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West All-Stars Ride Dominant First Period To Victory

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03-12-2004, 11:06 AM
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West All-Stars Ride Dominant First Period To Victory

Note: For complete lineups and boxscore, click here

Rarely do defenses shine in All-Star games, but that is exactly what happened in the first period of the 2004 version of the HFNHL All-Star Game. The West, led by game MVP Niklas Lidstrom and the entire starting lineup, held the East to an All-Star record low two shots on goal in the first. Todd Bertuzzi opened the scoring just 26 seconds into the game, sliding a backhander past Giguere. A mere 11 seconds later it was linemate Joe Thornton's turn, slapping one past the East's starting goalie. Niklas Lidstrom and Rod Brind'Amour received the assists on both goals. Barely 3 minutes later that line was at it again, with defenseman Derek Morris one-timing one past Giguere, who never saw the puck past the screen by Joe Thornton. The East would finally get on the board just before the seventeen minute mark, when Mike Modano hit Markus Naslund with a perfect outlet pass while short-handed, leaving Naslund in all alone on West starting goalie Tommy Salo. Naslund got Salo to bite on the back hand move, sliding the puck back to his forehand and through the 5-hole.

The West would end any thoughts of a comeback by the East in the second. Mattias Ohlund was called for boarding just more than a minute in, and Daniel Alfredsson would make them pay with a wrap around goal, putting the score at 4-1 West. East captain Mario Lemeiux, possibly playing in his last All-Star game, tried to bring the East back, whacking one home after a perfect pass from former teammate Jaromir Jagr. Things went downhill when Mike Modano and Pavel Kubina were called for penalties thirty seconds apart, giving the West a long five on three. Head coach Mike Keenan wasted no time putting his top line on the ice, and was rewarded when Lidstrom scored from just inside the faceoff circle, after a pretty passing play by none other than Joe Thornton and Todd Bertuzzi. It wasn't long before Rob Blake made it 6-2 West, beating Martin Brodeur with a perfect shot from the point. Daniel Alfredsson would get his second goal of the period, leaving the West with a commanding 7-2 edge after 2.

The score would hold until midway through the third when the East, playing mainly for pride at this point would try for a miracle finish. First Slava Kozlov banged home the rebound of a Sergei Gonchar point shot. Then, just 5 seconds later, Sergei Zubov's dump in from the blue line somehow found a way past Robert Esche. Esche, who would be under seige late in the third, with 11 of the East's 14 shots coming after the midway point, then made the save of the night, stopping Markus Naslund on a breakaway, and Jaromir Jagr on the rebound attempt. Mathieu Schneider would seal the deal for the West, beating Marty Turco with a 1-timer off the feed from Rob Blake. Slava Kozlov would score on a wrap around before Brendan Shannahan tipped one in for the final tally.

Tommy Salo earned the win, and JS Giguere the loss. Mario Lemieux stated that he would be back next year, despite speculation that his chronically injured hips would force him into a second retirement. There were more penalties than the average All-Star Game, with the East going 0-3 on the power play, and the West 2-5.

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03-12-2004, 11:31 AM
Ohio Jones
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Nice job on the coverage, Rich! And thanks to Sean for bringing us the HFNHL All-Star game for the umpteenth year in a row... always fun (certainly more fun than most NHL All-sTar games, anyway!).

At leats Shanny made it on the board...

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