Sunday, January 30, 2011

Team Lidstrom beats Team Staal, 11-10

For Team Lidstrom, it wasn’t how they started periods – it’s how they finished them. The men in blue watched Team Staal begin each period with a goal, only to have a response every time.

Nicklas Lidstrom and company wrapped up an 11-10 victory at RBC Center in the 58th NHL All-Star Game, hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes. Patrick Sharp took home the game MVP (and a car) with his spectacular three-point performance.

Team Staal didn’t waste any time to please the home crowd. Alex Ovechkin scored the icebreaker just 50 seconds into the game when his backdoor feed was re-directed into the net before reaching Daniel Sedin.

Sharp stole the show for the next three minutes, tallying two primary assists to put Team Staal up 4-0. Sharp found Paul Stastny for a one-timer at 2:48 and, then he picked up the assist with a saucer pass to Claude Giroux, who deposited a back-hander at 5:41. Patrik Elias also scored for Team Staal (Sharp had an assist taken away).

Then the ‘home’ team showed that 4-0 is the ‘worst lead’ in an All-Star Game (kidding).

Team Lidstrom responded quickly with four goals of their own. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Byfuglien scored a couple nice goals to cut the deficit in half, 4-2. Dallas’ Loui Eriksson capitalized on a Kris Letang turnover to bring Team Lidstrom within one.

Matt Duchene tied the game at four on a slick breakaway goal, going top-shelf on Cam Ward at 16:30 courtesy of a great pass from Lidstrom.

Marc-Andre Fleury responded to some heckling from the Carolina fans with two great saves late in the period to keep the game tied.

Team Staal once again flew out of the gates to start the period. Sharp collected his fourth point with his goal at 1:18, assisted by Giroux. Kris Letang extended their lead to 6-4 with a wicked wrister from the slot five minutes later.

However, Team Lidstrom responded to score three goals to finish the period. Kopitar slammed home the team’s fifth goal of the night at 10:50 after trading multiple passes with Eriksson. There wasn’t much room on Carey Price’s short-side, but Steven Stamkos found it to tie the game at 14:11. Danny Briere gave Team Lidstrom the lead heading into the third when he beat Price glove-side with 4:29 remaining in the period.

Eric Staal scored his first of two goals at the 3:49 mark of the third, tying the game at seven. After Duchene missed on a penalty shot opportunity, Letang gave Team Staal the 8-7 lead with 11:14 to go in the game. Once again, Team Lidstrom fired back.

Briere and Henrik Sedin combined on a beautiful goal at 9:57 to tie it up again, followed by a slick goal by Jonathan Toews 48 seconds later to put Team Lidstrom up 9-8. Martin St. Louis extended their lead to two goals as his back-hander trickled over Henrik Lundqvist and across the line.

Team Staal didn’t go down without a fight, though. Rick Nash’s point-blank shot found the back of the net with 4:49 remaining; the goal was setup by a great pass from Corey Perry.

Eriksson seemed to put the game away with his empty net tally with 1:11 to go. However, Staal gave the crowd more the cheer for as he snuck one five-hole on Tim Thomas. They couldn’t send the game to overtime, however, and Team Lidstrom walked away with an 11-10 victory.

Team Staal held the advantage in shots, 46-45

Team Lidstrom was led by Kopitar, Briere and Eriksson, who scored two goals each. Staal and Letang also scored twice for Team Staal.

Carolina’s Jeff Skinner was given plenty of chances to score in front of his home fans, but he came up short on a few golden opportunities.

More to come from Raleigh…

Ryan Porth for Preds On The Glass

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