RALEIGH, N.C. – It’s not very easy to stand out at the NHL’s all-star game.
With so many high-level players lining the benches, there are no shortage of options for the coaches to throw on the ice. In fact, it can be tough just getting a shift.
“A lot of the lines were taking pretty much two minutes shifts so you were only getting three or four shifts in a period,” said Team Lidstrom forward Jonathan Toews. “You try and take advantage of it. When you miss a breakaway, it’s not a good feeling.”
Here’s a look at who stood out the most for each team during Sunday’s game at RBC Center:
1. Eric Staal. The captain really wanted to put on a show for the hometown crowd and he delivered by scoring a nice breakaway goal early in the third period. He added a second goal in the final minute and was left thinking about a few other good chances he failed to convert—Staal finished the night with eight shots, the most by any player.
2. Carey Price. It’s not a game for the goalies, but he performed very well in his one period of work. The Montreal Canadiens goaltender stared down a couple shooters on breakaways and finished with 13 saves.
3. Patrick Sharp. He looked a little more motivated than some of the others. Sharp had two assists in the opening period before adding a goal in the middle frame, and ended up earning the MVP honours as a result. He plans to give the car that comes with the award to his brother.
4. Alex Ovechkin. He opened the scoring to give himself goals in all four all-star appearances, but we’re including him because he simply gets it. Ovechkin was the best showman—jumping into the glass after missing a scoring chance, throwing his stick to give Matt Duchene a penalty shot—and that’s what the all-star game needs most.
5. Kris Letang. The young defenceman is having a great season and he showed off his skills on Sunday. Letang scored twice and looked very comfortable in the offence-heavy affair.
1. Nicklas Lidstrom. The future Hall of Famer was an amazing plus-7, an almost unthinkable accomplishment in a game that featured so many goals. He was also a classy captain and great ambassador throughout the entire weekend.
2. Shea Weber. He loved playing alongside Lidstrom. Weber’s rating was plus-6 and he added four assists for good measure. Most impressive of all is that he managed to stand out in a game featuring no hitting or hard slapshots, two things he’s most known for.
3. Loui Eriksson. His empty-net goal ended up being the game-winner and gave him a four-point night, tying him with Weber for the highest total. Named by players as the league’s most underrated player in the CBC/NHLPA poll, the guess here is that he won’t remain that way for long.
4. Anze Kopitar. Of the 21 goals scored during the all-star game, none was nicer than the deke move he made in the first period. The Los Angeles Kings star added another goal later on for good measure.
5. Jonas Hiller. He made 15 saves in the second period—the most of the six goaltenders—and took a shot from Letang off the mask. Team Lidstrom was able to rally while Hiller was in the net.
CP’s MVP: Weber. Even though the panel of 12 hockey writers gave the official award to Sharp, we felt Weber was more deserving after his impressive performance.