Atlanta, GA --
The Eastern Conference All-Stars defeated the Western Conference All-Stars, 8-7, when Boston Bruins forward (and former Atlanta Thrasher) Marc Savard
beat Detroit goaltender Manny Legace with the game-winning goal at 19:39 of the third period.
Savard, who had two points on the evening and a +3 rating, joined teammates Zdeno Chara
(+3, assist) and Tim Thomas
(14 saves, earned the victory) in putting a definitive Black & Gold stamp on Atlanta's All-Star festivities.
"It feels great," said Savard, who left Atlanta as a free agent and signed with Boston last season, in his former stall in the Atlanta locker room. "Obviously, I got the boos yesterday.
"Today I got a little bit of a cheer (at the beginning of the game)."
And he got a great big cheer from the home crowd when he converted on a pass from Buffalo's Brian Campbell with well under a minute to play in the contest.
"I just went to the front of the net and got my first shot on goal," said Savard. "It wasn't really a hard shot, I just kind of flipped it up on the far side."
His goal secured the win for his usual goalie, Thomas.
"Yeah, it felt pretty good to come up with the 'W' at the end," said the Bruins goalie. "Especially (because of) the way that period started out for me.
"It felt good to get the (victory) in the end."
Chara, Boston's captain, was a little concerned that Thomas would hurt himself in the exhibition -- a scary prospect, considering Tim's importance to the Bruins this season.
"I talked to him a little bit before the third, just making sure he didn't do anything crazy and pull something," said the defenseman. "He was sitting there for two periods…and all of a sudden he had to go in there and protect the lead.
"You could see he was getting a little mad or frustrated when he was getting scored on…he's very competitive.
"I told him to just relax."
That seemed to do the trick for the goalie, who settled in and made several game-saving stops.
"After you get scored on (quickly, you're) ready to do some splits," he laughed before explaining that he just decided to have some fun.
Chara knew that the entire Eastern Conference was in for some fun when he saw number 91 hop over the boards in crunch time.
"I saw him on the ice and I knew he was going to get a chance…once I saw him in the slot," said Chara. "I was really happy for him.
"It was nice to see him put his name on the board, especially in Atlanta.
"The fans were really cheering him one when he scored that game winner," he said.
And so were fans in Boston and 13 other cities.