After the All-Star Fantasy Player Draft Friday and the All-Star SuperSkills competition last night, it was time for the main event this afternoon in Raleigh, N.C.
Brent Burns, Martin Havlat and the rest of Team Lidstrom topped Team Staal, 11-10. Chicago’s Patrick Sharp was named the game’s MVP after scoring one goal and two assists with a +2 rating for Team Staal.
Havlat registered three assists, two shots and 14:51 TOI on the day, though he was on the ice for even more Team Lidstrom goals. Marty played with a couple of different players, although he spent the majority of his day alongside Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Dallas’ Loui Eriksson. He was robbed by the glove of Henrik Lundqvist with nine minutes left in the third but showed off the skills Wild fans are used to seeing as he played set-up man throughout the contest, including the empty-net goal that was ultimately the game winner.
Marty will be lucky to get out of Raleigh in one piece after chasing down Carolina’s Jeff Skinner’s breakaway attempt late in the second. The joke all weekend is that the 18-year-old Skinner has reached Justin Bieber-status in Carolina and it certainly has seemed so in the media coverage all weekend. He might be an unbelievably talented young gun, but Marty ruined his breakaway attempt with a great backcheck.
Burns flashed his trademark grin throughout the contest and was paired on the blueline with Phoenix’s Keith Yandle. Burnsie finished the game with one assist and three shots in 18:13 TOI.
Burns was also shown in the mic’d up segments of the game, spouting some funny quips about deciding to stop forechecking and playing defense. Clearly, the VERSUS crew has been listening when we often praise Burns’ humor and personality, and it made today’s broadcast that much better.
The game itself was a back-and-forth contest between the teams with the goalies making plenty of stellar saves. The home crowd was loud early as Team Staal opened up a 4-0 lead just halfway through the first period, but Team Lidstrom fired back to take a 4-4 tie into the first intermission.
Team Staal once again grabbed the lead with two goals to start the middle frame, before Team Lidstrom used three straight markers to get its first lead of the game and go into the second intermission with a 7-6 lead.
Team Staal had another hot start to the period, gaining an 8-7 lead before Team Lidstrom made it 10-8. Team Staal cut it to 10-9 and pulled goalie Lunqvist, but Eriksson scored the empty-net goal for the eventual game winner.
It’s been a fun weekend full of enjoyable All-Star Game festivities, but I’m quite happy for the guys to get back at it tomorrow. The mandatory time away from the arena ends with the afternoon’s Wild practice, and let’s not forget, the good guys have won four of their last five and are only one point out of a playoff spot.
I’ll leave you with the official NHL shots of your Minnesota Wild All-Stars. Warning: Sunglasses might be necessary for viewing…