The 2019 NHL All-Star mini tournament was played last night at the SAP Center in San Jose. It featured another good showing from the Metropolitan Division in the divisional-based tournament-style game. The Metro won, defeating the Central Division in the final 10-5.
To refresh some memories, the game now consists of three mini games all within the context of a period in a larger game. So the first period/game (Central versus Pacific) set up one half of the final (the third period/game) while the second period/game (Metro versus Atlantic) gave us the second participant in the finals. Each period was split into two ten minute “mini periods” with the teams switching ends and goalies going into the new period. It was all contested three-on-three.
The first game, won by the Central 10-4, saw the Colorado Avalanche attendees dominate. Mikko Rantanen scored the opener and Gabriel Landeskog the second goal. Rantanen would go on to pot two in the first game while Landeskog had a hat trick. Other goal scorers for the Central were Roman Josi, Patrick Kane (with two), Mark Scheifele and Ryan O’Reilly. The Pacific got goals from hometown favorites Erik Karlsson (twice) and Brent Burns as well as Johnny Gaudreau. With that, the Central moved on to its first-ever All-Star Game final since the current format was adopted. The Pacific, much to the chagrin of the San Jose fans in the building, went home.
In goal for the Central, Pekka Rinne stopped eight of nine shots while Devan Dubnyk made 19 saves on 22 shots. The Pacific had 31 total shots. In goal for the Pacific, John Gibson made two saves on nine shots while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped six of nine. The Central ended with 18 shots on goal.
Overall, there were nine players on the Central with a multi-point game here.
In the second game, the Metro defeated the Atlantic in the Eastern Conference showdown. The Metropolitan Division won this one, 7-4, advancing to the finals to face the Central.
Sidney Crosby scored the first goal of the game (his first of two) and Seth Jones also had two (with Kyle Palmieri getting a helper on his first one) in the Metro’s win. This was a see-saw matchup that saw the lead change hands a few times before the Metro really settled in. The other goal scorers for the Metro were Crosby’s Pittsburgh teammate, Kris Letang, Sebastian Aho and Cam Atkinson (Palmieri was playing on the third unit with a pair of Columbus players in Atkinson and Jones). The Atlantic got goals from Jack Eichel, Steven Stamkos, Jeff Skinner and John Tavares in a losing effort.
In goal, Henrik Lundqvist made five saves on seven shots while Braden Holtby stopped 11 of 13 for the Metro. The Atlantic finished up with 20 shots on net. Jimmy Howard and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced a combined 26 Metro shots and Howard made nine saves on 13 shots against while Vasilevskiy made ten saves on 13 shots as well.
It was on to the finals for the Central Division and the Metropolitan Division. Here, the Metro team switched their jerseys to the white aways.
Speaking of the jerseys, while they did not look all that nice, in my opinion, being mostly black and white with some “slate grey” thrown in as an accent, they did have some cool innovation. The Adidas-made jerseys were created in conjunction with Parley Ocean Plastic, which used recycled and upcycled marine waste plastic (waste such as plastic bottles that made their way to the oceans) to create the materials for the jerseys according to SportsLogos.net. It is a cool thing and really fits with the California/Silicon Valley theme of this All-Star Game. To use technology to help turn waste that could potentially damage our planet into something useful.
Anyway, on to our final. This one saw the Metropolitan come away with the $1 million in prize money that was to be divided among the members of the winning team. The Metro won this one 10-5. Mat Barzal kicked off the scoring followed by Claude Giroux, Letang, Palmieri and Crosby to build up a 5-0 lead for the Metro.
Landeskog would get the Central on the board and Rantanen would make it 5-2. Crosby would add another to make it 6-2 and O’Reilly would cut the lead in half to 6-3. But then the Metro would get three unanswered from Aho, Atkinson and another from Barzal (into an empty net) to make it 9-3. The Central would add two in a mini rally (another from Rantanen to make it 9-4 and one from Blake Wheeler to make it 9-5) and Atkinson would finish off the scoring with a goal from Jones to make it 10-5.
This game was unique in that it featured only the third penalty shot in All-Star Game history. Seth Jones took it when he was hauled down by Patrick Kane with 4:09 to go in the game. He would not score and, in fact, no one has ever converted on a penalty shot in All-Star play.
In goal, Rinne and Dubnyk faced 22 shots combined from the Metro, with Rinne stopping six of ten and Dubnyk six of 11. For the Metro, Lunqvist stopped all six shots he saw and Holtby made 12 saves on 17 shots as the Central Division threw 23 shots at Metro goaltending total.
Crosby took home the Most Valuable Player honors with two goals and three assists for five points in this game plus two goals and an assist in the Atlantic game. He finished with five goals and eight points in the game as a whole. Palmieri finished the game with a goal and an assist for two points in his first ever All-Star showing.
Those two will get it on Monday as the Devils head to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins then. We will have that for you right here. Until then, enjoy your weekend everyone!