Monday, January 28, 2008

Nash & Nabokov Shine Despite 8-7 Loss

*Rick Nash pulls off four moves to fool 2nd period Eastern netminder Tomas Vokoun for his second of three goals in the All-Star game. AP Photo/John Bazemore/

The Eastern Conference won the game, Eric Staal (East) was named All-Star MVP, and Rick Nash (West) dazzled the crowd with a beautiful trio of goals.

Oh, and Andrei Markov had a a great All-Star game debut, tallying a goal and an assist for the East.

The East got off to a commanding 5-1 lead, but thankfully that lead was cut down and eventually equalled by the West. The East then took a 6-5 lead before allowing the West to go up 7-6. The East would rally for two goals in the third period, including former Thrasher Marc Savard (East)'s game-winner with just over 20 seconds remaining.

Rick Nash was the talk of the game, even though he was snubbed as MVP. His first goal (his least beautiful, wristing the puck passed DiPietro on a Markov giveaway) came 12 seconds into the game, breaking the record for fastest opening goal in the A-S game set by Ted Lindsay in 1950.

Nash then scored in the 2nd period, taking a breakaway feed from Pavel Datsyuk and going forehand, backhand, forehand and backhand to completely fool Tomas Vokoun and slide the puck by Vokoun's left skate (as seen in the above photo.)

Nash's 3rd goal came in the third period (that's right, 1 goal per period for Rick). Nash took a pass from Iginla at his own blue line, then without warning turned on the turbo boosters, creating himself another breakaway, this time eyeing down Tim Thomas. Nash came in, converted himself to a backward-skating position, dragged the puck on his backhand, and lifted it over the shoulder of the lunging goalie, capping the fan-pleasing hat-trick.

Nash had a chance for 4 (which would have won him a car), but was stoned in the 3rd by Thomas.

Ryan Getzlaf (West) scored a real beauty as well, sneaking in through two Eastern defenders and sniping a shot from in tight, practically at the left side of the crease, putting it top shelf passed the surprised Thomas...a real beauty of a shot that left the crowd wondering "How did that go in?"

Only Evgeni Nabokov (West) was able to shut-out the opposition, denying all 8 shots he faced in the 2nd period. Nabby absolutely robbed Ilya Kovalchuk, as the latter took a feed from behind the net and wasted no time at all releasing the one-timer, but was robbed by the flashing leather of Nabby. That's what I like to call 'SNAGGLEPUSS!' Nabby then robbed Kovalchuk again, this time on a breakaway, stacking the pads to deny the hometown hero of a goal. Kovalchuk threw his stick in frustration, which was great to see as it indicated his intensity and willingness to score for the home fans. Marian Hossa (East) did wind up with a goal, though, to get the crowd cheering.

The West lost the game despite outshooting the East 51-33. No penalties were taken in the contest. Chris Osgood (West) allowed the most goals of all 6 goaltenders, letting 5 get passed him on 16 shots. Phaneuf, Lidstrom, Kopitar, Ribeiro (West) and Kovalchuk (East) registered -3 ratings on the night, all game-lows. Niedermayer (West), Chara and Savard (East) were game-high +3's. Rick Nash took a game-high 7 shots on goal to add to his game-high 3 goals.

Least Used West Player: Jason Arnott, 12:26 TOI.
Most Used West Player: Dion Phaneuf, 22:28 TOI.

Least Used East Player: Scott Gomez, 13:26 TOI.
Most Used East Player: Brian Campbell, 23:19 TOI.

I needlessly remind you that next year's All-Star Weekend will take place right here in Montreal, to celebrate the Habs' centennial.

NHL regular season action resumes Tuesday, with the trading deadline under 1 month away.

No comments: