The hometown heroes were stifled tonight, as Jeff Skinner was kept to one assist, Cam Ward allowed four goals on fourteen shots, and Eric Staal potted two goals. This was one of the more even All-Star tilts in recent memory, but as usual was a high scoring one. Anze Kopitar, Kris Letang, Daniel Briere, and Loui Eriksson joined Staal with two goals a piece, and Patrick Sharp finished his MVP night with a goal and two assists. Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and was a -3 on the evening. Buff probably would have benefitted from having Tobias Enstrom as a partner over Duncan Keith, since Keith’s used to working with Buff as a forward. Enstrom, though, had to stay home due to a broken finger, but the pairing wasn’t too separated:
Buff was texting back and forth with Toby Enstrom between periods and told him he wished he was here.
The defensive pairing of the night was by far Shea Weber and Nicklas Lidstrom, who were +6 and +7 respectively. Lidstrom reminded everyone of what a gaping hole on the blueline Detroit will have when he retires, and Shea Weber showed everyone why he is the captain of the Nashville Predators. On team made up of non-superstars, Weber is instrumental in guiding the Preds to the playoffs year after year by providing a shut down defense. Defensive strategy is what separates Nashville from Atlanta, and it showed tonight.
The star goalies in a night that is very not goalie friendly were the second period match-up of Carey Price and Jonas Hiller. Price was thirteen for sixteen with an .813 SV%, and Hiller was fifteen for seventeen with an .882 SV%. Tim Thomas wound up being in goal for the winning team at the end of the third straight All-Star game, getting the win.
The Thrashers (and the rest of the league) are back in action Tuesday night at 7:00 as the New York Islanders come to town. A win over the Isles and a Carolina loss would give the Thrashers some cushion – the Hurricanes are just a point out of the eighth and final playoff spot.