All-Star Game Features Many Thrills, Records

The NHL All-Star Game last Sunday, January 25 from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio was not kind to the goaltenders, that is for sure.

In the end, the game featured a total of 29 goals, with the final score being Team Toews 17 and Team Foligno 12. The teams, with the visitors captained by Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks and coached by Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators and Nick Foligno of the host Columbus Blue Jackets captaining the home team, who were coached by Darryl Sutter of the Los Angeles Kings, broke the NHL record for combined goals in an All-Star Game.

Before that, though, there was the NHL Skills Competition on Saturday, in which the Devils’ Patrik Elias (the only representative from New Jersey) competed in the shot accuracy contest as a passer for Team Toews, to which he had been drafted in the 12th round in the All-Star Draft the night before. Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks and Team Foligno took the crown in that competition. Other events from the Skills Competition included: Fastest Skater (won by Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning), the Breakaway Challenge (won by Ryan Johansen of the Blue Jackets), the Skills Challenge Relay (Team Foligno won the first relay, Team Toews the second), the Hardest Shot Competition (won by Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators) and the Shootout (won by Team Foligno). Team Foligno won the overall competition by a score of 25 to 19. These festivities led into the 60th NHL All-Star Game played on Sunday.

And what a game it was if you are a fan of goals. Goalies everywhere were cringing as Radim Vrbata of the Vancouver Canucks and Team Foligno got things underway, scoring on a breakaway at 3:09 of the first. Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Team Toews evened things up at 6:33. Jakub Voracek of the Flyers gave Team Toews the lead on the first of his hat trick at 9:51. Other scoring in the first saw hometown heroes Johansen and Foligno team up along with Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues to tie things up at 11:05. Things went back-and-forth again as Patrice Bergeron of Boston Bruins gave Team Toews the lead again (former Bruin and current Dallas Star-Tyler Seguin and Elias got the assists) at 12:17. Shattenkirk tied things up again for Team Foligno at 14:48 and Johansen gave Foligno’s team the lead at 16:24. At 19:03, right before the intermission, however, John Tavares of the Islanders tied the game back up for Team Toews. The goalies for the first period were the Florida Panthers’ Roberto Luongo for Team Toews and Brian Elliott of the Blues (who was subbing for injured Sergei Bobrovsky) for Team Foligno.

The second period scoring started off right away at 0:24 into the second stanza when Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild scored for Team Toews. Less than 20 seconds later, Claude Giroux of the Flyers got one back for Team Foligno. Toews’ team tied things again when Seguin scored at 1:22. Steven Stamkos of the Lightning connected from the Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith to move Team Foligno ahead at 2:27. At 4:08, Rick Nash of the Rangers scored for Team Toews. Patrik Elias picked up his second assist when he got the secondary on Filip Forsberg (of the Predators – subbing for Evgeni Malkin who was hurt) goal at 5:56. New Jersey native and NHL rookie Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames got the primary assist on that goal. Gaudreau was a replacement in the game for the injured Sidney Crosby who could not participate. At 8:16 Tavares scored for Team Toews and at 9:22, Voracek got his second also for Team Toews. Nick Foligno helped his own team’s cause by scoring at 11:59 with Johansen and the Caps’ Alex Ovechkin assisting. Stamkos got his second of the game at 16:35 on an assist from New Jersey native Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators. Tavares got his hat trick to finish out the scoring at 19:00 of the second on an assist from Bergeron (his third assist of the night). The unfortunate goalies for the second period were: the Islanders’ Jaroslav Halak (Team Toews) and the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury (Team Foligno). Halak was a sub for the injured Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Fleury was a sub for the injured Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings.

The third period scoring got underway when Nash scored at 1:29 for Team Toews. Goal 21 of the night came at 2:15 when Kane scored from Giroux and the Kings’ Drew Doughty. Tavares got his fourth of the night at 6:13 as Bergeron got his fourth assist (the primary) and Brent Seabrook of the Blackhawks had the secondary. At 7:30, Voracek got his hat trick and Jonathan Toews had his fourth assist along with Aaron Ekblad of the Panthers (who also netted his fourth assist of the game on that goal). Ekblad was subbing for Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche who was out with a lower-body injury. The next milestone came at the 8:23 marker when Ryan scored. Seguin got his second at 9:26 off assists from Vladimir Tarasenko of the Blues (his fourth of the game) and Shea Weber. Kane scored again at 13:09. While his Blackhawks teammate (but opponent on this night) Toews scored his first goal of the game at 14:21. Forsberg scored for Team Toews at 16:40 as Gaudreau got his second assist of the night and Voracek got his third assist and sixth point on the night. Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks rounded up the crazy night when he scored at 18:20. Ovechkin had his third assist on this goal while Johansen had his second. Netminders for the third period were Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks (Team Toews) and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens (Team Foligno).

On the night, Team Toews’ Crawford got the win in goal, while Team Foligno’s Fleury took the loss. Columbus Blue Jacket and Team Foligno member Ryan Johansen with four points (two goals and two assists) was named All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in online voting by the fans.

Overall, nine offensive records were set in this game including: most goals by a team (Team Toews, 17), most goals, combined, in a single period (11), most goals in a single period by one team (Team Toews, 7), most goals by a player (John Tavares’ four – tying him with Wayne Gretzky (1983), Mario Lemieux (1990), Vincent Damphousse (1993), Mike Gartner (1991) and Dany Heatley (2003)) and most points by one player (Jakub Voracek’s 6 – tying him with Mario Lemieux). Every skater on Toews’ team got on the scoresheet at least once. If you love goals, this game had it in bunches, as it was not a tight checking defensive struggle. But it was entertaining and that, after all, is what an All-Star Game should be.

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