A bunch of Ovechkin and Crosby
One of the main events of the NHL All-Star Game was a great game in one link between Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.
In their youth, they did not like each other, because they were in competition for the title of the best player in the league.
The Russian was selected with the first draft pick in 2004, and the Canadian in 2005.
However, with age, dislike was replaced by respect, and the stars became friends.
In Florida, fans got a rare opportunity to watch them interact on the ice as part of the Capital Division team.
Moreover, both of them are already over 30, and the end of their career, one way or another, is not far off.
Unfortunately, the eminent forwards played only one match, but that was enough to make a fuss.
Most of all, the changes in Alexander's game surprised me.
Always aimed at throwing and completing attacks, this time the striker sought to find the transfer of Sidney.
And he succeeded twice.
First, he completed a pass from behind the gate to a partner, who on the second attempt broke through Linus Ullmark and brought his team forward.
In the second period, the situation repeated itself.
Crosby forced the defender to make a mistake, rolled the puck to Ovechkin, but he returned it to the Canadian.
“A couple of times I didn’t expect to get the puck back.
I thought I just did my job - gave him the transfer.
I was sure he would finish the attack himself, but Alexander kindly handed the puck back to me.
Therefore, we got good goals, ”the two-time Olympic champion was surprised.
However, the leader of "Washington" did not leave the site without a goal, delighting the audience with a signature powerful click from the "office".
“I think we have fun playing together, not against each other.
Here we were on the same team today, and it was a pretty special, good moment,
said the Russian about the interaction with Crosby.
However, the Atlantic Division team had the last word.
After Ovechkin's shot, she was 4-6 down, but in the remaining 7 minutes and 40 seconds she made an impressive comeback, scoring six unanswered goals.
In the end, there was a curious episode when David Pastrnak took advantage of an opponent's mistake and ran away to someone else's goal.
Ovechkin tried to stop his opponent by throwing a club at him, but missed, and he converted the moment.
However, the Russian was pleased with the evening, despite the insulting defeat.
Lots of fun moments, lots of good memories, lots of videos.
I was pleased.
The children are happy, the children are happy, the family is happy, ”the hockey player admitted.
Incredible match Tarasenko
Other Russians also showed their worth.
By the way, this year the NHL All-Star Game record was set for domestic hockey players.
Nine people took part in the event.
The previous achievement was set in 1998, when eight Russians took to the ice, but then the format was different: the North American team was opposed by the rest of the world.
This time, Vladimir Tarasenko scored the most points in a single match (1 + 3).
His excellent game helped the team of the Central Division in the semi-finals to break the resistance of the Pacific - 6:4.
A native of Yaroslavl, first of all, he acted superbly in accompaniment and sought to bring his partners to blow.
In the first period, he helped Seth Jones excel, and in the second his team made a decisive breakthrough.
At first, the Russian was not greedy and brought Clayton Keller to an empty net.
And then the American made a return gift and allowed the Russian to excel.
Finally, in the end, Keller scored a double and set the final score on the scoreboard, and Tarasenko scored a hat-trick from assists.
Thus, problems with a new contract with St. Louis did not really affect Vladimir's performance in Florida.
“I am focused on games.
I don’t think it’s worth wasting time and energy, being distracted by things that are not under my control.
You can ask general manager Doug Armstrong about what will happen next, ”the official NHL website quotes the hockey player as saying.
We were delighted with Tarasenko and his teammates.
For example, Jason Robertson admitted that from his youth he followed the game of the Russian striker and always admired his throw.
“In my opinion, not many in the NHL had such feints and the ability to find corners.
That's why I've always admired it... Now, however, I admire a little less, considering that we play against him, but he always had it.
Today Tarasenko has clearly demonstrated this.
And wherever he goes and whatever he does in the future, he will continue to show it, ”said Robertson.
Panarin's assistant hat-trick
In addition to Tarasenko, Artemy Panarin showed excellent assistant skills, who, like Ovechkin, played for the team of the Capital Division.
One meeting was enough for him to score a hat-trick of assists.
Moreover, in all three cases, he helped Columbus forward Johnny Gaudreau to distinguish himself.
The attackers over and over again ran into fast counterattacks and tore apart the opponents' defense.
The Russian, on the other hand, showed amazing altruism and even in episodes when he could throw himself, he was looking for a teammate.
Sometimes, all that was left was to substitute the club.
Their second goal turned out to be especially beautiful, when Artemy made a slalom pass to the left circle of the face-off, effectively beat the defender and rolled into an empty net, and Gaudreau from an acute angle shot Ullmark, who was unable to keep the puck with a trap.
The excellent interaction of hockey players helped the team of the Capital Division quickly recover from two unanswered goals missed in the debut and restore the status quo on the scoreboard.
True, even before the break, the Atlantic Division again took the lead - 4:3.
But in the debut of the second ten minutes, a killer bunch worked again.
This time Panarin created a small miracle.
After losing an opponent in a foreign zone, he, without looking and facing his own goal, blindly threw Gaudreau into the gap.
The transfer turned out to be so successful that Johnny had to realize a one-on-one exit.
It is even a pity that this duet held only one meeting.
Mocking goal by Kucherov
The decisive confrontation within the stellar weekend ended with the victory of the Atlantic Division over the Central with a score of 7:5.
Matthew Tkachuk and Dylan Larkin became the main characters of the evening as part of the victors.
The first one scored 7 (4 + 3) points in total according to the “goal + pass” system, and five of them fell on the semi-finals.
And his partner knocked out three points in the first game and scored a hat-trick in the second.
The intrigue was which of them will be recognized as the MVP of the All-Star Game.
As a result, Tkachuk received the prize.
By the way, he performed in the same trio with his younger brother Brady and Alexander Barkov.
Two Russians played with them in the team - Andrey Vasilevsky and Nikita Kucherov.
The goaltender conceded a total of eight goals with 21 saves.
The striker scored two points in the final (1 + 1).
In the fifth minute, he pulled the puck into the zone, found Matthew Tkachuk with a pass, and opened himself at the far post and completed the combination with an accurate shot.
And after the break, the Russian striker started a scoring rally with the participation of Mitchell Marner, who from behind the gate gave the perfect pass to Larkin.
Nikita also scored the most important goal in the semi-finals.
It was he who equalized the score in the middle of the second period.
Moreover, Kucherov mockingly beat compatriot Ilya Sorokin.
Having approached him, he showed with all his appearance that he would beat to the left side, and he himself sent the puck between the opponent's shield and the post.
After that, the Atlantic Division team finished off the opponents.
Failed performance of Kaprizov
Tarasenko and Kirill Kaprizov made it to the final as part of the Central Division team.
The first one seemed to have left all his successful actions for the starting game, and was not remembered for anything in the decisive match.
And for the second NHL All-Star Game, it turned out to be not very successful at all.
On Friday, he did not go out on the ice, although he was supposed to take part in the competition for speed.
The striker explained this by the decision of the organizers.
But he managed to spend time with Ovechkin's son Sergei.
Alexander asked his compatriot to look after him while he was away.
And on Saturday, Kirill did not score a single point with only six shots on target and a utility index of “-2”.
But Kaprizov admitted that he still enjoyed communicating with other Russians.
“This year's All-Star Game is more special, because there were many Russian players, many opportunities to communicate with them, spend time together.
We lived in the same hotel with Shesterkin and Sorokin, went with other Russian hockey players for dinner, ”said the forward.