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All-Star goalies make the most of tough situation

Sunday, 01.30.2011 / 9:27 PM / 2011 NHL All-Star Game - Presented by Discover

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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All-Star goalies make the most of tough situation
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Fortunately, Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't wearing a microphone in the first period Sunday because someone in the television truck would have needed to be lightning quick on the mute button early in the game.

"I said a couple of bad words," Fleury told NHL.com.

Who could blame him? Fleury gave up four goals on eight shots in the first five minutes and 41 seconds of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover.

He was being overrun by Team Staal and the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover looked like it was going to turn into a route at Fleury's expense.

"I was looking to the bench to see if I was going to get pulled," Fleury joked.

Odds are Joel Quenneville and Mike Haviland, the co-coaches for Team Staal, had no thought of yanking the Penguins' goalie not even six minutes into the only period he was scheduled to play. The NHL All-Star Game is supposed to be a show with dozens of offensive chances and piles of goals all at the expense of some of the world's best goaltenders.

It played that way again Sunday as Fleury and the five other goalies combined to give up 21 goals on 91 shots for a .769 save percentage.

Tim Thomas was the lucky winner for Team Lidstrom despite giving up 4 goals on 15 shots while Henrik Lundqvist, who gave up 3 goals on 14 shots, was the hard-luck loser, even though his save percentage was just a few percentage points better than Thomas'.

All the goalies were laughing about their lack of success when it was all over and Team Lidstrom had its 11-10 victory.

"Everybody knows it's just part of it," Lundqvist said. "You want to see a lot of scoring chances, you want to see a lot of goals. For a goalie going into a game like this you have the mindset that they're going to score on you, but I told Carey (Price) after his period, and he played really well, that you have to appreciate the good saves and forget about all the goals. That's what we did."

Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller led the goalies with 15 saves on 17 shots in the second period. He gave up two within the first 6:10 of the period, but he made several big saves at the end to preserve a 7-6 lead for Team Lidstrom.

"It took a shot to the mask to wake me up," Hiller told NHL.com, "or maybe the guys just felt bad after that and wouldn't score on me."

Hiller, to the disgust of the crowd, even stoned hometown favorite Jeff Skinner on a breakaway with 3:44 to play in the period.

"When he was already behind the net I heard the crowd and I was like, 'OK, now I know why they booed,'" Hiller told NHL.com. "I'm happy we don't play here too often. Every two years I might get booed."

Carolina goalie Cam Ward went the longest with a shutout. He didn't give up a goal until 10 minutes and 50 seconds had passed in the first period. Of course, Team Lidstrom scored on him four times over the final 9:10.

Price pitched a shutout for the first 10:08 of the second period before Anze Kopitar, Steven Stamkos and Danny Briere scored within less than six minutes.

Lundqvist didn't give up his first goal until Briere beat him 9:57 into the third period. Jonathan Toews scored 48 seconds later and Martin St. Louis beat him roughly three minutes after that.

"The thing about these games is you feel like things are going pretty good and two minutes later you give up two goals in 30 seconds," Lundqvist said. "After I made a couple of breakaway saves I was figuring maybe I could have a good day here, but two minutes later they had scored twice. That's just part of it. It's still a lot of fun."

Skaters like Washington defenseman Mike Green admitted they felt bad for the goalies Sunday, but Stamkos, who makes a living out of making goalies look foolish, offered some perspective.

"From our standpoint, you realize how much better they are because they're still making unbelievable saves against 2-on-0s, 3-on-1s, 2-on-1s," Stamkos told NHL.com. "They're unbelievable athletes."

And they had a believable All-Star experience.

"You know it's going to be high scoring, so you go out there and try to mix in a few big saves," Price said. "That's the whole thing. You know they're going to score, so if you go out there and make a few big ones, it all evens out."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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I might have blacked out. I was pretty pumped.

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