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22.03.2019 03:21
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There is a competitive aspect to the NHL All-Star Game that makes for an entertaining and thrilling exhibition of hockey.The league has taken the exciting three-on-three aspect of regular-season overtime hockey and used it as the basis of the All-Star Game Adidas Elias Lindholm Jersey , which will be played Saturday night in San Jose, California. The three-on-three tournament between the All-Stars from the Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific Divisions gets underway at 8 p.m. ET, and it will be televised by NBC.The broadcast marks the first time the NHL All-Star Game returns to prime-time network televisionsince 1997.The game will also be live streamed at NBCSports.com.The tournament consists of two 20-minute semifinal games. The Atlantic Division All-Stars will meet their Metropolitan Division counterparts, and the Central Division All-Stars will square off against the Pacific Division representatives.The two winners will meet in another 20-minute championship game.Each team has a roster that includes nine skaters and two goalies. The Atlantic and Central teams have seven forwards and two defensemen, while the Metropolitan and Pacific teams have six forwards and three defensemen.Similar to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, all teams have at least one representative. Atlantic DivisionAll-Star appearances presented parenthetically.F Jack Eichel, BUF (second)F Nikita Kucherov, TBL (third)F Auston Matthews, TOR (third)F Jeff Skinner, BUF (second)F David Pastrnak, BOS (first)F Steven Stamkos, TBL (sixth)F John Tavares, TOR (sixth)D Thomas Chabot, OTT (first)D Keith Yandle, FLA (third)G Jimmy Howard, DET (second)G Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL (second)The Atlantic Division team is led by the league's leading scorer in Nikita Kucherov, who comes into the All-Star break with with 22 goals and 56 assists. His sleight of hand with the puck allows him to make some amazing passes, and he should have an excellent chance to show off his skills.Tampa Bay Lightning teammate Steven Stamkos has powered home 26 goals and 31 assists Adidas Tyler Graovac Jersey , and he has one of the hardest shots in the NHL. David Pastrnak leads the Bruins with 27 goals and 29 assists, and he has an opportunity to create a number of highlight-reel plays with his speed and quick release.The Toronto Maple Leafs are represented by Auston Matthews and John Tavares, while Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner are both representing the Buffalo Sabres.Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning and the Detroit Red Wings' Jimmy Howard will share the goaltending assignment, while Thomas Chabot of the Ottawa Senators and Keith Yandle of the Florida Panthers will play defense for the Atlantic Division.The Tampa Bay stars may give this division a chance, but the Chabot-Yandle blue-line combination may not measure up to the those on the three other rosters.Metropolitan DivisionF Sebastian Aho, CAR (first)F Cam Atkinson, CBJ (second)F Mathew Barzal, NYI (first)F Sidney Crosby, PIT (fourth)F Claude Giroux, PHI (sixth)F Kyle Palmieri, NJD (first)D John Carlson, WSH (first)D Seth Jones, CBJ (second)D Kris Letang, PIT (fifth)G Braden Holtby, WSH (fourth)G Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (fifth)The Metropolitan All-Star team would include league-leading goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, but the 37-goal scorer pulled out. The Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals have lost seven games in a row coming into the All-Star break, and the team has looked fatigued in recent games. Captain Ovechkin may need the rest, and he will also have to sit out the Caps' first game after the break as a result of his choice.Washington goalie Braden Holtby and defenseman John Carlson are both participating. Holtby has a 17-12-3 record with a surprisingly high 3.11 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. Carlson is one of the best offensive defensemen in the league, and he has eight goals and 39 assists.Longtime New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist will play in his fifth All-Star game. Lundqvist has a 15-12-7 record with a 3.01 GAA and a .908 save percentage.Sidney Crosby is likely to take on a key role, as he has long been considered the best player in the league. That title is under threat from Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers Adidas Noah Hanifin Jersey , but Crosby has scored 21 goals and 36 assists this term. Crosby will be joined by Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Kris Letang, who will play on the blue line.Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders has 14 goals and 31 assists, and he has taken over as that team's big-play maker since Tavares left the team as a free agent for the Maple Leafs last summer.Cam Atkinson has scored 27 goals and 21 assists for the Columbus Blue Jackets, while defenseman Seth Jones gets his second opportunity to play in the All-Star Game. He has seven goals and 22 assists this season.The Metropolitan team may not have the firepower to compare with the other All-Star teams. Central DivisionF Patrick Kane, CHI (eighth)F Nathan MacKinnon, COL (third)F Ryan O'Reilly, STL (second)F Mikko Rantanen, COL (first)F Mark Scheifele, WPG (first)F Blake Wheeler, WPG (second)F Gabriel Landeskog, COL (first)D Miro Heiskanen, DAL (first)D Roman Josi, NSH (second)G Devan Dubnyk, MIN (third)G Pekka Rinne, NSH (third)The Central Division team is led by Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche, who is the league's second-leading scorer behind Kucherov. Rantanen is bull strong, and that allows him to hold on to the puck鈥攅ven when he's being checked. He also has excellent passing skills and a fine shot. Rantanen has scored 23 goals and 51 assists.Linemate Nathan MacKinnon joins Rantanen, and he has scored 27 goals and 44 assists. Few players in the league can match MacKinnon when it comes to flat-out speed and skating around the defense.Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks is playing in his eighth All-Star Game. While the Blackhawks have struggled badly and are in last place in the Central, Kane has scored 29 goals and 42 assists this year.Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets bring plenty of offense to the Central team. Wheeler, a solid three-zone player, has nine goals and 52 assists Adidas Alan Quine Jersey , while Scheifele has netted 25 goals and added 34 assists.Defenseman Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators has earned one of the key blue-line spots along with Miro Heiskanen of the Dallas Stars.Josi excels at handling the puck and going deep in the offensive zone to make a play. Josi has scored eight goals and 28 assists, while Heiskanen has nine goals and 11 assists, including three game-winning goals.Pekka Rinne of Nashville and Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild are the Central goaltenders. Rinne has an 18-12-3 mark and a 2.47 GAA along with a .915 save percentage. Dubnyk has a 20-16-3 record, a 2.57 GAA and a .913 save percentage.The Central team looks strong in all areas and should have an excellent chance of performing well in this format.Pacific DivisionF Johnny Gaudreau, CGY (fifth)F Clayton Keller, ARI (first)F Connor McDavid, EDM (third)F Joe Pavelski, SJS (third)F Elias Pettersson, VAN (first)F Leon Draisaitl, EDM (first)D Brent Burns, SJS (sixth)D Drew Doughty, LAK (fifth)D Erik Karlsson, SJS (sixth)G Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK (fourth)G John Gibson, ANA (second)It may be hard to top the Pacific Division roster when it comes to star power, as this team features McDavid and Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames. McDavid is the fastest player in the league and is probably its best player.McDavid has scored 29 goals and 44 assists, and his 73 points mean he's tied for third in scoring with Gaudreau. The Flames winger'squickness, ability to handle the puck in tight spaces and shoot the puck accurately is without peer.McDavid's partner with the Oilers is Leon Draisaitl, and those two will team up in the All-Star Game. Draisaitl has 27 goals and 34 assists, and he excels at finding open teammates and setting them up with excellent scoring opportunities.With the San Jose Sharks hosting the game, hometown heroes Joe Pavelski Adidas Dougie Hamilton Jersey , Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson should all play key roles. Burns is probably the most explosive offensive defenseman in the league, and he has nine goals and 46 assists this term. He has scored four game-winning goals, and five of his markers have come on the power play.Pavelski has scored 27 goals 18 assists, and he is connecting on 20.8 percent of his shots. Karlsson, the longtime Senator blueliner, has taken some time to get used to his new surroundings. However, he appears to have made progress, and he has three goals and 40 assists this campaign.Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights will share the goaltending duties with John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks.Look for the Pacific Division team, with McDavid, Gaudreauand three Sharks, to triumph. A year after Mike Babcock told arena staffers in Washington he’d see them a few days later for Game 7, John Tortorella claimed his Blue Jackets would be back after winning Game 6 back in Columbus.Now the trick is doing what Babcock’s Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t last year: stave off elimination from the Capitals.”It’s about finding a way to win a hockey game right now,” Tortorella said Sunday. ”There are so many ways of winning and losing in playoff hockey, so many ebbs and flows. That’s just the way the game is.”Toronto is in the same spot as Columbus, down 3-2 in its first-round series against the Boston Bruins with Game 6 at home Monday night (7 p.m. EDT, NBCSN). The Maple Leafs held off a significant surge from the Bruins on Saturday night to avoid being eliminated in five and send the series back across the border.”You got to look forward – there’s no sense and no good in looking back,” forward Connor Brown said. ”We’re going back to (Air Canada Centre) where we love to play. Our fans are going to be excited so right now we’re all just thinking about Game 6.”Game 6 in the Bruins-Maple Leafs series comes after Boston took a 3-1 lead in the absence of suspended Toronto center Nazem Kadri. Goaltender Frederik Andersen needed to make 42 saves to keep the Maple Leafs alive as they hope to avoid another first-round exit.The Blue Jackets are trying to do the same in their Game 6 Monday (7:30 p.m., CNBC) after losing to the Capitals in overtime Sunday in Game 5. Four of the five games between Columbus and Washington have gone to OT compared to one total in the other seven first-round series.”It’s been a crazy series,” Capitals forward Brett Connolly said. ”So much is happening. Calls and OT – it’s been fun. I think guys are enjoying it. It’s pretty nerve-wracking, but we’re going to keep pushing forward here. We know we have a good team. They have a good team, as well. It’s not going to be easy.”It’s rarely easy for the Capitals Adidas Julien Gauthier Jersey , who are 2-5 in their past five chances to eliminate an opponent and 6-11 overall in those situations in the Alex Ovechkin era. They’re also 2-5 over that time in Game 7 at home, which they’d like to avoid another incarnation of Wednesday.This is the same situation Barry Trotz’s team was in last year – an overtime-filled first-round series against Toronto – and it wrapped things up in six.”If you have a chance to eliminate a team, you have to have that killer instinct,” Trotz said. ”You have to have that ability to close out a team. And it’s the toughest game to win because the other team is desperate. Their backs are against the wall. They’re there. They’re going to give their absolute max effort.”No one doubts max effort from the Blue Jackets or the Maple Leafs staring down elimination. Columbus outshot Washington 16-1 in the third period of Game 5, and while that kind of ice-tilting onslaught is unlikely, the Blue Jackets are going to try to push the pace and ratchet up the pressure on the Metropolitan Division champions after blowing a 2-0 series lead.”The belief in this room is incredible,” captain Nick Foligno said. ”There’s no better motivation than what we’re facing.”Tactically, the Blue Jackets need to cash in on the power play after going 0 for their past 13. Goaltender Braden Holtby and Washington’s penalty kill have been the difference in the series.”The penalty kill has been a major factor for us in the last few games,” Trotz said. ”I think as a group, they’ve all stepped up. I don’t think I can single out anybody. They’ve all stepped up. The penalty kill is as good as the five guys that you have, your four and your goaltender. They’ve been very committed there.”WAITING IT OUTThe Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks will meet in the second round of the Pacific Division bracket, while the Winnipeg Jets await the winner of the Nashville-Colorado series. In the East, the Atlantic Division-champion Tampa Bay Lightning finished off New Jersey on Saturday and will face Toronto or Boston in the second round.—AP Sports Writers Mitch Stacy in Columbus, Ohio, and Jimmy Golen in Boston contributed.—

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