
The second period would almost follow a replay of the first, as Team Chara fired for a 5-3 lead. Gaborik would net his hat trick and MVP status. Lupul would score his first of two on the day. Team Alfredsson would answer again with a goal from Jason Pominville (Buffalo) followed by Alfressons’—bringing the hometown crowd to its feet. Unfortunately this lead would not last as Mr. Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks would tie the game for Team Chara with 1:36 left in the period.
The third period would see a ton of action within the first ten minutes, as Team Chara and Team Alfredsson swapped goals repeatedly. Team Chara goals came from Kessel and the Calgary Flames Jarome Iginla while Team Alfredsson would counter with scores from former Shark Milan Michalek and the unstoppable skill of Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux.
The remaining 1:22 of regulation packed a lot of action, as Marion Hossa (Chicago), Chara himself and Corey Perry (Anaheim) would each tally within that mere window to give Team Chara a commanding 11-8 lead. Team Alfredsson did strike back as the Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin slapped one in to bring his squad to with two at 11-9. This would be as close as Team Alfredsson would get. Lupul secured the win tallying his second goal of the game with 4:27 remaining.
The game packed a frustrating ending as Alfredsson made a few attempts late to register a hat trick, but was denied by Boston Bruins’ goalie Tim Thomas.
Now, back to regularly scheduled NHL action and the best to all teams in the remining window of time leading up to grabbing the all-coveted playoof slots. Drop the puck!