NHL All-Star Game has finally hit on a recipe for success

Having Wayne Gretzky for a coach made it even more surreal. Carey Price, in all his brilliance, nailed the first attempt at the goalie goals to give the Atlantic the overall lead.

Simmonds created plenty of his own luck before acquiring that dollar bill, scoring three goals during two games Sunday, including the victor with 4:58 remaining as the Metropolitan Division defeated the Pacific Division 4-3 in the final of the 3-on-3 mini-tournament (see Twitter reactions to Simmonds' day).

In the opening match-ups, The Metropolitan Division beat the Atlantic Division, and the Pacific Division beat the Central Division. Nielsen tried to go five-hole on the Coyotes' Mike Smith but was denied. That debut was a massive improvement over the previous format, but the championship game kind of flat-lined when Corey Perry scored the only goal in Team Pacific's 1-0 win over the Atlantic.

The game will feature 2 20 minute semifinal games (with teams switching ends at the ten minute mark). Both Souray and Tom Gilbert got beat to the puck, then Joe Pavelski beat Souray around the net, then various San Jose players beat various Oilers in front of the net before the puck was banged in.

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"Shea [Weber] with the hardest shot", Trocheck said.

McDavid was given a chance to snap Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin's record of 13.1 seconds.

McDavid then had the chance to break Dylan Larkin's record for the fastest lap in National Hockey League history.

But it was one of the game's most underappreciated and undervalued players who was named MVP.

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The best early moment belonged to Smith, who lived every goalie's dream when he shot a puck from the crease into a tiny slot at ice level in the middle of the far net. It was planned to be a celebration of the game of hockey with its greatest stars present. "To top it off with a win like that is nice", Faulk said.

A new event, the four line challenge was contested next, involving four shooters from each team.

The All-Stars got an additional thrill before the game when roughly half of the 100 greatest players in National Hockey League history lined up on the ice and shook hands with the current players during introductions.

Ryker Kesler also got his dad's turn in the Four Line Challenge, but missed from mid-ice. "It just shows you the amount of passion for our game all over the world, and in the southern states". Teammate Cam Fowler is in the skills challenge relay. Maybe Dubynk should have taken Suter's part. He missed his first shot, and went bar down on the second at 94.2 miles per hour. Then, late in the game, a Faulk-Crosby-Ovechkin passing sequence led to the Metropolitan Division's 10th goal. Last year set the bar high - with the whole John Scott phenomenon - but this year's showcase was all about the real All-Stars, no gimmicks, and they didn't disappoint.

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My three stars would have been Simmonds, Atkinson and Gaudreau, with Holtby, McDavid, Seth Jones and Jeff Carter as honourable mentions.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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