Perhaps it was the fact it was the first 3-on-3 All-Star Game for a championship. Perhaps it was the million dollar prize for the winner. Perhaps it was the presence of John Scott.
Whatever the reason, the All-Stars representing the Pacific and Atlantic Divisions saved what energy they had left for the final game of a spectacular weekend in Nashville.
The first half was a showcase of goaltending with Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings in net for the Western Conference and Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers tending goal for the Eastern Conference.
Quick made the first fantastic (lucky?) save of the game about two minutes into play. Florida’s Aaron Ekblad poked the puck out to Uncle Leo Komarov stationed right in front of the net. Komarov appears to redirect the puck right over Quick’s shoulder when he swats the puck up and over the net with his glove.
Quick made all 10 saves he faced in his 10 minutes of work.
Luongo carried the heavier load facing 12 shots from the Pacific. His most spectacular save of the game came with 2:48 left in the period. Fed by teammate John Scott, Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks did a spin-o-rama in front of Luongo who had to dive across the crease to get to. Somehow, Lu manages to get a stick on the puck.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) February 1, 2016
For the first time probably ever, the All-Star Game ended with a 0-0 tie at midway point of the 20-minute game.
As they had in their first games, the Luong and Quick were replaced by Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning and John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks.
It would be Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks who broke the scoreless tie.
The play started at the other end of the ice with P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens attempting a shot on net as he’s slightly hooked by a Henrik-less Daniel Sedin. Subban goes flying and the puck makes its way to Brent Burns. Burns fires a cross-ice pass to a streaking Sedin. Sedin fires a pass almost immediately to Perry who snipes it past Ben Bishop for the 1-0 lead.
Perry thought he picked up a second goal a couple minutes later on a laser past Bishop.
However the Duck will forever ban the music of Amy Grant from the locker room. The 90’s pop/country star, acting as a ‘celebrity coach’ alongside Florida’s Gerard Gallant, challenged the goal. It was overturned as the officials determined Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers made contact with Bishop.
— Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) February 1, 2016
Gibson was tested multiple times down the stretch as the Atlantic pulled their goaltender with 1:23 to go. The young netminder stood tall and kept the Pacific in it for a 1-0 win.
Although he was not on the initial ballot, John Scott won the MVP vote as a “write in candidate.” He was lifted up by his former Sharks teammates Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski, who had been champion Scott the entire weekend, along with Calgary’s Mark Giordano.
Jaromir Jagr said it perfectly after the game, “You hate to lose, but if I ever wanted to lose, ever, I’m glad I lost today.”
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