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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:52 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Team Lidstrom wins

Wow. What a finish!

Team Staal pulled its goalie with a little more than a minute to go in the game and Team Lidstrom made it pay almost immediately as Loui Eriksson scored in the open net to make it 11-9. It was Eriksson's fourth point of the night.

But Team Staal refused to go quietly into the Raleigh night. Team Staal captain Eric Staal scored with 33 seconds left to make it 11-10. It was Staal's second goal of the game.

The Staals pressed for the equealizer for the final 33 seconds, but Tim Thomas was up to the challenge and earned his third career All-Star victory in as many appearances.

What a game and what a perfect ending to a perfect weekend here in Raleigh.

Thanks for following the game in this blog and stay on NHL.com for what will be a bounty of stories and reaction from our All-Star collection of writers.






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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:48 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Frantic finish

There's three minutes left in the game and Team Lidstrom is still nursing a one-goal lead, 10-9.

Rick Nash scored on a breakaway to make things intersting.

By the way, the Team Lidstrom defensive pairing of Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber is a combined plus-14. Weber also has 4 assists. A contender for MVP honors to be for sure.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:37 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Seesaw match

The lead just keeps changing down the stretch.

After Eric Staal tied it at 7-7, Defenseman Kris Letang scored on a ripper of a shot to give the Staals a 8-7 lead. But the Lidstroms would not go away, scoiring two goals 46 seconds apart to retake the lead at 9-8. Danny Briere ended Henrik Lundqvist's masterful run by beating the Rangers goalie at the far post. Then, Jonathon Toews re-staked the Lidstroms to the lead -- just its second of the game.

It should be an interesting final eight minutes.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Hometown hero

Eric Staal didn't have much of an impact in the first two periods, but the Team Staal captain -- and hometown hero -- picked an opportune time to break out, scoring a breakaway goal to tie the game at 7-7.

Set free on a pass from Corey Perry, Staal broke in a lone and slid a shot between the legs of Tim Thomas, who started the third period as the Team Lidstrom goalie.

Amazingly, Team Staal goalie Henrik Lundqvist kept the game tied when he stoned Matt Duchene on a penalty shot, the first in the history of the All-Star Game.

Duchene was awarded a penalty shot because Team Staal's Alex Ovechkin threw his stick at Duchene to try and foil his original breakaway.


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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 6:06 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Overtime rules

With only one goal separating the two teams and just one period remaining, I'm sure many of you are thinking overtime and wondering if there is a special format for this special game.

The answer is no. It is the same overtime format that the League uses in the regular season. That means the two teams will play five minutes of 4-on-4 overtime (boy should there be some offensive chances in that scenario). If nobody scores, the game will go to a shootout. Coaches will be have to pick three shooters and can also name any of their three goalies to take part in the contest.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:57 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

End of two

The second period is done and a fantastic finish looms as Team Lidstrom holds a 7-6 lead.

The highlight of the second intermission promises to be the Guardian Project segment. I was here Saturday for the dress rehearsal and the piece is pretty captivating.

Soon, members of the media will be asked to vote for the MVP (fans have been texting all game and will have a 25-percent say in the vote) and it will be a tough decision to say the least.

My picks right now are Anze Kopitar for Team Lidstrom and Patrick Sharp  for Team Staal.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:51 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

What a comeback!

Team Staal might be stronger starters, but Team Lidstrom are fantastic finishers.

The Lidstroms have ripped off three unanswered goals to take a 7-6 lead. Danny Briere picked the far corner against Carey Price to give Team Lidstrom its first lead after almost 35 minutes of play. Team Lidstrom was down 4-0 in this game and 6-4 in the second period.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:42 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Reason to give

All-Star Games are famous for their wide-open play.

But, you won't see a more wide-open goal than the one Anze Kopitar scored for Team Lidstrom to make the game 5-4.

Kopitar and Loui Eriksson broke in on a 2-on-0 without a Team Staal defender even in the defensive zone. Not surprisingly, Kopitar converted but not until he had executed a give-give-give-and-go with the Stars Center.

By the way, we are more than half way through the game and the contest's first offsides was just whistled.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:34 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Team Staal on the rise

Team Staal certainly starts fast.

After scoring the first four goals of the game, in less than 10 minutes, Team Staal scored the first two goals of the second period in less than six minutes.

Chicago's Patrick Sharp, making a strong push for MVP honors, opened the scoring by adding a goal to his two first-period assists. For a while Sharp had three assists, but one was taking away in a scoring change.

Then, Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang rifled a shot from the high slot that found the underside of the crossbar and left Jonas Hiller without a prayer to give Team Staal a 6-4 lead.

At the other end, Carey Price made several strong saves to keep Team Lidstrom off the board for the first 10 minutes. Perhaps the highlight was a save against Jonathon Toews at the mid-point.




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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

First goals

There were eight goals scored in the first period and, amazingly, seven were first-time All-Star goals for the player that scored it.

Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring with his fifth career All-Star Goal -- in his fourth game -- but then it was time for a number of players to get onto the scoring act.

Paul Stastny, Patrik Elias, Claude Giroux, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Byfuglien, Loui Eriksson and Matt Duchene all found the net for the first time as All-Stars. All but Elias and Kopitar are making their first All-Star appearances.

By the way, the goalies have changed. Carey Price is now playing for Team Staal, while Jonas Hiller is in for Team Lidstrom.


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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 5:02 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

End of first

A very entertaining first period is now in the books and it ap;pears that the Chicago Blackhawks are trying to steal the Thunder from the hometown Hurricanes.

Chicago winger Patrick Sharp has three assists for Team Staal and Jonathon Toews has a goal for Team Lidstrom. Pat Kane has an assist -- perhaps the best of the period -- and former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien, now pLaying for Atlanta, scored off that pass.

Right now, 3 Doors Down is rocking the RBC Center with their intermission set and I am having another pulled pork sandwich. I may need a pork product detox when I get back to Jersey.



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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:49 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Chicago connection

And here, perhaps, starts the comeback.

Team Lidstrom's Dustin Byfuglien -- having a season to remember -- just scored a nice tight-angle goal on a one-timer to make it 4-2.

Byfuglien's goal was set up by a familar face in Chicago's Pat Kane. The two combined quite often last season as teammates in Chicago during the run to the Stanley Cup.

Kane made a sweet pass across the crease, which Ward admitted on TV he did not expect, to feed Byfuglien for the shot.

Soon after, Chicago's Jonathon Toews set up Dallas' Loui Eriksson, and Colorado's Matt Duchene followed with a breakaway goal to tie the game at 4-4.

Marc-Andre Fleury has righted the ship after a rugged start to make this game interesting as it heads into the dying minutes of the first period.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:43 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Jinxed

Cam Ward was right to be peeved with the Versus announcers, who mentioned he had not yet allowed a goal during a first-period conversatioin with him. Not two minutes later, Team Lidstrom's Anze Kopitar ended the shutout run with a sweet goal that saw him go top shelf after breaking in alone on Ward.

Team Staal is still dominating though, leading 4-1. Chicago's Patrick Sharp already has three assists.

Needless to say, I didn't see this coming. In my post-draft analysis, I said Team Lidstrom had clear advantages in goal, on defense and at two of the three forward positions. But, it's early and I still believe in the depth of Team Lidstrom. We'll see how smart I am in about two hours.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:37 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

What a start

The home fans are certainly getting what they came for.

Team Staal, captained by Eric Staal and populated with all the Carolina players in the All-Star Game -- Staal, goalie Cam Ward and Jeff Skinner -- is dominating early. Team Staal holds a 4-0 lead just eight minutes into the contest. Alex Ovechkin, Paul Stastny, Patrik Elias and Claude Giroux have the goals.

Ward is also dishing dirt on teammate Skinner, reveling that the 18-year-old rookie -- who looks like pop star Justin Bieber -- has been asked to several proms in the area.

The Carolina goalie is also giving the announcers the gears becuase they just mentioned that he hasn't allowed a goal yet, usually seen as a bad show of form by superstitious goalies.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:36 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

What slump?

Alex Ovechkin is not having the best season of his career and the struggles have been evident as he has been more subdued than normal this weekend.

But the Capitals superstar doesn't struggle in All-Star Games.

In his first three appearances, he had 4 goals. It took him just 52 seconds to find the back of the net Sunday for Team Staal. Ovechkin's goal was a bit lucky as his centering pass bounced off Team Lidstrom defender Duncan Keith and skittered past Marc-Andre Fleury.

"He has not failed ever," Emerick said.

Team Staal got two more goals in the first four minutes to take a 3-0 lead. Team Staal goalie Cam Ward is mic'd for the Versus coverage and he admitted that he felt a little bad for his counterpart at the other end, who is not having the start he envisioned.


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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 4:10 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Introductions

What a fantastic way to start the afternoon as the game presentation folks paid homage to the pick-up game of shinny with the sticks being piled at center ice and being pulled by a collection of young players.

After the youth players pulled the sticks of a couple of other youth players, Carolina alumni started joining them. With the third stick picked, Rod Brind'Amour came skating to center ice, saying it was his stick. Next, it was Ron Francis joining the group. Then, it was Team Lidstrom captain Nick Lidstrom. Finally, it was Team Staal captain Eric Staal joining the party -- to a huge ovation -- just before the rest of the 2011 All-Stars came streaming onto the ice.

As Versus play-by-play man Mike Emerick said, it was quite the tour through the generations.

The standing ovation for Team Lidstrom coach Peter Laviolette was also very cool. Laviolette, remember, led Carolina to its only Stanley Cup title in 2006.

But, nothing compared to the applause rained down under the Carolina Hurricanes, who were the trhe last three players in the Team Staal lineup to be introduced. Let's just say that the building was rocking like a hurricane when the names of rookie Jeff Skinner, goalie Cam Ward and captain Eric Staal were announced. A truely iconic moment verY early iN the afternoon's proceedings.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 3:34 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - All-Star Game live blog

Ready to Rock in Raleigh

After three days of build up and fun, the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover is finally ready to get rolling.

The players are on the ice warming up and the anthem singers are starting to get some butterflys.

I, on the other hand, am firmly ensconced in the NHL.com bunker ready to give you the highlights of what will be a memorable game. I'm ready, too, after having spent much of the morning and early afternoon preparing a traditional pig picking. It came of perfectly and I got to sample the finished product, which with fuel me throughout the afternoon.

Not only was the food excellent and the guys and gals from The Pit, a local BBQ institution here in Raleigh, excellent company, but my planning work in making it happen  has eaned me a new nickname. The boys in the bunker here are now talking about pulled Roarke instead of pulled pork. A witty bunch they are.

Now, it's time to put the pig in the memory bank, though and concentrate on the puck. I promise to do my best.
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Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness