Lidström captains NHL all-star squad to victory

Veteran Swedish defenceman Nicklas Lidström captained his all-star squad to a 11-10 win against Team Eric Staal in the National Hockey League All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina on Sunday.

Lidström captains NHL all-star squad to victory

Canada’s Daniel Brière and Slovenia’s Anže Kopitar each scored two goals to give Team Nicklas Lidström the edge against Team Eric Staal.

Centres Brière, who plays for NHL wins leader Philadelphia, and Kopitar, who plays for Los Angeles, helped the team named after the veteran Swedish defenceman rally from a 4-0 deficit after only 5:41.

“We’ve got enough skill in these games where you can catch up right away. It’s a lot of fun being here and playing alongside these guys,” said Lidström’s Shea Weber of Canada, who set up four goals for his squad.

Players were selected by fans and league coaches, then divided in a draft by team namesakes Lidström of Detroit and Canada’s Staal of the host Carolina Hurricanes in an unprecedented format.

Russia’s Alexander Ovechkin, American Paul Statsny, Czech Patrik Eliáš and Canadian Claude Giroux gave the Staals a 4-0 lead.

Fellow Swede Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars Kopitar, American Dustin Byfuglien and Canadian Matthew Duchene answered for Lidström’s side to level the game after one period.

Duchene was given the first penalty shot in All-Star Game history in the third period after Ovechkin slid a stick at him on a breakaway. Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers denied Duchene on the attempt.

Canadians Patrick Sharp, named the game’s Most Valuable Player in a losing cause, and Kris Letang put Staal’s team on top in the second period before Kopitar and Canadians Steven Stamkos and Brière answered for the Lidström side.

In the third period, Staal himself equalised and Letang scored again to put Staal’s squad ahead 8-7 before Canadians Brière, Jonathan Toews and Martin St. Louis answered to put the Lidströms ahead to stay.

Canada’s Rick Nash trimmed the Staal deficit to one goal before Eriksson scored into an empty net with 71 seconds remaining after the Staal squad pulled the goaltender in favor of an extra attacker.

Staal added a second goal with 34 seconds remaining, but his team could not equalise before the final buzzer.

“It was just one of those games where offence dominates. I had a lot of fun all night. It would have been nice to win, too,” said Sharp.

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It’s official: Sweden’s Lundqvist is the NHL’s best goalie

Sweden's Henrik Lundqvist made 12 straight saves to win the goaltender competition at the NHL all-star game's skill night.

It's official: Sweden's Lundqvist is the NHL's best goalie
Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers celebrates winning the Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak during the 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills contest on Friday in San Jose, California. Photo: Thearon W. Hender
The New York Rangers goalie knocked off Russian Olympian Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who held the lead through several rounds after stopping the first eight shots he faced. 
The skill contests held on Friday night in San Jose, California also saw Edmonton Oilers speedster Connor McDavid win his third straight fastest skater title in a competition that included a female participant for the first time.
Canada's McDavid charged around the rink in just 13.37 seconds to eclipse Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel, who finished in 13.58 seconds at the SAP Center arena.
Kendall Coyne, who plays on the American women's national team, was invited to take part and finished seventh out of eight skaters, beating out Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller. Coyne cruised to a time of 14.34 seconds while Keller, who has 11 goals and 35 points with the Coyotes this season, finished in 14.52. 
“I thought she was unbelievable,” McDavid said. “She was absolutely flying out there.” 
Last year, Coyne's teammate Hilary Knight did the accuracy shooting drill, but her impressive time wasn't included in the official results.
Johnny Gaudreau defended his title in the puck control contest with a time of 27.045, and John Carlson, who captured a Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals last season, won the hardest shot contest with a blast of 102.8 mph.
The NHL all-star game will take place on Sunday.